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Ten Tips for Becoming A Connected Educator
posted by: Ruthie | October 29, 2013, 04:57 PM   

As October and Connected Educator Month draw to a close, it’s never too late to get connected! Here are ten simple tips for "connecting,” derived from an Edutopia blog by Elana Leoni.

    1. Embrace Making Mistakes
    Implementing new ideas in the classroom is always somewhat of a gamble. However, don’t shy away from making mistakes. Learning from mistakes is one of the most effective ways of learning. If you need more convincing, here are seven TED talk on learning from failures.

    2. There's No Right Way -- There's Only Your Way
    Ultimately, you can’t learn how to connect via a manual, blogs, curriculum, or a seminar, you need to discover the most effective way for yourself. Just because a colleague, friend, or supervisor is using social space a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way for you. Research, learn, and then customize connecting to fit your needs and desires.

    3. Just Jump In!
    Similar to steps 1 and 2, don’t over think connecting. Try different methods and embrace new technologies.

    4. Be Open to Learning Unexpected Things
    You may not get exactly what you anticipated out of connecting. Don’t let that deter you. Any learning is good learning! In some ways connecting may exceed your expectations and in some ways it will fall short. That’s okay. It’s all part of the connecting process.

    5. Follow Like-Minded People in Education
    If you're on Twitter, you can start by following these lists of inspiring people in Education: Edutopia bloggers, Edcamp Organizers and Great Educational Organizations. On Twitter, you can also search for specific topics (here’s a list of education-related hashtags). Within your searches, feel free to follow people that you're interested in hearing more from. And if you're on Google+, you can peruse the many education-oriented communities to get your network started.

    6. Join the Edcamp Movement
    Edcamps are educator-led unconferences (conferences that have no set agenda). Make sure to follow them on Twitter using the above Twitter list. You can also check out this wiki for a list of upcoming events. Not convinced that this is worth your time? Check out this video.

    7. Join a Live Virtual Event
    You may not be able to attend that conference you really wanted to go to or that seminar by a famous teacher. However, most of the time you can catch these events streaming live. Whether it’s a live Twitter chat (here's a list of them all), a Google Hangout On Air or a virtual conference, these are all ways to make the most of events that are already taking place.

    8. Block Out Time to Get Connected
    Connecting may not occur naturally. Block out at least 30 minutes a week and devote them to connecting.

    9. Be Yourself and Help Others
    Don’t be afraid to be open and honest. It might be tempting to pretend to be someone you are not, but resist this temptation.

    10. Start Blogging
    Blogging is a great way to reflect on what you've learned in your personal learning network (PLN), and it's also a fabulous way to give back. 

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