Being a connected educator means connecting with other teachers to exchange ideas, improve your teaching practice, and in turn, make a change in education. It is only through being connected that we can collaborate and help to foster learning for the 21st century and beyond. Learning should extend for teachers (and students!) beyond the walls of a classroom and take outside perspectives into account. This can be done both through in-person experiences and online.
Much of what is shared during Connected Educator Month is that of the online experiences, but it’s also important to remember the valuable relationships that we build face to face. Although online connections allow us to reach people that we would never be able to reach otherwise, in-person conversations and collaboration encompass an important aspect of our humanity. The face to face relationships of a school community, which can be amplified through technology, are what make a lasting impression on both children and adults. Finding opportunities to bring different educator communities together offline brings being connected to the next level.
If you’re unfamiliar with EdCamps, they are teacher-driven “unconference” events in which educators come together to talk about topics of interest and discover strategies and through discussion. EdCamps aren’t only about finding new ideas for classroom practice, but they’re also opportunities to form lasting relationships with teachers from other schools. The connections made in one EdCamp session often continue beyond to form a lasting dialogue filled with innovative ideas for teaching. EdCamps usually last a full day or half day in which teachers can choose different topics they’d like to talk about and attend different sessions throughout the day. There isn’t any pre-set agenda, just a time to sit down with other teachers, talk, and share.
Want to find an EdCamp in your area? Visit EdCamp’s site and attend one close to you! If there isn’t an EdCamp close by, you can even start one yourself. Learn how Remind can help support your local EdCamp and get the PD party started!
EdCamp Spotlight: EdCamp NC
Throughout Connected Educator Month, we’ll be featuring a different in-person EdCamp or meet up each week. EdCamp North Carolina (#EdCampNC) recently took place in Raleigh, North Carolina led in part by Steven Anderson, blogger, presenter, and #EdChat co-founder. The EdCamp discussed many topics, including 1:1 classrooms, classroom management with technology, teaching coding, libraries in online environments, assessment preparation strategies, digital learning for teachers, differentiation for ELL learners, Open Educational Resources (OER) and more!
Steven Anderson reflects on the importance of EdCamp in his community, “In an age where we have access to all known information at our fingertips, it is important for educators to embrace thee need to drive their own professional learning. Edcamps, like EdcampNC help provide accessible professional development to educators in an atmosphere where all ideas are valued and any kind of learning can take place. Edcamps are becoming a more important part of educators taking control of their learning and finding it outside of their schools and districts.”
Check out some photos from the event!
Like EdCamps, meet ups are also a great way to meet local teachers, as well as edtech entrepreneurs, in your area. On Meetup, easily connect with people interested in specific areas or topics. EdSurge, which focuses on education technology, has many meet ups and tech for schools summits around the country.
Stay Connected with Remind
Creating a Remind class for your EdCamp or meet up group is a great way to send meaningful resources and keep everyone connected. Since each Remind class can have an unlimited amount of subscribers, it’s easy to get your entire EdCamp or meet up group on one class! Remind messages reach your community wherever they are — on their phones. Until the next time that you’re able to meet face to face, send your community links to helpful resources, inspiring images, or Voice Clips. Your class can even vote on the topic of the next group meeting using Stamps.