Making Connections

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Sitting in my hotel room after spending the first day learning about technology tools.  I’m attending TCEA conference in Austin, Texas and look forward to learning more the rest of the week.  There are so many concurrent sessions that I will not be able to attend all of them.  Fortunately, I have been able to receive links through the connections I have made via my PLN on social media sites, specifically Twitter.   These connections help me gain access to much more learning that I otherwise would not have had.  

Synergy is defined as the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions.  If this definition holds true, then our connecting with each other can produce much more if we each go at it alone.  So how can we create synergistic relationships?  Here are several ways to connect and learn from one another.

Bloggers

There are days when finding inspiration is challenging.  You have ideas or topics percolating in your head but would like to know if it can spark change or prompt some discussion among colleagues.  More often than not, there are others that are on your same wavelength.  I’ve found there are many educators, technologists, and bloggers that have similar passions as I do to lean on and bounce off ideas.  I turn to my fellow contemporaries in the field of instructional/educational technology for inspiration.

Here are some bloggers that I’ve connected with that inspire me to make a difference in education.  There are much more out there, find those that help inspire you.

Blog/Site Twitter Blogger(s)
Focus 2 Achieve @focus2achieve Oskar Cymerman started Focus 2 Achieve to provide iclassroom tools that empower teachers and help students achieve more success.
MyBad @JonHarper70bd Jon Harper is currently the assistant principal at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Cambridge, Maryland. He host a podcast series called MyBad on BamRadioNetwork.
ImaginED @imaginEDnow This blog is designed to support and enable imagination-focused teaching in all contexts, from formal to alternative learning contexts, and from primary school through post-secondary education.  It is about education that inspires.
EdCamp Global @EdChangeGlobal The 24 Hour online global event is coming February 28th-March 1st 2017. The sessions and challenges will run for 24 hours to accommodate any schedule across the globe.
Shake Up Learning @ShakeUpLearning Kasey Bell is a digital learning consultant, speaker, and blogger with a passion for technology and learning.
EdTech After Dark @EdTechAfterDark Created and moderated by Alex Stubenport, Zac Leonard, and Dan Koch, this blog and site is rich in EdTech talk and ideas. There’s a weekly chat every Monday night @ 10PM EST.
Alice Keeler @alicekeeler Alice Keeler is someone you should follow if you are involved with Google Apps.   She’s usually the first person I look for when I have a question about Google.
Calliope Global @ProfeEdTech

@JenWilliamsEdu

Jennifer Williams and Fran Siracusa are two more educators that strive to inspire others to drive change in education.   

PLNs

I found a great source of inspiration from my PLN (Professional or Personalized Learning Network).  A PLN uses social media (Twitter, Periscope, etc.) and technology (smart phones, computers, etc.) to collect, collaborate, communicate and create with colleagues.  Connect with inspiring people at any place and at any time.  In the past six months, my PLN has grown close to 1,500 on Twitter.  I chose Twitter as my conduit for connecting with others worldwide.  Through Twitter chats I am able to learn from others as well as share my ideas on how to improve education.  At times, my fellow educators will share a post that either supports or builds upon what’s simmering in my mind.   My PLN is definitely one of my go to places for inspiration.  If you haven’t connected, setup your own PLN or not sure how , here’s a quick how to:

  • Start a Twitter account and connect with other educators..
  • Build a circle of connected educators on Google+.
  • Follow education blogs (read and comment).
  • Follow education chats that are specific to your content area.
  • Join and participate in education groups on other social sites.
  • Accept invitations to collaborate.

After connecting, spend some time a day interacting and collaborating.  How much time depends on each individual’s preference.  Try spending 20 minutes a day connecting with others to start.  If you participate in chats, those usually last an hour.  Participating in three chats a week means three hours a week.  Start slow and build from there.  Good luck building your PLN!

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So what’s my premise here?  By making connections with others we improve our chances of learning much more than we would have alone.   The next time you’re at a conference or workshop, take the time to meet others.  You’ll increase the pool of knowledge synergistically.

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