Thursday, August 02, 2012

Connected Educator Month

     Did you know that August is Connected Educator Month?? To be honest I had not heard of Connected Educator Month until I stumbled across it yesterday on one of my favourite admin blogs, A Principal's Reflections written by Eric Sheninger.
connected educator month, becoming a connected educator,
Original Image Credit: Shared by Eric Sheninger at:

     To celebrate I thought I would share an article I wrote for the Spring 2012 edition of the ManACE Journal. ManACE (the Manitoba Association for Computing Educators) is a Special Area Group of the Manitoba Teachers' Society as well as a member of the International Society for Technology in Education. The article I wrote shared my experience becoming a connected teacher as I discovered the many options available for teachers today.
*This edition of the journal is not available online yet but I am providing my original article below since I have it saved in a word document.

ManAce, Manitoba Association for Computing Educators
A snapshot of my article: Landen, Kirsten. (2012) "Becoming A Connected Teacher", Manitoba Association for Computing Educators. 30.2, pg 14-15.

     As I sat in my, “ICT in Education”, class during my first term of my first year as an education student I found myself thinking more than once that, “…this is something I will never use.” Google Reader? I don’t read nor follow any blogs anyways. Twitter? I already use Facebook. PLN? I’m not even a teacher yet. Now here I am, four months later, writing this article as I update Twitter, check Google Reader, update my We Teach and EduPLN profiles, add pins to my collaborative and individual Pinterest boards and brainstorm topics for my blog. Its funny how that worked out isn’t it?

     When I started my first student teaching placement last fall I found myself spending hours and hours researching classroom management techniques. It was through this, that I began finding different education blogs. Some were written by theorists, some were written by organizations, but most were written by teachers themselves. I quickly became obsessed; there was so much to learn! I was immediately drawn to the idea that there were other teachers and people in the education field sharing their ideas and collaborating to create fun, educational and fulfilling experiences for their students. I began to follow more and more blogs, checking back each day to see what new learning adventure I could be a part of. The next natural step? Why Google Reader of course! What had previously been an unnecessary tool was now a wonderfully ingenious organizational resource. Imagine that, a tool to organize all of my blogs and notify me of new posts! Well that was only the beginning.

     As Christmas break began I found myself immersed in education blogs and thinking that perhaps I could be a part of this. Almost all of my education classes had me complete reflection assignments on what I was learning and, in my mind, a blog could be the perfect place to organize my thoughts and even get some feedback. My first foray into the blogging world began on Weebly; a wonderfully simple and free website that I had been introduced to in my ICT class. As I began writing and slowly getting some feedback I realized that I wanted a more recognized format and decided to switch to Blogger. Being that many… ok all, of my followers were family and friends it was easy to notify everyone of my blog’s new location. What happened after that can only really be described as “the snowball effect”. For example, I wrote a post regarding the importance of engaging all areas of our student’s brains and comments on that lead me to the Brain Based Teaching group on EduPLN. I signed right up and now maintain a profile where I am able to connect with some amazing educators from all over the world. The networking opportunities on EduPLN lead me to the We Teach group; an incredibly supportive and interactive PLN that I have become an active member of. Between these two PLNs and my blog I also discovered the educational potential of Pinterest and began sending out my very first tweets, gasp!

     Are you dizzy yet? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t! This adventure is often a whirlwind for me but in admits the chaos I have been able to access countless resources, received constructive and supportive feedback on my thoughts and ideas and been able to network with some of the most wonderful educators from all over the world. Entering the education field is something different from anything else that I have ever experienced and I am drawn in by the collaboration and support that teachers offer one another. That’s the wonderful thing about teachers, isn’t it? We all love teaching so much that it doesn’t matter if it is our students we are teaching, our colleagues or people on the other side of the world. Technology has truly opened up our opportunities and I am now embracing it with open arms!

     Want to read more about Connected Educator Month? Here are 33 Tips regarding PLNs and becoming "connected".

How are you becoming a connected educator?