Are you familiar with the implication of the term, ‘Connected Educator’? What are the benefits of being one and how are educators connecting with each other and their students using social platforms?
Let’s explore these questions now. Being a Connected Educator means that the educator is part of the collective learning, sharing and exploration of what learning is for themselves and their students. They are part of a large collective brain consisting of diversified idea and perspectives. In this time, it is not easy to be an educator, but with the aid of technology everything becomes smoother. New technologies and new ways of connecting, collaborating, learning and creating provide a wide array of opportunities and possibilities for re-envisioning the concept of learning.
Today, educators need to become more connected and networks, mass collaboration, connections plus a variety of online social tools allow them to stay connected. It is the responsibility of educators to know how to connect with and tap into this collective intelligence so that they can help their students understand how to do so efficiently. Students live and will work in an increasingly highly connected and collaborative world, and we have to understand what this means for learning, working, and living in order to provide a more personal, self-directed and more effective learning environment for the students.
Through our interactions with the people and resources in our networks, we become a part of an ongoing flow of learning. It gives us new knowledge and perspectives of looking at the world. As we participate in this web of connection, we become one participant of many in a network in which knowledge and learning are constantly evolving. With one simple click of a button, you can create a piece of the web that would allow you to communicate and collaborate with others who are passionate about the same thing: learning. There are many benefits of being a connected educator, they are listed as follows:
- Increased exposure to more diverse ideas, learning experiences and techniques.
- Increased networking which helps educators to know other educators and their practices across the world.
- It provides educators with opportunities to collaborate on a variety of research, projects, techniques for teaching and more.
- It allows educators to stay up to date with all the current things happening in educational organizations all over the world.
- Educators can easily learn about the best practices for teaching globally and share them with others.
- It keeps their literacy flowing and evolving on the tools of 21st century .
- Educators can make their students experience high-quality virtual classes (with MOOCs) and blended classes where learning occurs even outside the schools.
- Through this educators can make masses of people understand the relevance of education that students are receiving presently and how they can make positive amends to it.
The primary methods that educators use to stay connected are Twitter and Blogs and other social networking sites as well. They can follow any number of blogs through an RSS reader and monitor Twitter through hashtags to connect and learn from and with others. Twitter is being regarded as the easiest way for being connected as it fills spaces in between the things in your lives. There are also numerous education blogs these days which you can follow and read. You can write your own blogs and share them with others.
Other ways are through social media platforms like Edmodo, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Make sure to be part of just a selected few that work for you and spend time in those spaces rather than being a part of too many. Once you find a place that you feel comfortable connecting in you need to focus on finding the people who will add value in areas that you are passionate about. This will create for you a ‘Personal Learning Network’ (PLN). Then you will need to schedule time to focus on connecting with other educators. Just like in a physical space, you need to spend some quality time before you start to make some solid connections with people.
The educators who are not willing enough to use such tools to be connected are distancing themselves from the world in which they live and are clearly hindering evolution, which is mostly possible if we grow and learn together. There is a need for the realization that being a connected educator has a great value for students and means a lot to them. Taking the connections and turning them into lessons that can impact students is really one of the keys to being a connected educator. Since educators can reach out and connect with educators from all over the world, they will witness a wonderful change in their teaching that will make a positive impact on their students.
The Web has always been a two-way street, a place to share information in social networks as well as a place to find information. The ‘connected educator’ is not just a reader or viewer, but an active participant in ongoing discussions and planning efforts. In future, we will witness the transfer of the same level of interest and activity we now see on personal social networks to professional social networks quite rapidly. Professional development will not be a special event, but woven into every educator’s daily routine.
You’re invited to share your views, contribute additional knowledge and seek clarifications on the context. The Comment Box is waiting.