As teachers, it can feel overwhelming to think about being constantly connected. With all the hats you have to wear, adding additional ones can seem just about impossible. But being connected can improve the classroom experience for both students and teachers.
Connected teachers also have a unique edge in the classroom when it comes to creativity and student engagement. If you haven’t become a connected teacher already, now is a great time to begin moving in that direction. Here are a few tips on finding your connection as a teacher.
Before you jump in to becoming connected, define what a connected teacher is. And because of the constant evolution, there’s some room for creativity.
You can define what connected means to you and build on that. Just keep in mind that depending on your digital acumen, your definition of connected could be different from another teacher.
If you’re just beginning your journey as a connected teacher, the first rule of thumb is to take on the role of a learner. If you begin as a connected learner, you will be on your way to defining your role as a connected teacher. And, of course, don’t be afraid to actually learn from your students!
There are many elements to being connected. With the vast amount of educational technology, learning platforms, assessment software, online content and even web-based activities, your web of connection can quickly spiral out of control.
Take some time to understand the most important factors and major updates in the digital world. As a connected teacher, it’s important to understand these shifts so you are able to join the conversation and encourage your students to do so as well.
Once you define a connected educator and understand what’s going on in the world of being connected, your next step is to apply it to your job as an educator. For instance, start working it into your curriculum by using class blogs and web pages.
Don’t just stop with your classroom and your students—apply it to yourself, too. Start your own blog even if you make a simple monthly posting commitment. Another way to apply what you’re learning is to to join social networks. You don’t have to become an addict and post every minute of the day, but it isn’t a bad idea to begin participating in relevant conversations. Social networks are a great way to stay updated on what’s happening, and can help you relate better to your students.
As you learn and grow, you can make adjustments to how you use technology inside and outside of the classroom. For instance, maybe you begin with a class discussion board to ease students into the idea of interacting online with each other and you. Once they are comfortable, you might shift to vlogging where students can create video posts.
Initially, becoming a connected educator might seem like a lot to take on, but once you get into the habit of actually being connected, you will certainly see the benefits. If you’re not totally sold on the idea, start out slow and ease your way into it.