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Celebrate Connected Educator Month with the ICATS

October is Connected Educator Month (website is no longer working), and to celebrate, the ICATS will be posting resources every school day in October that focus on becoming a connected educator. We hope you will join the conversation and connect with us this month by reading the posts we create and commenting to them with your perspectives and ideas.

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If you are an EVSC employee, you can comment to our posts by simply logging in to the ICATS site with your email username and password.

 

If you are joining the conversation from outside of the district, you can sign in with your WordPress, Twitter, Facebook or Google credentials.

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So what is a connected educator? The short answer is any educator who uses Digital Age tools to enhance their connections to other educators, students, parents and citizens around the world. By building their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), connected educators increase their ability to learn, find resources, find support, collaborate, and share their voice. Connected educators are part of a worldwide community of education professionals who are dedicated to being part of the conversation that will define teaching and learning for the future. This video shares just a few perspectives from some amazing connected educators:

My personal journey to becoming a connected educator began with blogging with my students as a way to extend classroom conversations back in 2007. Seeing the impact this made on my connections to students opened my eyes to the potential technology had for improving my work as an educator. It wasn’t long before I was learning with passionate educators from all over the world through social media, communication tools like Skype, collaboration tools like Google Docs, and tools for expression like blogs and websites. Being a connected educator has changed how I see myself as a teacher and as a learner. Here’s a video that summarizes my life as a connected educator:

If you are just getting started as a connected educator (or would like to start connecting), I’d suggest starting with the links below:

Over the coming month, members of the EVSC eLearning team will be sharing ideas and resources for growing as a connected educator. Today, we would love to hear your stories about using technology to connect and learn. Use the comment section below to share your thoughts, relate an experience, or ask a question.

We look forward to learning with you!

photo credit: i_aint_got_no_id via photopin cc

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6 comments

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

Here’s another good post to look at about Connected Educators Month: http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/10/01/do-we-really-need-connected-educators/

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Svitlana! It’s good to hear from you:) I love that the tools we have enable great collaboration/learning for communities that already exist. It’s also great that many of these tools (like MBC) are communities themselves. They give us places to discover more collaborators than we had before.

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Svitlana Reynolds October 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Since our English as a Second Language department is serving English Learners in multiple schools, it presents a real challenge for our ESL teachers to stay connected. The new digital tools that we have available too us today, enable us to exchange innovative ideas, cool sites and apps, and provide opportunities for collaboration. We can collaborate on creating bundles within My Big Campus, chat with General Education teachers, who serve ESL students in their classrooms, and share digital resources. It is absolutely priceless!!!

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Bill Gumula October 2, 2013 at 10:12 am

Svitlana – Don’t forget that all NBC Learn videos have a transcript that accompanies them that can be used to study language or help understand the spoken word, or translated to aid in understanding the content. Being connected allows you to access and utilize resources such as this!

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Timothy Wilhelmus October 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Love the input, John! It’s cool how we come to value the folks we learn with virtually as much as we value the folks we learn with in person. I was just collaborating with a friend who lives in California a few minutes ago, and I had the same experience of meeting with someone who “speaks my language.” Before social media, I wonder if we would have ever met.

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John Wells October 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Much like Tim, I have developed a PLN that stretches across the US. This PLN includes some of the best journalism teachers in the nation, those that win national awards, those that are innovative and those that want to share their experience with others. I have found them to be a great resource for new ideas or to bounce my ideas off of, just to make sure that I am going in the right direction.

My first introduction to the PLN was through the National Journalism Educators’ Association listserve 10 years ago. About 18 months ago, many of us moved to Twitter, although a majority still use both. Between the two, we can ask questions, seek advice and share with others our successes, fears and challenges.

But one of the best parts of my PLN is that they get me and my job. Teaching journalism and advising student publications can be tough. There are many different facets to the role of adviser that most other teachers wouldn’t understand. Teaching journalism and coaching a publication staff is not the same as running a math class, so the problems that I run into are not ones that my fellow teachers in my building would be familiar with. My PLN understands my concerns, talks my language and knows where I am coming from. The advice is solid and tested, from the trenches, so to speak.

My PLN also has a social component. I have not met most of my PLN in person, but we share comments on current events and trade experiences. The biggest group conversation we have had was a couple of years ago when someone asked about the VooDoo Donut shop in Portland, Oregon, where that year’s national convention was being held. We talked about favorite donuts, ran a poll to find the best fried dough and even sent samples of donuts off to our closest collegues for a live taste test. Did it relate directly to my curriculum, not in the least, but it helped forge a strong, professional relationship that has lasted the years, even if we have never spent any time in “Meet Space”.

I value my PLN. As an educator connected to my peers, I have become a better teacher. And I would not trade that for anything.

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