Celebrate Connected Educator Month!

Today is the first day of Connected Educator month!

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…..Because no educator should be an island, the U.S. Department of Education has declared October 2013 Connected Educator Month. More than 100 of the nation’s leading education organizations, communities, and companies will come together online throughout the month to celebrate and explore the power of professional online communities and networks to meet the needs of education professionals – novices and leaders alike.  Online communities and learning networks are helping hundreds of thousands of educators learn, reducing isolation and providing “just in time” access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration.

So you may ask – What does it mean to be a “Connected Educator”?  I think it means on a personal level that you are keenly aware that learning never ends.  A truly connected educator brings a certain energy to his or her classroom that reflects that truth.  It means understanding that all children learn in a multitude of ways.  And it is about encouraging and modeling a variety of ways in which we might ultimately discover knowledge together.  A connected educator embraces the challenge of developing a new kind of 21st century literacy by tapping into the power of self-directed learning, by opening the classroom to a global perspective, by crowdsourcing new questions, by opening up student writing to a variety of digital tools.  And I think being a connected educator also means embracing the power of “making” in the classroom.  Learning in this day and age should never be simply a static formulation of teacher-driven lectures and memorization of content.  For each and every student, learning should be both personalized and dynamic.

How can we create an arc of life-learning?  This journey starts with developing a professional learning community that opens the way to more dynamic learning practices.  By participating in some of the events of Connected Educator Month, educators at all levels can connect, explore, and discover a multitude of professional resources and support.

How to get involved:

Connected Educator Month is a partner of the National Writing Project’s Educator Innovator.  There are other many partners teaming up for Connected Educator Month, including NaNoWriMoEdCampCommon Sense MediaNWPMozilla Webmaker along with HOMAGO GeekoutsConnected Learning TVHive Learning Networks as well as NWP Digital Is.

See the Educator Innovator calendar and the NWP’s Connected Educator plans for a list of these upcoming events and opportunities that focus specifically on connecting educators while embracing connected learning principles. These include:

Learning Aloud Geekout Series!
Teen-led geekouts are designed to support youth in sharing something they have made with other youth and educators, lead a short “making” opportunity for participants, and getting feedback on their work.  These sessions will offer educators an opportunity to explore the potential for learning by making, and will empower youth to share their creative process and product, all while supporting connections between youth and educators across formal and informal learning spaces. Starting October 10, 4:30pm ET/1:30pm PT.

Learning to #teachtheweb
Join Laura Hilliger and Chris Lawrence of the Mozilla Foundation in exploring Webmaker tools for digital authorship and remix. Learn how to use tools like Thimble, Popcorn, and Web X-Ray Goggles to create open and sharable “teaching kits” that combine effective writing pedagogies with deeply engaging free and open digital production on the Web. Learn how you can become part of the supremely supportive #teachtheweb community. October 15, 2013.

Edcamp Online
As educators across the nation team up via social media to improve learning for kids, the Edcamp Foundation has teamed up with MIT Media Lab and the National Writing Project‘s Educator Innovator Initiative to help educators debrief and reflect on their learning by offering a virtual Edcamp experience via an “unhangouts” platform. “Unhangouts” leverage Google Hangouts but add special functionality so that we can truly simulate the Edcamp experience in an online space. Come join us in this endeavor and, in true Edcamp style, add your important thinking into the mix! October 26, 2013.

Teachers Teaching Teachers
Teachers Teaching Teachers is exactly what it claims to be – an opportunity for educators to touch base as peers and colleagues about connected learning and daily practice. Held every Wednesday evening at 9pm ET, New York City high school teacher Paul Allison invites open dialogue and conversations, “water cooler style,” among a range of teachers and learners from K-University educators, to developers, artists, mentors, coaches, designers, makers, dreamers and students. Starting October 2, 2013, 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.

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