What does it mean to be a connected educator? This is a question some National Writing Project (NWP) colleagues and I will be exploring on tomorrow’s NWP radio show Thursday afternoon.
“Take it from an educator or thousands” is the call of this year’s Connected Educator Month set for October 2013. A partner of the NWP through our Educator Innovator Initiative, Connected Educator Month (CEM) seeks to broaden and deepen educator participation in online communities of practice and move towards a more fully connected and collaborative profession. This NWP Radio will explore what it means to be a connected educator in the 21st century, what the implications are for writing project sites today, and how to get involved in CEM in October and connect with the larger Educator Innovator Initiative throughout the year.
I guess it’s time to claim that label for myself. I am a connected educator. But what does that mean? For me it means access to professional resources…quickly and easily, and from educators from all over who I have come to know and trust from their online presence. I do know some of these people from face-to-face interactions while others I only know virtually. We connect on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and through our blogs. And while our interactions are primarily professional, we do get to know each other as people as well.
And being connected means more than that. Being connected pushes me to try on and develop my digital literacies. This summer I explored Connected Learning principles through the CLMOOC (Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration).
I focused on “making”–mostly through my interest in photography, experiencing firsthand the power of interest-driven and peer supported learning. I tried new tools and pushed myself to be more open and public with my own processes. As a result I learned a lot, connected with an amazing group of educators, and had tons of fun! And all of that also transfers both into my classroom and to my local writing project (SDAWP).
And I also learned that all of this is an ongoing work in progress. You don’t suddenly become a connected educator and then you’re done. It’s a lot like being a writer. You’re a writer when you write. You’re a connected educator when you stay connected–and produce as well as receive. It’s the give and take that makes all the learning possible and supports us, as educators, to support our students in their connected lives.
I hope you can join us for the radio show tomorrow (or listen to the archive). I look forward to the opportunity to talk about being a connected educator with a group of others exploring this possibility. Oh, and October is Connected Educator Month…how will you connect?