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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resources from Connected Educator Month 2013

Explore Edutopia's guide to websites, events, and other resources from Connected Educator Month.

Edutopia was one of 330+ organizations, companies, and communities that participated in the second annual Connected Educator Month (CEM), an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Education Technology celebrating online communities of practice. The event included an array of rich opportunities for informal professional development, both for educators with established professional learning networks (PLN) and for those just getting started. Though the month has concluded, the need to connect has not -- the resources below will help you to connect, share, and collaborate with your network throughout the year.

Getting Started

During the month of October, much was written about connected educators and best practices for connecting. For a small sample, check out "SmartBlogs Roundup: Connected Educator Month" from SmartBrief. Then, consider downloading the Connected Educator Starter Kit by Powerful Learning Practice, a guide from CEM 2013 with 31 days of online activities. It's full of tips, tutorials, and ideas that will help you along your professional learning journey, no matter where you're starting from. Last year's "For ‘Connected Educator Month,’ Tips From 33 Educators We Admire" from The New York Times' The Learning Network is an excellent source of information about individuals, sites, and organizations to consider adding to your PLN. For great examples of what connected teaching and learning looks like in practice, take a look at the collection they put together for this 2013: "What ‘Connected Education’ Looks Like: 28 Examples From Teachers All Over."

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Participating in Events

Events from Connected Educator Month 2013 included forums on key topics, webinars, guided tours and community open houses, contests, badges, book club discussions, and virtual worlds. Events continue to be added to the CEM calendar now that the month is done; visit often and pick and choose among the events that are most meaningful for you. Edutopia also maintains an events calendar that gets updated on a weekly basis. Finally, consider attending an Edcamp. In "Why Edcamp?" Kristin Swanson explains what happens at a typical edCamp event and how these types of "unconferences" provide educators with opportunities for learning, growing, connecting and sharing. You can find the complete Edcamp calendar on the edCamp website.

Miss one of the 600+ events during CEM 2013? Visit the CEM Archives for access to recordings, transcripts, and other professional-development resources from October. The archived events are searchable by audience, event type, and topic. The Connected Educators website also maintains a showcase of opportunities for sustained professional development in the form of courses, classes and clubs.

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Connecting Online

Explore possibilities for collaboration and connection throughout the year.

On Twitter

Share ideas and resources on Twitter. The conversation continues on the #ce13 hashtag. New to Twitter? The CEM Starter Kit (linked above) includes step-by-step instructions for getting started. For advice on building your PLN and a list of thought leaders to follow, read "To Whom Should I Connect?" by Tom Whitby. For more inspiration and resources, take a look at "Five-Minute Film Festival: Twitter in Education."

In Online Communities

Connect with other educators in Edutopia's community. To find other learning communities, visit the CEM Community Directory. Also, be sure to check out Connected Educator's match-making tool, edConnectr, to find and connect with other educators.

With Parents

Share online with parents about what's happening in the classroom or think about hosting events for "connected parents." As Joe Mazza discusses in "A Parent's Guide to Twitter and Education," parents and teachers alike can benefit from transparent collaboration via social media tools. Read "Old School or New School, Keep Parents Involved" for more tips about strengthening the connection between parents and teachers and for information on useful connection tools like ClassDojo and Remind.

With New Tools

Experiment with connection tools and technologies. If possible, find a colleague to join you. The Connected Educator Starter Kit guides you step-by-step through many of the ways you can connect and collaborate via social media, wikis, blogs, and multimedia tools. In addition, here are a few other ideas to explore:

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