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Why is "being connected" optional for educators?

This post is in appreciation of my PLN! Thank you!!!

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Teaching used to be a really strange profession. Teachers had to engage students in innovative lessons and prepare them for their future without much creative help. Once you became a teacher, you really never had an opportunity to see what other teachers were doing in their classroom. You didn’t get to see all of the new innovative and up-to-date educational ideas that were going on. Most teachers succumbed to the textbook companies and their supplementary worksheets and activities. In some schools, if the times aligned, you were able to meet with your department and share some ideas. This, however, were only ideas from a few people, in one school, in one city, in one state, in one country.

Since that time, the game has changed a lot. In the new connected world, it is simple to see what thousands of teachers are doing across the world. On social media sites such as Twitter and Google +, through Google Hangouts and Voxer, or by listening to

I have learned a LOT about teaching in the past couple years. Through social media sites like Twitter, Google +, and Linked In, via Skype and Google Hangouts, and by listening to podcasts I have constantly had access to joining together in discussions about education with people from across the world. These educators share their ideas, share lessons and resources, give feedback and support because they are constantly trying to become better and because they want to help make education as great as it can be. It is hard for me to fathom that 10-15 years ago collaboration meant meeting at school with your department. These were meetings with a few people from one school, in one city, in one state, in one country. Ha!

The benefits of being connected are ASTRONOMICAL, and yet I have attended session after session in which our school district holds professional development opportunities to introduce these innovative tools, in which they try to “inspire” and “convince” teachers to make use of them. I don’t get it! Why are we trying to “inspire” and “convince” educators to get connected. It should be a requirement. If you are not connected, by definition, you are disconnected and, frankly, the education system doesn’t need more disconnect.

I wonder if there was ever an intelligent doctor who worked for a practice, but told them that he doesn’t like to, or have time to, or want to read medical journals, attend conferences, and stay up-to-date. This sounds like a joke. There wouldn’t be anyone trying to “inspire” or “convince” them to connect with relevant and innovative information. There most likely would be someone there showing them the door out.

I learned 1,000 times more in my first year teaching than I did in all of college and graduate school. I learned 1,000 times more on Twitter than I did in my classroom that first year. Mathematically, I apparently became 1,000,000 times more knowledgeable about teaching the present generation by being on Twitter.

Why is that optional?

We need a transformation of education.

#pln #connectededucators #socialmedia #connected #education

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