Millions of educators and others around the world have participated in hundreds of professional development opportunities as part of Connected Educator Month (CEM) the past two years. Originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education and its partners as part of the Connected Educators initiative, CEM offers highly distributed, diverse, and engaging activities to educators at all levels. Based on its success in 2012 and 2013, the initiative is poised to reach even more educators in 2014, through expanded partnerships and enhanced programming.
The goals of CEM include:
- Getting more educators proficient with social media to improve their practice
- Deepening and sustaining learning among those already enjoying connection’s benefits
- Helping schools credential/integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts
- Stimulating and supporting innovation in the field
- A broader global audience to include more countries offering educators more opportunities to learn.
- Make this year's celebration of connected educators more blended which follows goold digital education practice.
- Greater collaboration in the planning, tools, and activities, and give participants more opportunities for action oriented activities.
- Pull in the parents, students, whole school communities, and policymakers to magnify creative contributions by participants.
Being connected doesn't mean Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, Educator's PLN, Classroom 2.0, or a host of other platforms designed to connect teachers to each other. Connected really means learning from peers using virtual spaces to improve instructional practices. Connected educators build relationships to many others learning from their ideas while being changed in the process. Being changed means a teacher's point of view shifts to include new ideas thereby changing practice. Connectedness is all about learning from each other to improve instructional practices for students.
The medium by which all educators improve is sharing. Sharing our ideas, materials, links, resources, and best practices. It's the sharing that makes an educator connected. Learning takes place as a result of being connected because one cannot help take something away from what other teachers are saying.
Being connected serves as a support. There are countless teachers around the world doing similar things, living through similar circumstances, and wanting to achieve similar goals. As a connected educator, there is a vast support system.
Being connected is using social media and virtual spaces to connect with other teachers. These virtual connections happen 24/7 and in real time. A shortcoming is that an educator has to be constantly connected to those spaces or you lose touch with the community.
Being connected focuses on collaboration to achieve more than doing it alone. It pulls teachers out of silos and into a richer context of learning and practicing together.