October is a month of many celebrations! As a child, Halloween was always something to look forward to; the costumes, the candy, the running around the neighborhood unsupervised!! It’s also Breast Cancer Awareness month…pink ribbon campaigns all around and Susan G. Komen’s name is everywhere. And as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I honor it with all sincerity.
But did you know . . .
October is also the month we challenge educators to be Connected Educators? There is a formal campaign to spread the word to educators everywhere on the value of being connected! You can see the Connected Educator website here: http://connectededucators.org/ I love the subtitle of this website: “Helping Educators Thrive in a Connected World.”
So, in honor of October, Connected Educator Month, I challenge you to consider your own professional connectedness and to do one thing this month to begin developing or enhancing your Personal Learning Network. Here is a great video to introduce the concept of what a PLN is and why its valuable:
As part of the first challenge of Connected Educators Month, I watched this video and added my comment about what a PLN is. Here is how I commented:
The concept of a PLN for me has changed over the years that I’ve been in education (25!!). When I first started teaching, technology was limited and I relied on my building and district colleagues, professional reading, college courses I took and professional organizational memberships to continue to learn. Attending conferences introduced me to short-term connections to others, but not until email came in to the picture did long-term connections to others outside of my small rural Kansas school district become possible. My first long-term “expert” connection came through a partnership with the American Meteorological Society that paired science teachers with practicing meteorologists to increase our learning through in-person visits as well as course work faxed back and forth between the teacher and the meteorologist!! My first long-distance peer connection was with a teacher in the Boston area who I met through the online Monster Exchange project and with whom I emailed and exchanged drawings and writings of our classes by uploading projects to the project website.
Today the social media technologies that exist completely change the ease of connections and the variety of connections available to educators. It is exciting to me to see the opportunities that our young educators have for such professional growth early in their careers! It should be good for retention as well as improving the profession!
Respond in the comments about your own PLN or what you’ve done this month to begin or enhance it! Happy Connected Educator’s Month!