Connections, they are probably one of the strongest forces for change in a community or career: knowing someone who does something differently and has had great success with it is a strong catalyst for you to try it. Word of mouth from a friend or colleague can resonate more strongly that research alone, when referring to new strategies, practices or resources.
I have had the great pleasure of being an organiser of the first annual connected educator appreciation day. The day has been a few years old as a concept and finally took form and gained momentum this past summer time with a team of 4 exceptional leaders of change:
- Tim MacDonald, a community manager extraordinaire (hailing from the USA) @tamcdonald;
- Cassie Reeder, former teacher turned education consultant and co-organiser of EdChange Global (also from the USA) @cassiereederedu;
- Vlatka Butkovic, school director and web designer (from Croatia) @Butkovicedu;
- and me, Michael Sinclair, also a former educator turned education consultant (from Scotland).
We are the team who took an idea of connecting educators, much like a community manager would, and sharing experiences and skill sets with anyone wanting to learn. The initial idea came from William Jenkins and Andrea Tolley, who sadly were not able to join us on the breakneck speed process of planning a global professional development event; one that was by, for and about educators.
The topics that were discussed were:
- Encouraging Change in the Classroom: Planning and Practice
- Using Technology to Connect Outside the Classroom
- The Role of a Technology Ambassador
- Gamification in the Classroom
- Promoting your Skill Set
- Using New Technology Effectively in the Classroom
- STEAM for the Classroom
- Training Teachers in Schools
Each session lasted about 55 minutes and had hosts, panellists and attendees engaged with a range of relevant questions for teachers, now, in the classroom. The educators who were present were a diverse group from locations around the world: India, United States, Argentina, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sweden, Croatia, Kuwait, Romania, United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, Yemen, Tunisia, Spain, Nigeria, Jordan, Germany, Colombia. I cannot truly express the wonder and excitement I felt when I could see and hear of the experiences and ideas that were expressed about the important of relationships for learners and educators; the importance of mutual trust when building the relationships and the importance of using technology as a tool to support learning not the focus of the learning.
We are slowly polishing the videos from the event and will release them weekly with the end goal of hosting shorter, hour, sessions once a month to maintain connections and build new ones. You can check them out on our YouTube Channel. If you were a participant or attendee, we would love you thoughts on our blog, if you aren’t a member of the site yet, sign up and we’ll give you access. Search for our tweets at #CEduAD on Twitter, or follow us at @ConEduAD. Additionally, you can like our Facebook page.
I hope you will join us again, or for the first time, for one of our future events.