Here at MASD, we are pretty good at collaboration. Teams of teachers meet regularly to plan lessons, evaluate student work, share concerns about individual students, and to enhance their own skills. We have rich conversations that translate into important learning experiences for kids. Our curriculum and assessment system is the result of dozens of teachers coming together with their collective strengths to create something better for our students. Collaboration is a good thing. We often say, “The answer is in the room”…and many times it is. But what if it’s not?
Fortunately, there’s a bigger room out there…with a lot more teachers in it.
October is Connected Educator Month. What does it mean to be a “connected educator”? Why is it important for us to make connections and learn from those outside our daily face-to-face interactions? Tom Whitby makes the case for connection here. I encourage you to read the entire post, but this paragraph gets to the heart of it:
The term “connected educator” in this context refers to educators who are exploring or embracing the development of collegial sources and access to all sources through connections made using technology. They are not abandoning their face-to-face connections. They are still maintaining relationships with colleagues in their buildings and district, and they still maintain connections with students and parents. They are expanding their reach however to global connections made possible through technology. They are taking advantage of the ability to connect with a vast array of education experts in order to improve their own expertise in education. They are connecting with authors, thought leaders and lead learners around the world in order to achieve this. We call these collaborative innovators, “connected educators”. Their number is growing and we call this a “connected community”.
In recognition of Connected Educator Month, each week in October I’ll feature another post about ways teachers can grow their personal learning networks. I’ll share a variety of options so you can choose the ones that appeal most to you. To get us started, check out this short video about personal learning networks…
If you can’t wait for my next post, you can find a list of events scheduled for Connected Educator Month here. My hope is that by the end of October you will have taken steps towards developing or expanding an online personal learning network and that you’ll share your story. If the answer really is “in the room”, don’t we owe it to our students to collaborate in the biggest and smartest room we can find?