7 comments on “The Myth of the Unconnected Educator

  1. Yes! Let’s stop using those unhelpful labels and think more carefully about the communication culture we want to encourage among and between educators at all stages, at every level. Our language choices quickly betray our biases both explicit and implicit. If we aim to build inclusive, nurturing learning communities wherever we are, it begins with respecting and acknowledging the diversity and wealth of the people we meet and work with, in person or online. There are so many routes to connection beyond social media and so many more ways to build on those connections to create great learning experiences for kids, for colleagues, for ourselves. Thank you for speaking out so strongly in favor of broadening our spaces for dialogue.

  2. While I may agree that technology serves a very real and necessary purpose in helping bring educators together, I do have a problem with it being the only medium by which effective communication and collaboration take place.

    I agree, number of followers is inconsequential to one’s learning. But I don’t agree with who you follow is more important. Sometimes its who follows you and sometimes its who you check on from time to time and don’t follow at all. The key is knowing how to interact with those who can provide you with the most assistance and inspiration at any necessary given moment. In this regard following or not following plays a secondary role to being able to quickly identify and meaningfully interact with experts when needed.

    I also find that connecting face to face within a school district or with colleagues can be far more liberating than limiting. I think it may be folly to ascribe interacting with local experts and those who have a deeper understanding of the immediate culture and nature of the educational issue being discussed as limiting. Indeed it may be liberating to collaborate and communicate with a local school official who had a direct hand in writing a piece of policy than reaching out to the global community who neither understands the minutiae of critical pieces of information that are relevant only to that particular community which drove the decision in the first place.

    Rather than look to the connected or unconnectedness of educators we should be looking at other areas that are more relevant to the core being of the highly effective educator.

    Is it important that we model 21st century learning to our students? We’ve been in the 21st century for over a decade. Most of our students have lived in and been birthed in the 21st century. All they have are 21st century learning in their every day real-life environments. It is only in the artificial environments of the classroom where ossified teachers ban cell phones or other technologies that students experience a false sense of the reality they live in daily. Quite often our students can model 21st century learning far better then the antediluvian sage at the front of the classroom.

    Then again, perhaps being a connected educator is the most important aspect of being a teacher… it has simply been ascribed a poor definition in terms of effective pedagogy.

    A truly connected educator is connected to his or her students, families, and community in such a way as to make learning in the classroom meaningful and relevant so that students will have the opportunity to be successful throughout their lives.

    An unconnected educator lacks the ability to capture the interest of students, to make that spark come alive, and to help students, parents, and community realize the value of education.

    Being a connected educator has nothing to do with twitter, social media, technology, or the 21st century. Being a connected educator has everything to do with being a teacher who brings meaningful learning opportunities to the students in his or her classroom. Connected educators have been around long before the 21st century and will be around long after the century has passed into the ether.

    Its more important that we stop being divisive and start lifting one another up so that we can help as many students as possible. Let us always remember the wise Browncoat saying and may we all live up to it:

    “If you can’t run, you crawl. If you can’t crawl, if you can’t do that — you find someone to carry you.”

    May we all carry one another forward.

    ~You can’t stop the signal.

    Edu-Hermit – John Wick, signign off

  3. I have found that the more time I have spent “connecting” on platforms like Twitter and Facebook (especially), the less I really connect with the people who help me become a better teacher – the students, families, community members, and fellow teachers around me who I collaborate with face-to-face to change our learning community in a tangible way. I also think that writers/speakers who define their own terms and then judge others by them (labeling them as “relevant” or not) cross the line into unacceptable self-importance.

  4. Tom, please explain what you mean by modeling 21st century learning for our students, and how any of that has to do with Sam’s post. In the pre-internet era, it seems that we all agree, teachers (and everyone else) still enjoyed being “connected” in what they did. Yet somehow now, after the intro of a new set of tools, everyone here leaving comments seems to agree that people are still “connected”, it’s only how people can connect that’s changed. Take, for example, Thomas Jefferson, a famous scholar and teacher, who was well connected and widely connected, without the use of the internet, throughout all of his lifetime.

    So, please – explain this “it is important to model 21st Century learning for our students” aspect of this, as I am somehow missing this. I look forward to continuing to engaging with you on this topic.

  5. Pingback: To Be Or Not To Be | Work In Progress

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