Connected = Respect
This post is cross posted from http://jasperfoxsr.blogspot.com/
Many articles and discussions have centered around the benefits of being a "connected educator" and I'm sure you've seen them, especially on Thomas Whitby's Blog My Island View. I am grateful to Tom and Bryn Williams for getting me to consider what, in my opinion, this means and I've narrowed it down to three main reasons why being connected is essential for modern educators.
Educators who honor themselves and their commitment to being learners regardless of their content area show respect for themselves. This is the essence of being connected. A recent article reporting that Twitter is dominated by educators demonstrates that many educators do in fact prescribe to the notion that growth is important and have made this, often non compulsory, move to develop and hone their craft. Through determination to improve their practice, connected educators demonstrate humility and signal the admittance that there are always areas in which to advance.
Modelling connectedness allows teachers to showcase student work in ways not possible in the past. No longer do connected teachers say "hand it it" they say "publish it" (not sure who said this first, but it's good!). This allows students' work to be shared with a wider audience, and that validates their work in ways not possible in the past, and encourages conversation around content. Specific examples include, blogging and media creation.
The most special part of being a connected educator is the opportunity to be able to share expertise with others. There are many outlets including Twitter, Google+ (with hangouts), blogging, podcasting and others. I've found that connected educators are very generous with their time and expertise. In adopting this mentality I have been fortunate to learn from some of the best in the field and to reciprocate. Embracing connection with others signals a shift away from hording knowledge towards an educational system that grows more quickly and efficiently. Ultimately the decision to join together revels a deep seeded respect not only for our profession but for ourselves and others.