Editor's Note: As part of Connected Educator Month, we invite you to share your thoughts on what it means to be a "connected educator." This blog series includes some of the best submissions.
When Samer Rabadi, Edutopia's Community Manager, asked, "What Does It Mean to Be a Connected Educator?", I felt moved to participate in what he called "this culture of sharing." Here's my experience -- and I'm sure many of you have experienced something similar.
I used to use email as my primary means of connecting with other educators. And while I still use email on a daily basis in my work as a public school administrator and as a college instructor, I find it's a very different experience when I use Twitter, Facebook or blogging tools to ask questions, gather new resources, follow trends and engage in ongoing dialogue about topics of interest to me or to my colleagues.
I find Twitter to be my best means of knowing what's happening right now within the community of people I follow (my own Twitterverse). When I first got onto Twitter, I started following others and quickly found that, through the material they chose to retweet, I knew who else I wanted to follow. Before long, I was posting my own tweets and retweets. At one point, I realized I was gathering so many great links to resources that I didn't have time to actually read, absorb and use those resources! I learned how to scale back on the flood of tweets and balance my time to make the medium manageable and purposeful for me.
Then came a time when I stopped reading Twitter altogether -- I needed a break from that steady feed of information. I needed some time to reflect and regroup my habits and practices in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed. I think that is also a common experience for anyone immersed in this kind of sharing -- to step back from high-frequency use of a particular social media service for awhile. Now that I'm back into regular use of Twitter again, I realize what a wealth of talent and knowledge is available to me. It's a wonderful resource to have that kind of availability to people anywhere on the planet!
I think that to be an effective educator today, one must become a connected educator through the use of at least one, if not more, social media services. Thanks, Edutopia, for highlighting October as "Connected Educator" month!