Online communities and learning networks are helping hundreds of thousands of educators learn, reducing isolation and providing “just‐in‐time” access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration. However, many educators are not yet participating, and others aren’t realizing the full benefit. In many cases, schools, districts, and states also are not recognizing and rewarding this essential professional learning.
For these reasons, the U.S. Department of Education’s Connected Educators initiative is launching Connected Educator Month in October of 2013.Through October, there will be coordinated opportunities to participate in events and activities in dozens of online locations to develop skills and enhance one’s personal learning network.
An intensive, two-day, online conference on transforming teaching and learning—featuring U.S. Department of Education senior officials and education thought leaders—will kick off the month. Plans are underway for opportunities such as the following:
- Month-‐long forums regarding key topics, such as personalizing learning and the future of the teaching profession, which will be moderated by noted education leaders and consist of activities such as online discussions, interviews, webinars, and chats
- Guided tours and real-time community open houses, which will connect educators with communities, answering questions such as: Who can help me solve challenges I’m facing in my classroom, and how do I best connect with them? How can I help change my profession for the better?
- Contests for addressing community challenges, developing innovative ideas, and creating compelling video demonstrations
- Inauguration of a new series of open badges for connected educators as well as online communities
All events and activities will be archived and synthesized into multimedia “proceedings” that will serve as a permanent resource to educators and community sponsors.
Invitation to Participate
We welcome educators at all levels and those who support them to participate. The first step is sign up, which can be done in seconds on the Connected Educator Month home page at http://connectededucatormonth.org/. Once you’re signed up, you’ll get regular updates about:
- Webinars and other real-time events—many headlined by education, technology, and community leaders—that you can register to attend.
- Forums on key education and community issues in which you can participate.
- Guided tours, open houses, launches, exhibits, collaborative projects, polls, and other special activities of which you can partake or be a part.
- Contests you can enter, badges you can earn, plus other resources ranging from starter kits to book clubs and classes to help you join the world of connected education or become more connected.
Connected Educators is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology and led by American Institutes for Research in partnership with the Consortium on School Networking, Forum One Communications, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, Grunwald Associates LLC, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association.