Becoming a Connected Teacher: Getting Started
Last week on the blog, we discussed the connected classroom and examples of ways you can connect your classroom to others around the world. Using technology to connect your students to others around the globe helps your students break down the walls that traditionally exist in the classroom to build bridges to other people, countries, and cultures. When teaching your students how to think globally and connect with others around the world, it’s important that you do the same.
Building a connected classroom doesn’t have to be difficult, but before you start investing the time and energy, it’s a good idea to connect yourself, as a teacher.
A connected teacher is a teacher that is connected to other educators and education resources on social media through communities and networks.
These communities and networks can help you make the transition to being a connected teacher and having a connected classroom a smooth one. They are designed to allow you to share your experiences, ask for advice, and get inspiration for ways to bring technology into your classroom.
Building a personal learning network (PLN) can help you get the most out of your time online. Rather than searching blindly for topics that you teach, you can make a curated list of educators to follow that share their ideas and what has or hasn’t worked for them when creating technology-rich lessons.
Lists and Hashtags
Twitter is a great social network to use to build your PLN. You can follow a community by following an education based hashtag, or you can follow educators directly. There are many Twitter lists that exist that contain educators you can follow based upon grade, subject, or location where you teach. These lists will give you a starting point of who to follow. Eduro Learning has a Connected Teachers List featuring the teachers taking part in our YouTube Series: Let’s Get Connected that you might like to start with.
While it may be tempting to just have someone tell you who to follow, it’s important to spend the time to curate your network so you’re getting value from it. Follow educators that you inspire to be like, that have innovative ideas you’d like to try, or that are in the same state or country as you. Start off small – it’s better to have a few quality educators in your list that you can follow, rather than be overwhelmed with a large list.
An alternative to following people is to follow a # (hashtag). A #hashtag is a way to aggregate tweets that are appended with a hashtag. There are hashtags for just about every educational topic you can think of. If you are a science teacher you might follow #Scichat, math teachers might like #Math or #Mathchat and don’t forget the different grades like #3rdgrade or #6thgrade. There’s even a #PLN hashtag.
If you’re interested in connecting your classroom, stay tuned! We’re launching a new cohort of The Connected Teacher microcredential, a year-long mentorship program designed to help you connect yourself and your classroom to the world.
Get a free preview of The Connected Teacher microcredential by downloading our digital download “Who Do You Follow?” This digital download was created to help you build your personal learning network and help you to begin building your connected classroom. Take an in-depth look at Twitter, hashtags, and lists, and get advice on where to look first when building your PLN. Get it here.
Be on the lookout for more resources about the connected classroom and for more information about our upcoming microcredential The Connected Teacher. The Connected Teacher will help you build and maintain a connected classroom, transform student learning through local and global connections, and leverage the power of local and global connections as a teacher and a learner. The next cohort of The Connected Teacher begins in November! Learn more about this exciting opportunity here.