5 Benefits of Being Connected…

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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1. I learn/grow with my PLN (Personal Learning Network.  As educators we talk about life long learning with our students, parents and colleagues but walking the walk is more challenging. Traditionally the cost of classes, geographical constraints, lack of quality professional development, etc. have stunted professional growth. Every educator has sat in a large auditorium or conference center and listened to a research supported lecture for too long and taken a couple practical ideas away. Often these professional development opportunities are more “Do as I say and not as I do.”

Those days are gone. Whether you are connecting on social media websites like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, through MOOCs, or at Edcamps, being connected is easier than ever and more beneficial. Not only are educators collaborating and sharing resources, but they are providing support, encouragement and inspiration. I feel rejuvenated and inspired.

2. Opportunities to impact and interact with the world. As educators we are always trying to make real world connections and stay relevant for our students. Being connected allows for students and staff to interact in authentic ways with authors, politicians, business professionals, scientists, and more. Students can problem solve real world challenges. Not only does this provide purpose, but it is highly engaging for students.

3. Inspires innovation and risk. There are so many ideas, tools, and technologies out there for educators, it can be very overwhelming and almost defeating. When I read my Twitter feed in the morning, read articles from my Paper.li account, or reflect on my learning through this blog, it is difficult to keep from thinking that I should be doing so much more. Instead of feeling bad about myself or throwing the towel in, I take a step forward and try something new. Sometimes it is something small or simple, and sometimes it is overhauling how I provide professional development. The point is when weighing the cost benefit of change, being connected with others who are taking risks gives me the courage to go forward. Sometimes, I fail, but sometimes I succeed. In the end, I hope to model to my colleagues that we should be willing to take chances and be innovative.

4. The power of feedback. Once I take risks and put myself out there, I get authentic feedback from my PLN. This provides me opportunities for reflection and it pushes me to grow as an educator. Feedback and reflection are incredibly powerful.

5. Connect and Collaborate. I spend an incredible amount of time trying to plan professional development, staff meetings, lunch and learns, orientations and more. I have found that collaborating with others in my position has changed the way I function in my role. Everything I do is created in a platform where I can share that work. I have found others who are conducting their work in the same manner, and we are able to work together to frame different initiatives and trainings. This has not only saved me time but made me more effective. I have a sounding board that transcends geography, time, and bureaucracy.

Being connected has improved the way I think, communicate, plan and work.

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