Top Reasons to be a Connected Educator

At the Connected Educator Summit Shannon M Miller we explored how to make the most of your online connections to bring a voice to your students, your library and whole school community!

According to connected educator advocate George Couros, “Isolation is now a choice educators make. We have access to not only information but each other. We need to tap into that.” As educators there are a multitude of reasons to embrace the connected world we work and live in. We have compiled a list of the top reasons to be a connected educator and we have included a few tips for first timers.

Top reasons to be a Connected Educator
Resources – even attempting to comprehend the volume of educational resources at your fingertips is exhausting. But it’s not all lesson plans and rubrics, connected educators have access to human resources too, got a question for an author? Why not ask them yourself on twitter?

Support – Just like your physical PLN’s increasing your presence online opens up a much larger network of people who share your challenges and struggles. Brainstorm solutions, tackle an issue together or simply give voice to your situation.

Expand your PLN – Connected Educators are global beings, the only boundaries to communication are time zones.

New opportunities – once you PLN spans the globe you open yourself up to all kinds of new collaborations and partnerships.

Reflective Awareness – this occurs almost organically. Connected Educators are engaged with a plethora of teaching and learning practices and naturally this makes them think mindfully about their own practice.

Tips for starting out
It’s important to remember that even the most connected of connected educators start out with no followers. It takes time and a persistent approach to cultivate you network. It’s daunting too but the rewards are absolutely worth the risk. So here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you start out, or to remind yourself of if you’re a little further down the road.

Be Authentic – avatars are out! Being transparent and honest is one of the most important things to remember. Your privacy is important but being safe online and being authentic are not mutually exclusive.

Dive right in – There is no point half doing it. It’s a very simple formula, the more you put in the more you will get out. So don’t be afraid; follow hashtags, join hangouts and get involved.

Set aside time – initially you might feel lost or overwhelmed or like it is a really big effort to engage and that is completely normal. The longer you stick at it the more it becomes a habit and the whole practice becomes seamless.

Record your experiences – It’s a wild ride so recording your journey can be extremely worthwhile so start a blog or even just a book marking site you can share your finds and document your learning.

Enjoy yourself!

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