Today marks the first day of Connected Educator Month. SmartBlog on Education will be bringing you content throughout the month to celebrate CEM. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, a member of the CEM leadership team, is helping us kick off the celebration with an overview of the event and a look at free resources for connected educators.
What is Connected Educator Month?
Connected Educator Month was started in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education as a way to get educators proficient with social media to improve their practice, help schools integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts and stimulate and support innovation in the field of education. Last year, more than 300 educational organizations, schools and school districts participated in Connected Educator Month, and more than 600 free, national professional learning events and activities happened around connected education.
But as successful as Connected Educator Month 2013 was, there are still educators who are not connected, and many more who are not yet taking full advantage of the opportunities connected education affords. So this year, our goals are:
- Make the event more fully global. We are supporting New Zealand, Norway and Australia in the development of their own full slates of events.
- Make the celebration more fully mobile and blended.
- Provide a greater emphasis on collaboration and address participants’ desires for a more action-oriented approach
- Launch a series of ongoing connected education initiatives to keep momentum building throughout the year
- Include more events & activities that pull in other education stakeholders—parents, students, whole school communities, policymakers
Connected Educator Month 2014 is being convened by a group of core partners in collaboration with a wide range of participating organizations. We are also encouraging everyone to own a piece of Connected Educator Month this year through our crowdfunding efforts. With this boost in funding, we hope to make Connected Educator Month every month, year-round and focus our efforts on helping educators who are not yet connected, get connected.
There are many ways to get involved with Connected Educator Month in 2014, whether you’re an individual educator, a school, or an organization.
Find an event, add an event:
- There are activities from Twitter chats to webinars to guided tours and more on our calendar. Create an account, fill out a profile and create a personalized schedule that syncs with your calendar of choice (Google, iCal, etc.). You can also search for events in many ways (by topic, audience or type of event).
- Add your own events to the calendar. Need help coming up with events? Here’s an overview of the event and more detailed advice on formats and topics.
Support our crowdfunding campaigns: donate prizes that can be awarded in our weekly crowdfunding contests, or start a crowdfunding team and raise funds.
Join a Book Club: read books about or related to connected learning and online communities, discuss them with your peers, meet the authors and more. Have a book you want to lead a discussion around? We are doing an all-call for books on connected learning.
Help spread the word: check out the supporter toolkit – where you’ll find a large collection of graphics, written copy, Tweetables and other promotional tools to let others know you stand for connected education.
Make connections with edConnectr: edConnectr is an app that uses tags and maps to make it easy and fun to create profiles to collaborate, get help or just connect.
Join a collaborative project
Last year, dozens of educators and leaders contributed to the collaborative projects list, where you can indicate the topics that most interest you, then find other groups that share your approach and passions! Or check out one of the featured projects below:
- Adopt-A-Colleague Kit – Resources and ideas for connected educators to get less-connected colleagues on board
- PLN Exchange – We want to create a permanent, easy to use resource to help less-connected educators create PLNs with as little as a mouse click or two.
- Who To Follow In Education – Help us and Edutopia create a ‘who to follow in education’ Twitter list.
For organizations and foundations
Want to show that you are deeply invested in connected education? Sponsorship of Connected Educator Month offers a rare opportunity for high-visibility association with a successful, international online educational experience. From positioning as a thought leader, to brand visibility there are a wealth of benefits available to our sponsors. We also are looking for in-kind sponsorships. You can donate prizes for contests and challenges or you may have technologies you can provide to help build out the infrastructure of the event. Tell us what you’ve got to give, and we’ll find a use for it.
We can’t wait to learn with you
Connected Educator Month 2014 is going to be bigger and better than ever before thanks to our partners, participating organizations, and most of all, thanks to you! However you get involved, whether it’s attending a Twitter chat, watching a free webinar, or leading an event, we can’t wait to learn with you!
During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from across the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Israel, Norway, and China to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and is in the dissertation phase of completing her doctorate in Educational Planning, Policy and Leadership at the College of William and Mary.
If you enjoyed this article, join SmartBrief’s email list for more stories about education. We offer newsletters covering educational leadership, special education and more.