Connecting educators to each other has a huge impact on the learning environment. As educators build relationships, they can then share knowledge and learn from each other. And when this happens, learning improves for all students.
How can you get started? The key is to start small. Here are some ideas:
- Create a Pinterest account. Search for educational topics. Pinterest is a visual bookmarking system. You see pictures that link to websites containing lesson plans, articles and ideas for your classroom and curriculum.
- Set up a Twitter account and follow educational people and organizations. (No need to tweet, just lurk.) Suggestions: @edutopia, @ASCD, @eduleadership, @GustafsonBrad, @ShakeUpLearning, @jmattmiller.
- Check out Tweetdeck to organize incoming tweets. Search for and follow hashtags. Suggestions: #edchat, #mnlead, #tlap, #edtech, #edchat.
- Participate in a Twitterchat. Go to Education Chats and look for a Twitterchat that pertains to your classroom. Follow the Twitterchat during the specified time. If you see something interesting that looks like a link, click on it.
Set a goal for yourself to choose #1 or #2 above and try it in the next three days. Continue with this once a week through October, which is Connected Educator Month. Then do the same with the other activity for November. If you follow the right people and organizations, you’ll see amazing changes in your classroom — I guarantee it! So give it a try. Your students need you to be connected — it’s the world in which we live.
Tomi Swanson teaches and is the technology integration specialist in the Kasson-Mantorville School District in Kasson, Minn. The K-12 district serves approximately 2,100 students and converted from Microsoft Office to Google Apps for Education in 2015. Her two main passions are empowering students to use technology as a tool to further their education and eliminating the digital divide between adults and students. She is a founding leader of Southeast Minnesota-Technology Integration Group (SEMN-TIG) and #EdCampSEMN. She has a K-12 Technology Integration Certification from the University of Minnesota. Connect with her on Twitter @jtbsswanson
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