I am often asked my by my peers in teaching, “Why Connect?” I can always refer them to Ainissa Ramirez’s great post about “Smashing Silos“. I can talk about how I felt “on an island” when I started teaching. I feel the best way to explain why an educator should be connected is by modeling the process and showing what can occur when connected.
Having been on twitter for a little over a year and half, I have started following/connecting with many wonderful educators. Last August at the urging of my friends at Engaging Educators, I started a middle school chat #mschat. As I began to get my feet wet as a connected educator, I found a friendly place where educators openly share, give positive advice and collaborate. It was so much more than I had imagined. It gives you the choice to participate or lurk. To be actively involved in the community or just visit from time to time. No one judging you based on activity, just a large group of friends meeting you where you are in your participation and skill. In many ways similar to how our classrooms should be.
Today, it all clicked: Working in Michigan I have had the great opportunity to attend a few of Nicholas Provenzano’s (The Nerdy Teacher) presentations. On his feed I had noticed he was giving a Keynote Address along with Timothy Gwynn at The Greater Clark Connected Conference. I was thinking how great it must be to attend conferences in the summer and continue learning. Here I am in my PJ’s, making coffee with my 4 year old twins watching morning cartoons. Then I noticed a tweet by Jeffery Bradbury, the Keynote was going to be broadcast live by Teacher Cast TV . I had to check it out!!
Being “Connected” means you are only an internet connection away from learning. No opportunities are missed. You DON’T have to wait for PD that someone thinks you need, YOU FIND PD your students need you to have!! As the organizer, Brett Clark, of #GCCC13 clearly stated in the opening of the conference, “You challenge yourself to be a better teacher this year than you were last year!” Timothy Gwynn said it best, “Twitter is the instruction manual to teaching.” Being connected gives you the answers to all of your “HOW TO…” questions as teachers.
Being connected allowed me to be inspired and motivated to return to the classroom with five weeks of summer vacation ahead of me. All in the comfort of my PJs, while sipping coffee with my kids this morning. When someone tells me they don’t have time to be connected! I tell them they don’t have time not to be connected!
If you are still a skeptic, listen to this 11-year explain why being connected is important . (From #GCCC13)