Powerful Learning Practice is pleased to be a partner in August’s Connected Educator Month — an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education aimed at pulling together a large and vibrant large community of connected educators who support online communities and learning networks.

During Connected Educator Month, teachers will have the opportunity to participate in events and activities at dozens of online locations, where they can develop networking skills, grow their own Personal Learning Networks, and collaborate with professional peers using a variety of technologies.

Connected Educators Month kicks off with a free virtual conference on “transforming teaching and learning,” followed by 31 days of activities and events organized around the following key topics:

  • Professional Learning in the Learning Profession—21st century professional development, online communities of practice, and key new developments in teaching and learning.
  • It’s Personal—Personalized learning for students and educators, now and in the future.
  • Beyond Top-Down—How distributed leadership and grassroots networks can shape the future of education, and how educators can use online communities and networks to affect change.
  • Knocking on the Door—What technological trends inside and outside our field (e.g. mobile media? gaming?) are likely to have the biggest impact on education? What should educators be doing right now to take advantage of these trends?
  • The First Six Weeks—The key “to-dos” to get 2012–2013 off to a great start in the classroom, and how online communities and networks help make it great.

PLP co-founders Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach will be involved with CEM activities throughout the month. You can be too, simply by hooking up with the interactive calendar provided on the Connected Educator Month site. And this is a great time to apply what you’ve learned as a 21st century educator and leader. Make yourself visible throughout the forums, webinars and other USDOE sponsored events. Help lead the way to connected professional learning.

At Powerful Learning Practice, we’ll be holding CEM events of our own — and we encourage you to join us in our cyberspace celebrations!

The following are events hosted by PLP throughout the month of August.

The Connected Educator Starter Kit - Because we understand that getting started is half the battle, PLP has created a toolkit to help you launch your vessel into the vast sea of connected educators, Web 2.0 tools, and online communities. This guide offers 31 days worth of August online activities, guaranteed to impel you along the path to a fully competent connected educator and learner. How you use the kit is up to you. Try a few activities and then explore on your own. Or follow the guide to the letter. Find a tool that interests you — or (better still) a community that fuels your passion. Spend your month really cultivating your presence there. It’s like a choose your own adventure starter kit! (School and teacher leaders: This would also be a great way to engage your faculty in some connected fun!) Available soon.

PLP Guided Tour - One of the exciting features of Connected Educator Month will be the guided tours. Different organizations will create a virtual tour of their work, communities and networks for others to visit. PLP is gearing up to make sure we highlight all the hard work members of our PLP community have done to improve their practice and better serve their students. We’ll also point out key features of the PLP experience that make us a leader in 21st century professional learning. If you’re a PLPeep and have an artifact, learning object, video or are willing to contribute to our Tour, please contact us ASAP and we will make sure you are included on the tour.

#PLPNetwork Twitter Chat- Our recent PLP Network Twitter chat experience was such a rockin’ success that Connected Educator Month seemed like the perfect time to launch Phase 2 of #plpnetwork. On Thursday, August 9, at 7 p.m. EDT (NY), you’re invited to join us on your favorite Twitter management tool for a live stream of connected learning tweets. (We even have a how-to guidebook for beginners.) The topic for our August chat is no surprise: The “How” of Connected Learning. With everything that’s out there, how do you get started? What steps do you take to become connected?

Let’s use this chat to share our tips for success both with the PLP community and beyond. Of course, we have prizes galore for participating! Watch for sign-up information, including eligibility for prizes.

Connected Learning Facebook Page – During Connected Educator Month, we would love for a group of connected learners to help create this Facebook page. We want to use this FB space to co-create and share the best resources, ideas and pedagogy we have from our own learning and the work or our schools and organizations. Think Collaboration (not competition). Think Collective Knowledge Building (collective intelligence). We hope everyone will begin by “Liking” the page and then share something others will want to see. This is the place to selflessly promote your good ideas and work.

Show Us Your Network Video Contest – If you want to become a 21st century educator — and prepare iGeneration students for an exciting but unpredictable future — you first have to become a 21st century learner (with a well developed network) yourself. That’s right. The “connected learner” is YOU. Powerful Learning Practice has teamed up with others to host a Connected Educator Month video contest. It’s easy to enter and we have some fabulous prizes in store. There will be various categories where you can showcase your video creations, including: How does your (personal learning network) garden grow? A day in the life of a connected educator and What makes you a connected learner?  Watch for more details soon.

The Connected Leaner ManifestoA manifesto is a document which sets forth the principles and goals of a group of people based on strong belief. It’s a revolutionary act and should be a powerful and daring statement.  PLP is requesting that others help us bring forth a collaboratively constructed manifesto, representing the collective wisdom of those who add their beliefs. The plan is to gather ideas now, create a “first draft” graphic, and then invite others to add their ideas throughout August. Join us.

The Connected Educator Book Club - It happens that PLP co-founder, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, published an important book about connected learning in early 2012. As part of the Connected Education Month festivities, the US Department of Education is offering the opportunity for you to join with other change-agent educators and read the book together. Be sure and keep an eye on the Connected Educator site for more details on how you can be involved.

We hope you and your colleagues and friends will join in as Powerful Learning Practice celebrates the the potential of online networks and communities to advance teaching and transform learning — this August during Connected Educator Month and throughout the year!

About the author
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice and an internationally-respected author and speaker. She is a 20-year educator with experiences as a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. Sheryl writes the blog21st Century Collaborative and you can follow her on Twitter at @snbeach. Read more about Sheryl here.