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The Internet and social media have greatly impacted the way our students read, write, express themselves, communicate, share, research, and learn. In order to prepare students to meet the demands of a digitally connected world, teachers must experience learning and connecting as students do through online communities and social networks. We call this “connected learning.”

In our Connected Educators: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Professional Development course, participants discover how current educators are connecting online with colleagues around the world through Blogs, Twitter, Twitter chats, Facebook groups, webinars, online conferences and MOOCs to exchange resources, support, and mentorship.  Another key feature of this course challenges participants to use connected technologies, web tools, and apps to build a Professional Learning Network (PLN) that is relevant, flexible, dynamic and personalized to support them with their current and future instructional needs.

We asked course instructor and educational thought leader Shelly Sanchez (@ShellTerrell) to highlight an example of how she applies some of these skills in her course, and here is what she had to say:

The task is to complete a Connected Educators Reflection Infographic. Students make a copy of the Connected Educator Reflection Visual Google Drawing template I provide.

The icon in the middle represents the participant. After reflecting on the following questions, the participant fills out the 4 sections with their choices for how they would like to use social media to connect with other educators and for their own professional development. By creating this graphic, educators are able to investigate what social networks options they have and which they already use. They also get to plan how they would like to connect professionally. Educators who have reservations about using social media for professional development are able to envision how connected learning and developing a Professional Learning Network (PLNs) might look and create a sort of “vision board” to best achieve their goals. This could entail a better experience for educators new to developing PLNs and joining educator networks.

  • What social networks do you belong to?
  • What messaging and video conferencing web tools and apps do you use?
  • What technologies, topics, and trends are you interested in?
  • What areas of your profession would you welcome resources or support?
  • What do you feel you do especially well as an educator?
  • What expertise or skills could you share with other teachers?
  • In what ways do you hope building a PLN will enhance your instructional practice or student learning?

The sample above is actual student work as part of our Connected Educators: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Professional Development course.  To learn more about this course, or any of our other popular courses, check out https://edtechnologyspecialists.com/graduate-and-in-service-courses/

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