It’s Connected Educators Month – the first major celebration ever of the powerful potential for educator-driven professional learning vested in the Internet and today’s social media tools.
Each Wednesday of this month (five in all) we’re going to feature several posts written by our Voices from the Learning Revolution bloggers. From among nearly 200 articles posted since we launched VFLR in March 2011, we’ll select about 20 that seem to best underscore the spirit and vision of the Connected Educators website and the USDOE-sponsored Online Communities of Practice project.
For daily information about PLP’s involvement in CEM, be sure to visit the PLP blog.
Opening the Curtain on Lurking
Stephanie Bader, a second-year elementary teacher confesses that she’s a novice player on the teacher-tech stage. “I could be any one of the many teachers on a similar journey. I would venture to say that we all experience bouts of stage fright at some point in our careers.” Participating in online communities is particularly scary for some, Bader says, as they ask themselves “What do I have to offer that someone else can’t supply? What good will my opinion do? Hasn’t my question been asked countless times before?” Her answers may well inspire other “lurkers” to take some small steps forward. Learn more
My Voice for Change: Muted, But Not Silenced
After years of having a consistent online presence, Brian Crosby has struggled with his lack of enthusiasm for writing about his teaching practice. He says his muted voice is in part the result of a ever-increasing focus on the all-important high stakes tests, and the strict curriculum controls and direct-instruction mandates that have grown up around the national “accountability” movement. Learn more
Connected PD on a (Zero) Budget
Teachers are hungry for professional learning but their eyes are often bigger than their pocketbooks when it comes to professional conferences in distant cities and pricey online courses. Connected educators can feed themselves, says Pennsylvania teacher Becky Bair, who’s not busting the bank this summer but staying home with Twitter and Google Reader. Learn more
Good Classroom Tech Is Like a Sweet Old Softball Glove
Done well, social media and technology integrated into the classroom feels like a familiar old leather softball glove, says middle school science and math teacher Marsha Ratzel. It becomes an extension of your hand and you almost forget that it’s there. Done badly, though, classroom tech is a waste of precious time and the learning return on your investment is nil. Learn more