“Connected educators seem to possess this trait to an even more pronounced extent: the more they receive through their professional connections, the more they want to give–and the more they want to connect their colleagues to a similar network of people who are willing to support them regardless of their role in education, their location, or their current comfort level with reaching out to those beyond their immediate grasp to grow and learn (Whitaker, Zoul, Casas, 46).”
“What Connected Educators Do Differently“
One of my favorite parts of being a connected educator is the unlimited amount of support and inspiration that it provides me on a consistent basis. On so many occasions it is my PLN that has provided me with the answer that I was searching for or the inspiration I needed to try something new. Key Connector 4 in What Connected Educators Do Differently discusses the importance for connected educators to give. The combination and balance of giving and taking is so important for educators, whether they are in the same building, district, or simply part of a PLN that extends throughout the world.
It never ceases to amaze me the power of being a connected educator. Two weeks ago I had the privilege of presenting six different sessions at the Aurora Huskies EdTech Day. During a session that I was leading on strategies to improve student created videos a teacher whose students don’t have iMovie asked about any free apps that is good for video editing. Not having an answer I immediately reached out to my PLN for assistance with the following Tweet.
There are a couple of important elements that I used in this Tweet that made it successful in getting some assistance. First, I strategically chose two hashtags that would allow the information to be seen by way more educators outside of those that simply follow me. Secondly, I tagged Don Goble (@dgoble2001), an awesome educator who I know would have some ideas since video creation on the iPad is one his areas of strength. Within a few minutes Goble responded with the following Tweet.
The best part of this is that Goble responded so quickly that I was able to pass on this information before my session was over, which meant that teachers left with the answers to questions that at first I didn’t have. These type of situations inspire me to consistently give back to my PLN.
I challenge you as a connected educator to not only consume for the benefit of you and your students, but to also give back by sharing all the great things you and your students are doing. Although most teachers feel they have nothing worth while to share it usually the complete opposite. Its also important to realize that by reaching even one teacher with a tweet or Facebook post, you will be impacting hundreds of students over time.