No teacher should be an island. And last week, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) launched “Connected Educator Month,” (CEM) to help teachers and administrators connect and share with one another online. The initiative is part of larger efforts by DOE to provide new online resources for educators, and to encourage educators to use online tools for professional development and support.
One of the initiative’s main goals is to offer opportunities for teachers to participate in online events and activities that can help develop their skills and build schools’ personal learning networks. Throughout the month of August, DOE will host online forums, webinars, contests, and book clubs.
The DOE’s larger National Education Technology Plan calls for teachers and education leaders to introduce into the classroom those advanced technologies we use in everyday life. It wants educators to be “highly connected” to the content, tools, and resources around them, as well as to their students and communities. Connected Educator Month helps to strengthen and broaden this connection.
More than 100 organizations, communities, and companies have come together to help support Connected Educator Month. Events include contests, online courses, and collaborative projects, many of which focus on digital literacy. Some key events to check out include a forum on connected education and the first six weeks of school and the Learning 2.0 Conference scheduled for Aug. 20 – 24. Visit the event calendar for a full list of events. Educators can also participate by submitting their own event.
For more tips and tricks on staying connected this month, check out CEM’s free starter kit [pdf] that provides educators with a day-to-day breakdown of simple tasks and daily goals to ensure educators are getting the most out of this month’s resources. The New York Times’ Learning Network also provided a “crash course” on how to be a connected educator, through the suggestions of 33 educators who have written for the blog in the past. The Learning Network’s Katharine Schulten asked each of the guest educators to share an important thing they learned from someone in their personal learning network and a single person or organization every educator should add to their network. Each response links to a new resource that increases teacher connectivity.
This month is all about collaborating with peers, staying connected to developing media, and taking advantage of new learning opportunities. As the U.S. Department of Education writes on its blog: “At the end of the day, Connected Educator Month is dedicated to the proposition that no teacher should be an island, but rather have a rich personal professional learning network to support them every single day.” Stay connected and join in on the dialogue by following us on Twitter @CommonSenseEdu. You can also stay updated on CEM news by using the hashtag #CE12.