One of the biggest things I have learned in the past two years is that I don’t need to know the answer; I need only to know how to get the answer or point somebody to the answer. It’s a skill that I have developed since becoming a connected educator. Becoming a connected educator has helped me grow more than I could have imagined, and it’s allowed me to help educators in my district and far beyond.
When I am faced with question, whether my own or somebody else’s, I go through several resources that help me connect the dots.
This is no certain order.
1. Myself: This resource is the easiest to go through because there’s not a lot there, although it is growing and will continue to grow because I am a lifelong learner.
2. Personal learning network: Let me break my PLN down into two groups.
- Local: I am blessed to work in a connected district. I serve on a team of innovation, curriculum and technology specialists. It’s a great team with a nice mix of former K-12 teachers from every subject background. I created a list of our team on Twitter and highly recommend following the members. Within my district, we also have the Learning Leadership Cadre, the Community of Digital Educators (#EVSCCODE) and The Network (#EVSCNetwork). Between the team, those three groups and teachers with whom I work in my building, I have a pretty good place to start. The great thing is I have shared them with you!
- Global: Though I have an amazing local PLN, I also have a fantastic global PLN. My global PLN gives me a fresh perspective on education and pushes my thinking. By being an active connected educator, I have had an opportunity to learn from educators worldwide. I am continually amazed at how fast my PLN responds to requests I put on Twitter. If you don’t have a PLN or you want to help somebody build his or hers, check out the Tools for Building Your PLN LiveBinder that Tim Wilhelmus and I made and Wilhelmus’ Twitter for Educators.
3. Web resources: I have my go-to people in my PLN and certain hashtags I follow and use frequently. Then there are the main websites that I look to for help.
- Cybrary Man: I have never found a topic for which Cybrary Man doesn’t have a page. It is truly remarkable the amount of information and help you can get from his website.
- Free Tech for Teachers: Richard Byrne’s ability to share resources at such a high frequency is astounding. The search bar for his website will help you find the right tool in a hurry.
- eduTecher and eduClipper: These sites, from the great Adam Bellow, are fantastic! The organization of eduTecher and the personalization of eduClipper are great tools to have in your tool belt.
This is only a small portion of what I use to connect the dots. The truth is I will use anything and everything I can to connect dots.
What do you use to connect the dots that I haven’t listed?
Brett Clark (@Mr_Brett_Clark) is an e-learning coach in southern Indiana. His interests include the flipped classroom, creating a student-centered classroom, technology integration and professional development. He is a conference presenter and recently presented at the Flipped Conference in Chicago. Learn more about Clark at his website.