How are you connecting with your colleagues? As part of the U.S. Department of Education's Connected Online Communities of Practice (COCP) project, the first ever "Connected Educator Month" reminds us of the benefits of learning from our teaching peers at all levels of education.
A primary goal of the event is to encourage us to become active in learning communities, especially those that are online. It's great timing and a chance to add a few professional development activities to your schedule just before we head back to school for a new academic year.
Find Resources and Events
Take a look at the full list of events with the interactive schedule on the Connected Educator Month site and you'll find everything from classes and webinars to live chats and virtual exhibits. Here are my picks of some of the sessions that are most relevant to online higher education scheduled for the remainder of August. All are free to attend, but may require registration. Details are provided on the site.
- Peek Inside the Life of a Connected Learner: This webinar led by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach includes a discussion of "action research, lesson plan studies, virtual classroom visits, and more." (Tuesday, August 14)
- Kickoff for the Connected Educators Collaboration Challenge: Find out how you can contribute to "writing a wiki book about all of the ways to connect online." This one-week project even ends with a closing ceremony. (Thursday, August 16)
- Learning 2.0 Virtual Conference – Day One: This virtual conference runs through August 24th and offers keynote presentations, concurrent sessions, and interviews from a long list of leaders in educational technology. (Sunday, August 19)
- National Writing Project (NWP) Open House: Find out more about NWP forums and resources, and join the conversation about what our increasing levels of digital communication mean for the teaching of writing. (Friday, August 22)
- Ed Startup 101: Join this MOOC, which runs through December 14th, to learn from a group of experienced education entrepreneurs and "work toward transforming your own innovative idea – or another innovative idea established in the research – into a well-designed product or service that can improve the lives of teachers and learners." (Monday, August 27)
- Adult Career Pathways (ACP) – Community Premier: A newly re-designed community, ACP will kick-off its new network with this webinar presentation. Connect with other adult educators to explore the resources available. (Tuesday, August 28)
- Tony Wagner on Creating Innovators: Part of the Future of Education series hosted by Steve Hargadon from Web 2.0 Labs, this session features author Tony Wagner speaking about his book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. Check the schedule for additional interviews throughout the month. (Tuesday, August 28)
As you review the schedule, note the times and time zones listed for each event and save the links needed to enter these sessions. Many of the presentations are scheduled multiple times during the month, so that you can find one that meets your needs. And watch for contests, door prizes, and other giveaways associated with your participation.
There's a lot to choose from, so consider narrowing your search by topic of interest. You can also search the schedule by speaker and type of session (i.e., contest, podcast, Twitter). If time is an issue, and it usually is, consider identifying just one session each week to add to your calendar.
Keep it Going!
Connected Educator Month is limited to August, but it's really a launching pad for continued connections throughout the year. Here is a short list of ways you might extend your participation this month with your peers and colleagues moving forward:
- Use the hashtag #CE12 to share what you are doing and learning in the connected educator sessions via social media. Invite others to join in!
- Write a blog post, for your own blog or to submit to another site, reflecting on how you connect with other educators on a regular basis, both online and on campus.
- Submit a presentation proposal for an event that allows you to connect and share your experiences with others. Think big and small – from workshops with your co-workers to national conferences.
- Answer a question in an online discussion forum or other community venue. Share your expertise and knowledge with someone new to your field. Help them so that they can help someone else.
Follow @edcocp on Twitter for more news and reactions related to Connected Educator Month and the larger COCP project.
Update: #IOLchat is now part of Connected Educator Month! Join me on Wednesdays at 12pET throughout August (and beyond) to connect with other educators on issues related to online learning. Check the central schedule and our chat page for more details and resources for each week's topic. On August 15th we feature blended learning.
What is your favorite way to connect with others who do what you do and teach online? Share your resources and recommendations with us here!
Image credit: denise carbonell, Flickr, CC-BY