Today I got the green light to open up our EdCamp Mount Vernon to everyone, not just our School District. This is exciting because it will give us the opportunity to hear many voices and get great ideas from many different perspectives. So what did I do to start getting the word out? I emailed our regional list serve and asked my colleagues in other area districts to spread the word. I jumped on Twitter and shared out to my PLN (Professional Learning Network) of over 1000 followers and provided a link to our website and asked them to spread the word, I went to our Facebook Page and shared the link there. I added a Public Event on my Google + Page. I went to my Google Drive and share the information with a group of Tech TOSAs I collaborate with via Google Docs. That sounds like a lot of work, but in reality, it only took a few minutes and now the ball is rolling. People who connect to my PLN with any of these tools will then be able to share with their own personal PLNs. This is what Connected Educators do.
I've often heard from others that they just don't have time to build a Professional Learning Network. I would say, I don't have time not to have a Professional Learning Network. Having access to smart and talented educators from all over the world who will answer questions, brainstorm ideas and even try things out with me really makes a world of differences and has provided me with the most powerful professional development opportunities that I have ever had. My thinking is stretched. My knowledge is expanded. My library of resources grows exponentially. I am inspired. I am encouraged and I am supported. I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with the fact that there is one of me in my position in a district of 6000 or so. But then I remember that I am not alone. At my fingertips, I have access to a great cloud of inspiration, ideas and support for what I do. I remember when Twitter was fairly new, but already a main source of my information and connections as an educator, I would have other teachers come to me and ask me if I could ask "my people" about a resource, idea etc. Although the teachers weren't yet ready to build their own PLN, they were beginning to realize the power of my PLN. They say that the smartest person in the room is the room. Well, that is even a more exciting thought when my room is as big as the earth. There is so much to learn and share and so many people willing to join me in my journey. This is Connected Educator's Month. And although this is technically about the wealth of online connections available to teachers, I think that EdCamp is a great way to foster this type of connection and sharing. I'll have to admit, that online, I do a lot more learning/collecting than sharing. This is true with most of us. If we are dabbling with the idea of a PLN, we usually start out by finding places and people who share resources. (Blogs, Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers). When our Professional Learning Network really takes off though, is when we not only collect from others, but we begin to share our own ideas. We learn that we have something to say, unique ideas and skills that are worth sharing with others. This is empowering. When those ideas stay just within us, they do not have as many opportunities to grow and improve. Once ideas are shared, they become powerful. I hope that you will join me in building professional learning network both online and at events like our EdCamp Mount Vernon coming up on October 25.
Edutopia: The Connected Educator
Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities
Registration is now open!
October 25, 21014
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Mount Vernon High School
Find out more here...
Next Google Hangout: Google Docs : 10/06/14
Google Docs Sandbox Sessions: 10/9/14 4pm DO Tech Lab, 1013/14 3pm Mount Baker
Going Google (Secondary): 10/10/14
EdCamp Mount Vernon : 10/25/14 Pin It Now!