When Brisbane, Australia experienced floods in 2011, Kathy Cassidy’s connected grade-one students wondered if their seven year old skyping friends were safe. They tweeted them from Canada to find out. Result: meaningful and authentic writing and reading.
In this open letter, “Connected Educator” offers a blunt appraisal of the consequences for teachers and students when leadership refuses to connect classrooms to the world via public social media.
Public blogging, says teacher Ann Michaelsen, has proven to be the best way for her Norwegian high school students to sharpen their English writing skills. “When I do something everyone can see,” says one student, “I make it as perfect as I can.” Assessment data: Eleven of her students are finalists for the 2012 EduBlog award for student blogging.
Online educator Smadar Goldstein introduces us to Ilana, the “fabulous” kindergarten teacher who taught each of her four children — and describes four ways she’s incorporated Ilana’s teaching methods into her own distance learning practice.
Talk to and write with a well-known author. Visit the zoo and learn about endangered species. Immerse yourself in Mardi Gras tradition with students and teachers who live in New Orleans. Travel to the White House. Or to an ancient Roman villa. Or even to China. Video conferencing offers so many opportunities for teachers and students to learn from experts, colleagues or kids their own age. Stephanie Bader shares some of what she’s learned and asks you to add to the knowledge base.
For Kathy Cassidy, going back to school means “I set up my classroom, I think about how I will meet the needs of the students I will have, and I plan new ways I will meet my curriculum outcomes.” She’s done these things her entire teaching career, of course. “But because I am now a connected educator, I no longer do them alone. I do them with an entire network of educators online.”