Many educators see Twitter, in particular, and social media, in general, as frivolous wastes of time. I mean, who really cares what Honey Boo Boo is up to? Who cares what J.T. had for breakfast? Or any other celebrity gossip, really? But, being connected isn’t about Justin, or Kim, or any of the residents of the Jersey Shore. It is about investing in our own learning to make meaningful change for our students.
This week I had the opportunity to talk with educational leaders in Sonoma County about how we can use Twitter to connect and learn and lead in the 21st Century (#scoe21c). During the session, we explored why being connected is important and how it can help us invest in our learning and growth. I shared my own journey from my initial trepidation, to piqued curiosity, to active seeking, to a deeper understanding of the significance of sharing with other educators. It was my hope to provide a little nudge and inspiration for other educators to “get connected” and pursue their own passions and learning.
With Connected Educator Month right around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to stop and reflect on the “why” — “why connect”? and how to get started.
In his most recent post, “Connectedness, Collaboration and Popularity,” on his My Island View blog, Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) makes one of the most clear and compelling cases I’ve seen for why educators should connect:
If there is one thing we should strive for as connected educators, it is collaboration. It shares, questions, refines and improves ideas. Collectively, we are smarter than we are individually. Collaboration makes education more transparent. It enables educators to examine, and explore what is relevant in their profession. It highlights the best and exposes the worst in education. Connected educators are educators who engage in this collaboration with the tools of technology to efficiently maximize their collaboration in ways that were never before possible.
Connecting online does not replace face-to-face collaboration. It enhances it. It allows us to extend the reach of our networks and expand the possibilities for learning.
Not convinced? See what educators have to say about the value they find in their connections with others:
Below you’ll find useful resources and engaged educators who will provide you with some ways to begin.
Resources to get started on developing your personal learning network:
Eric Patnoudes (@NoApp4Pedagogy), “Why (and How) You Should Create a Personal Learning Network.”
Resources to Get Started Using Twitter to Connect
If you’ve been hesitant or looking for a place to start, just do it. Start small. Lurk. Read a few blogs on topics that are relevant to you, then, share what you found. Visit the Connected Educators website, look for events happening throughout the month on topics of interest to you, sign up and try one out.
The smartest person in the room is the room. Being connected extends the room beyond your site, beyond your district, beyond your city/town to the whole wide world of educators out there. So, what are you waiting for?
What step will you take to get started?