Friday, 6 December 2013

Being a connected Educator

Being a connected educator started for me one year ago.  It all started with a colleague of mine trying twitter for homework purposes.  I always wanted to try this and needed a push to do it.  This was my push and I am thankful for it.  Of course when I started out i just creeped a little, retweeted a couple of things and then started posting ideas and thoughts.  I finally found some great chats and learned a lot of that has changed many of my views on education.  However, it wasn't until this year and two experiences in particular that i would say I became a connected educator.

The first experience is meeting an amazing teacher.  Now when I say meet I mean online and through her posts.  I haven't actually met her in person, though I can't wait for that to happen (if it ever does).  The person I am referring to is Aviva Dunsinger @avivaloca.  By connecting to her blog and talking to her on twitter, emails and storify she has changed many of my views and thinking on teaching.  Because of her I have been more connected to my parents, learned more about inquiry and have struggled a little less in my transition to grade two from grade four.  Now some of you may say, how is this different from meeting great educators in person.  I would saying nothing; however, without twitter I would never have met Aviva.  We may never have talked and our paths may never have crossed.  This story is the same for many of the amazing people I have met on Twitter,who without it I never would have talked too.

My second experience is something that I am really proud about and has just recently happened.  It all started with a post from Angela Moses @Motechchef, another great educator.  She posted that she was having her kids rewrite the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas from the Grinch's point of view.  I thought this was an amazing idea and so did another educator Carol McLaughlin.  Somehow after talking to the two of them we decided to collaborate together and have our three classes write the book together.  So even though we were separated by many kilometers (or miles) and time zones our classes were connected.  This would never have been possible without twitter. 

For this project Angela created a google doc to record our thinking.  You can also read her blog post here: You can also see our discussion here:  Carol created a great graphic organizer to help the students understand the Grinch's feelings and I created a dropbox account for us to share pics and other things.

However, our learning hasn't stopped at making a story.  We have been posting pictures between classes.  Carol and my class have been blogging and I will be skyping  with Angela's class later next week.  The kids through twitter have been sharing their amazing ideas and have pushed each others thinking beyond the twenty or so in the classroom.  Not only this but they have been so engaged because of this collaboration.

So I ask you how have you been a connected educator?  Who do you think has helped you on your way?  Anyone that is great person to talk to, collaborate with or follow?