School leaders can make a concerted effort to engage their staff in Connected Educator Month
During Connected Educator Month, it’s important to realize that the skills, information, and resources shared among school leaders and teachers should be used and applied all year long for the most impactful teaching and learning.
Here, Patrick Larkin, the Assistant Superintendent for Learning for Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts, outlines some key steps school leaders can take to support Connected Educator Month in October, and all year long:
A few years ago, I was leading a conversation on the topic of getting more school leaders “connected” at a conference in Philadelphia with my friend George Couros, a school administrator from Edmonton, Alberta.
As we talked about all of the reasons why it was important for school leaders to use digital tools to connect with other school leaders and be role models for their school communities, we were searching for ways to get more of our colleagues on board. That is when Jon Becker, a professor from Virginia Commonwealth University, put his hand up in the back of the room and reminded us that we could tweet and blog all we want about how great being connected is, but to really reach people, we need to meet them where they are.
Heading into Connected Educator Month, I was reminded of this as I began to think of ways that I could help educators connect and build their Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s). Here are six easy ways that educators can support their colleagues, both in their district and beyond, during the month of October (and all year):
(Next page: Larkin’s 6 tips for Connected Educator Month)
- Daily eMail: In my district I have started a daily eMail under the subject line “Connected Educator Month,” in which I share one interesting resource that I have learned of from my learning network. Sharing some of the concrete resources that a PLN can provide is a great way to show firsthand how being a connected learner is an advantage.
- Introduce other Connected Educators: During the course of Connected Educator Month, I am introducing a Connected Educator each day on my blog. Each participant from across the globe introduces themself and briefly describes the benefits of being connected.
- Video chats: Invite a Connected Educator into your school for a video chat to share their insights about building their PLN. Have them describe how their connectedness has benefited them and their students.
- Host a staff tweet-up: Taking part in a Twitter chat is a great opportunity to learn with and from educators across the globe. However, for beginners, the learning curve can sometimes take a bit of time. Hosting a group tweet-up where folks take part in a Twitter chat with a larger group is both fun and also allows beginners to learn the ropes a bit faster.
- Host a Google Hangout: Offer some times in the evening or on a Saturday morning when staff can join a Google Hangout to learn about how to use some of the online resources that will allow them to enjoy the endless possibilities inherent in anytime-anywhere learning. Not to mention the fact that Google Hangouts are a great tool in their own right. Talk about double-dipping!
- Play a game of “Stump the PLN”: One thing that I have learned is that when you are a Connected Educator who is fortunate to have a PLN, there are no questions without answers. No matter what the initiative or problem is that you are working on, there is someone out there who has already dealt with it. Save yourself the time of struggling to get started by appealing to your PLN for help! Just to prove it, ask your staff to pose questions or problems that they would like help solving. Collect the questions and then appeal to your PLN for some support. Then stand back and prepare to be amazed at what happens!
Best of luck getting more educators connected this month! Remember, the more folks we bring into the conversation, the better off we all are!
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