The Connected Educators initiative’s mission was to help educators thrive in a connected world. Such environments are envisioned in the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan and are soon to become the norm due to efforts such as ConnectED. Connected Educators pursues this mission through seeking to understand and promote educators learning and collaborating through online communities of practice and social networks. That pursuit combines research, development, and outreach:
- Research – Through studying existing communities and networks, we ask questions such as
- How does participation produce value?
- How can schools and districts as well as individuals benefit?
- What design and facilitation strategies maximize that value?
- How can learning analytics using data generated through participation help improve the use of those strategies?
- Development – Through designing and leading networked learning spaces for educators—such as the CS10K community that supports the National Science Foundation’s efforts to broaden participation in computing careers—we test the results of research in our own practice.
- Outreach – Through Connected Educator Month and project publications, we raise awareness of and engagement in learning and collaboration through communities and networks. Over the last three years, we’ve reached hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of educators.
Connected Educators is an initiative of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and is conducted by the American Institutes for Research in collaboration with several partner organizations and a technical working group. Numerous other organizations and individuals have contributed to its success as organizers and participating organizations in Connected Educator Month.