George Lucas Educational Foundation
Professional Learning

The (Not So) Secret Perks of Being a Connected Educator

October 13, 2014

I was on #edchatIRL last Saturday and we were talking about the benefits of being a connected educator in light of “Connected Educators” month. I thought to share only the benefits that I have experienced and would like other teachers to experience as well.

  1. Global connections: I am connected to educators all over the world. We connect and discuss topics that are within our interests surpassing timezones. It is still fascinating for me that I can chat with educators from Australia when they’re just starting their day, while we’re ending ours. But it’s really more than that. Global connections allow educators to collaborate with each other. Whether it’s through hosting a twitter chats, guest blog posts, podcasts, new career opportunities, google class hangouts, your global education connections opens up many different possibilities to learn, and grow as a teacher.
  2. Class resources: Have you ever needed a template for a rubric, or an assignment? How about topics for students to write about? novels for a specific grade? maybe even articles/blogs about a new “based-learning” that you want to try out in your classroom? As a connected educator, these perks are freely and readily available for me through my Personal Learning Network. When I ask my PLN for help, many of them are ready to offer advice, resources and links to these resources that I need for my classes. It always amazes me how many people are willing to help out, and sometimes it’s an indication that with social media, the number of followers don’t matter, it’s about a network to which you’re truly connected.
  3. Edcamps: I found out about edcamps through Twitter. Edcamps are unconferences that are organized by educators for educators. Many of the educators speak highly of edcamps and their value to learning, connecting, and being part of change in education. As a result, I decided to organize EdCampToronto with a few other educators whom I met on Twitter. It was such an enriching opportunity to meet and learn from teachers, admins, parents and even students. Being connected gives you the opportunity to organize and be part of edcamps.
  4. Pedagogical awareness: As a result of joining twitter and engaging with educators, I became extremely mindful of my pedagogical practices in the classroom. Of course every teacher needs to be aware of their practices whether connected or unconnected. However, by communicating, engaging and connecting with other educators, one truly starts to have conversations about teaching strategies and classroom practices. So one moves from basic level of awareness, to constant iteration and improvement of these methods. This leads me to my last point.
  5. No isolation: You’re not alone when you’re connected. I turn to my PLN for questions, for support and for guidance. Just the process of seeing other educators discussing issues, and obstacles that I might have encountered, tells me that I am not alone and don’t have to experience it alone. So if your colleagues are unconnected, it’s possible that they would benefit from knowing why they should be connected before they invest their time. Feel free to print this out and share it with them.

I also wrote this post a while ago on Medium, which might also contain helpful tips *after* joining, “3 Reasons Why you should Join Twitter and a Few Survival Tips”:

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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