Saturday, October 19, 2013

Connected Educator Month: Having a Great Time, but Ultimately "What We Have Here is a Failure to Connect"

Pretty lucky for me: our two-week break falls completely within Connected Educator Month. I've spent many hours attending webinars, participating in chats, attending the always-enjoyable Indiana Computer Educators (ICE) Conference (actually located in my district, but I may have been the only one of us there?), and, finally, resurrecting this blog.

Today is especially busy, as I attend sessions at the worldwide Library 2.0 Conference, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) Virtual Conference  (How cool is this: if you agree to host a F2F event, they'll even reimburse you for lunch!), and EDSCAPE at New Milford High School in New Jersey. I watched the opening conversation at EDSCAPE via ustream, and then George Couros's inspiring keynote via TeacherCast.  I will post the link to Couros as soon as it is added to the TeacherCast youtube channel.  It's well worth watching; my stream kept breaking up, but I was finally able to see it all.  You sometimes have to be a little patient with the stream at these events. I hope that George Couros is booked to come to Indiana some time soon.

What if you're not "connected' yet?  Where do you start?  I know it can be overwhelming.  Just pick one thing.  I had a twitter account for a few years before I really "got it". I let this blog languish for years before others encouraged me to revive it.

The next challenge is to decide what to do with all of the information you accumulate.  How will you remember where you put it?  What makes it easiest to find? It's so easy to start a system, read about a new one, and then have pieces all over cyberspace. I've used livebinders, scoopit, diigo, google docs, and probably others I've forgotten.  Now I seem to be pinning things everywhere. For years I simply emailed links to myself and then searched my email (don't ask how many emails I still have) Don't worry about having the newest tool; just pick one and stick with it for awhile.

So, I have all of these outside connections, but what does that mean for my school? How do you share and collaborate with teachers who have an ever-expanding list of things they already have to do? How do you add "just one more thing"?  It doesn't matter how many things I've pinned, bookmarked, and saved unless something happens to them.

Yeah, I can be a connected educator, but if I don't complete the arc and make it reach students, it's all for naught.  What works for you?


  1. I think you're right - and I think sometimes that's the hardest part to complete. there's that whole reflection wheel. You learn something (f2f or through your PLN), you share it, you try it with your students, you reflect on how it went, and then you share that, and the circle keeps going - always going back to "does it work for me - why or why not?". What do other people tweak to make it work for them, and do they share that information? Until we build up a critical mass of people doing this (teachers like @avivaloca and @royanlee are two of my favourites), we just keep spinning our wheels, and not moving forward - personally or collectively. It's got to be a gradual, cultural change, beyond just picking up an idea on Twitter - what did you do with it, how did you document it, how did you reflect on it, and what did you learn?

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I think you are right about the critical mass. I'm hearing more and more about students noticing that others are doing some innovative lessons and asking why they're not able to as well. Maybe that will help, too.