10 Reasons Why Connected Educator Month Lived Up to the Hype

November 05, 2013
Jack Shaw
Senior Consultant to Amplify Insight

CATEGORIES Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, Professional Development, Technology Integration

As the digital dust settles from another busy Connected Educator Month, I rounded up 10 highlights you shouldn’t miss. May these gems provide an extra push to keep the conversation and connections going.

Here are my top 10 reasons why Connected Educator Month lived up to the hype.








CEM’s opening panel on Connected Leadership identifies why educators should get connected: the power of learning that is socialized. The panel discussion attempts to answer the questions, "How is connected leadership impacting student achievement, and what are the best basic steps leaders can take today to become more connected?" Getting connected isn’t about new technology, but is about taking a systematic approach that embraces openness and collaboration. Testimonials about why it's worthwhile to be connected abound, and here’s one nice reflection.


edConnectr – A month of connected education pretty much requires an online community, and edConnectr meets this requirement nicely. It’s highly visual, incredibly fun, and potentially impactful … but it needs YOU to reach critical mass. The sign-up process is a bit lengthy, but stick with it. You’ll understand once you’re finished.


Any event is only as good as the people involved. Fortunately, CEM has Jennie Magiera. I don't know if anyone has ever quantified her social connections/hour. It’s a superpower, and she puts it to stunningly good use. Ms. Magiera hosted CEM’s official Google+ community (yes, you CAN and SHOULD still join). Log in for a summary of the month's highlights.


The Connected Educator Month Book Clubs provided an opportunity to read books related to connected learning, then discuss them with peers and the authors, through asynchronous conversations in edConnectr and in live webinars. You can still find the books and related resources in the edConnectr CEM Book Clubs Discussion threads. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, co-author of The Connected Educator, hosted the book club. You will find lots of inspiring ideas for transforming into a connected educator in her book and at her site, Powerful Learning Practice. Join edConnectr, if you haven't already, to access these resources.


The folks over at Connected Learning ask: “What would it mean to think of education as a process of guiding youths’ active participation in public life that includes civic engagement, and intellectual, social, recreational, and career-relevant pursuits?” I think it would mean more projects like Project Yesu: engaging and personally relevant. Mallory Fundora turned her Christmas wish to “help Africa” into a global initiative by using social media to organize and help spread her message, and successfully sponsored seven African children within two months. Quite the digital lemonade stand.


While not new, #CEM13 resuscitated a short video of accomplished authors Seth Godin and Tom Peters, who describe the personal and professional impacts of blogging. “It doesn’t matter if anyone reads [your blog]. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it, what matters is the metacognition of thinking about what you’re going to say…” I helped my 10-year-old daughter start her blog the day after watching the video; it provided more motivation for her to write than the prior three months combined.


I’m not sure what YOUR experience is with Pinterest to date, but mine is best described as "The act of trying to replicate Martha Stewart-esque creative projects to predictably underwhelming results." Fortunately, Edutopia showed me another way and created a Pinboard chock-full of resources to help grow your Personal Learning Network. Here, you’ll find resources that range from creating social media guidelines for your school to tips on how to build a PLN on Twitter. Waaayyy less scary than what this looked like at my house...


Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that there are real people on the other side of our digital connections. The Discovery Educator Network Virtcon humanized their CEM activity by sharing the faces behind the connection. Clearly they didn’t have ANY fun.


Sure, the U.S. Department of Education sponsored CEM, but it’s still big news when the Secretary of Education weighs in. This year, Arne Duncan participated in an hour-long live Tweet chat that garnered unprecedented activity. The clever folks at EdSurge recapped the event for those unable to digest the full 131-page #edtechchat archive. Even Twitter blogged about this #edtechchat.


The end is just the beginning. #CEM13 is officially over, but the dialogue and work are just beginning. Rewind and review the CEM 2013 archive, and ConnectEd on.

What were your favorite moments during Connected Educator Month? Sign in to comment below!