When I started my teaching career, I had the pleasure of working in the same school district with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, who would one day go on to co-found and lead Powerful Learning Practice. We shared a passion for maximizing the learning of the students we taught and the educators with whom we worked. The first day we met, we clicked, and we began to brainstorm projects that would make it possible for our students (from different schools) to collaborate — well before the phrase “connected learning” was coined. We had a fabulous time.

Although my career path would later take me in a separate direction (working for Verizon Foundation), I was always inspired by and impressed with the work Sheryl was doing with educators from across the globe. In 2011, I was happy when our paths crossed again and I had the opportunity to join Powerful Learning Practice.

Given not only her vision, but her energy and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the work done, I wasn’t surprised when Sheryl was asked to help lead the charge for numerous Connected Educator Month activities. Her assignment included leading the first Connected Educators Book Club, which (appropriately enough) has educators exploring in real time the many ideas in The Connected Educator, which Sheryl co-authored with PLP’s Lani Ritter Hall.

Throughout the month of August, Sheryl has also hosted and moderated numerous keynotes and webinars (around Connected Learning, Project Based Learning, the Flipped Classroom, etc.), led a twitter chat, forum discussions (on professional learning and Connected Education and the First Six Weeks of School) and more!

Of course I can’t forget the Connected Educator Kit (which she co-created with Amber Karnes, PLP’s Marketing Director) — a very user-friendly tool that Arne Duncan (United States Secretary of Education) encouraged all educators to take advantage of.

…or Sheryl being asked to join a panel led by Karen Cator (Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education) to talk about connected learning.

Watch live streaming video from connectedlearningtv at livestream.com


PLP is lucky to have such a passionate leader who puts her heart and soul into this program.  It’s not every day that you get to work with someone who is not only a friend and long-time colleague, but someone you deeply admire and respect. I am very thankful. I hope you have also benefited from all of the good work she has done on behalf of PLP, Connected Educator Month, and iGeneration students, and you’re looking forward to what’s ahead!

Want to meet Sheryl and other amazing educational leaders?

Attend PLP Live 2012 (September 28, 2012) in Philadelphia, PA!  You’ll get a unique conference experience where you have the opportunity to ‘Mingle and munch’ in casual conversation with the keynote speakers and breakout session facilitators during lunch. Bring your questions, share your ideas and discuss the issues!  It’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.PLP Live 2012 - Inspire. Collaborate. Shift.
If you can’t make the one-day conference, I hope you’ll consider joining our Connected Learner Experience or taking an eCourse with us during this upcoming school year!  PLP is ready to share our passion and knowledge and learn from you too!!!

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Christen Dodd

Christen is a Connected Learning Specialist for PLP. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. For eleven years, Christen trained educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity. She also served as their Distance Learning Coordinator and Vice President of Professional Development. Christen has enjoyed working with Powerful Learning Practice since 2011 and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike. Currently, she is also an instructional technology specialist at her children's JK-8 Catholic school.

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