Connected Educator Month 2014 ThemesAs part of our ongoing efforts to distribute ownership of Connected Educator Month to the community, we opened up the theme nomination and voting process for the first time, and hundreds of education organizations and their representatives cast ballots.

As a result, this year’s celebration will focus on the following themes who will be led by the organizations listed below.

Blended Learning

Get involved with this theme including weekly tweetups & free webinars

Led by CUEBlended learning, when implemented effectively, can transform teaching and result in more engaged learning. Throughout October, panels of blended learning experts will discuss what it takes to become a blended learning teacher and a blended learning school. Key elements for implementation, tools for teaching, leadership support systems, how to personalize learning for each student, and applying blended learning principles to common core implementation will all be shared. Join the weekly webinar/panels, Tweet Ups or discussions to enhance and share your blended learning knowledge as a classroom teacher, a school or district administrator, or interested educator. Together we can enhance all of our learning about blended learning leader and ultimately, better understand how to impact greater student achievement.

Collaboration & Capacity Building

Get involved with this theme including new frontiers on assessment “hot seats”, national day of writing, and more

Led by the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Center for Literacy EducationCollaboration and capacity building has emerged as an important theme over the last two years of Connected Educator Month’s celebration. Collaboration has been a common topic of discussion, and at least a third of activities have been collaboratively sponsored. Last year, contributors emphasized the importance of moving beyond “random acts of connection” to focus on educators collaborating to advance the profession and deepen student learning.

To get results, collaboration needs to take the form of focused, purposeful shared inquiry that research demonstrates has clear links to student learning. NCLE encourages activities during Connected Educator Month 2014 focused on collaboration and capacity building to emphasize this rigorous and sustained approach. NCLE’s capacity building framework is one resource for thinking through this approach.

Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Global Education

Many events and activities are on the CEM calendar related to this theme, with more to come.

Led by Kutztown University & KinderchatDiversity, Inclusiveness and Global Education are timely topics for discussion in 2014. Currently, connectedness and economic trends are eroding national boundaries into what is often referred to as the “global village,” bending cultural and gender barriers typical in the workplace and the classroom. Concurrently, international crises in energy renewal and climate change, coupled with a talent shortage in these crucial areas, are demanding fresh talent for science and technology innovation. Thus, researchers, teachers, and employers are keenly aware of the need for diversity, inclusiveness and global education of typically underrepresented populations. However, even in countries with diverse workforces and student bodies, members of the established dominant groups tend to have more influence and fewer barriers to advancement (2008). This needs to change, and discussions taking place in this theme hope to address this issue, among others, such as barriers to inclusiveness and innovative educational practices for global education.

During Connected Educators Month 2014, scholars in Africana studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Special Education will discuss this important theme and the benefits derived from including diverse populations from those typically underrepresented. Furthermore, educators and proponents of Global Education will discuss their ideas to transform learning by broadening participation in innovative educational communities inclusive of all world citizens as students.

Some questions for discussion: What is the most and effective and efficient way to include diverse world citizens in education that may benefit them intellectually, physically and economically? How can we ensure including diverse, underrepresented populations in science and technology innovation, namely but not limited to, Hispanics and women in the US?

Educator Professional Development & Learning

Get involved with this theme including free webinars, free publications, Twitter chats, resources, events and more

Led by the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD)Increased educator connectedness has multiplied professional development opportunities and made training, insights, and feedback more accessible. During Connected Educator Month 2014, educator professional development and learning resources will connect educators to new and exciting ways to transform their practice, provide actionable insights from experts, and open up constructive discussion forums. The resources will enable educators to increase their effectiveness and provide the tools to lead their peers and transform schools.

ASCD believes that effective professional development must be customized to the individual needs of a school or educator and focused on building professional capacity. Importantly, professional learning must be job-embedded – included in each educator’s day-to-day professional life – rather than limited to a few designated inservice days. The goal of education is to prepare our students for a successful future and educators who are fully prepared for success is the first step toward that goal.

Leadership For Change

Get involved with this theme including free webinars, free publications, Twitter chats, resources, events and more

Led by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)Leading in times of change can be challenging, but also filled with exciting new opportunities. Over the course of the month, we’ll hear from education leaders, industry advocates and policy makers on strategies for navigating change as we all learn together in an increasingly connected world. We invite your thoughts on what it means to be a connected leader. Why is it important to connect to other leaders? How is connected leadership impacting student achievement? And, what are the best basic steps leaders can take today to become more connected? We invite all leaders-administrative, teacher leaders, curriculum coaches, tech coaches, school and district-based, to join the conversation.

Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement

Get involved with this theme including webinars, Edcamps, resources and more

Led by Educator Innovator, powered by the National Writing Project with support from the MacArthur Foundation/Connected Learning Alliance: Powerful learning occurs when youth, driven by their own interests, are supported in being creators and not just consumers of knowledge. In this theme, we focus on how we can create opportunities for all youth to be agents in their own learning. We will draw inspiration from the “Maker Movement” as well as use Connected Learning principles to support the sharing of ideas and strategies related to this notion of youth agency throughout October and beyond.

Whole Community Engagement (Parents, Teachers, Students, Community Members)

Many events and activities are on the CEM calendar related to this theme, with more to come.

Led by Metropolitan Nashville Public SchoolsAs “connected educator” becomes part of the lexicon, the connected educator movement has begun to move from generating awareness to effecting change.  In education, it’s increasingly understood that effecting change means involving all stakeholders, understanding their needs and perspective, incorporating their knowledge and insights, and working collaboratively to generate and implement solutions for each individual child and for the school community writ large.

Online communities and networks have unique capabilities to help overcome the barriers to bringing students, parents, educators, and other community members together to solve problems, and provide a vehicle during Connected Educator Month to discuss the larger issues involved.  It’s a topic of high interest to many top Connected Educator Month participating organizations, including AFT, ASCD, National PTA, NASSP, Scholastic, and more. Follow MNPS Learning Tech on Twitter.

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