October marks an exciting time for educators, where the focus shifts from student to teacher for a brief, yet well-earned, spell of self-indulgence… It’s Connected Educator Month. With over 600 official events and activities, 14 million educators reached through Twitter alone, and 1 million online sources referencing the event last year, it’s quickly reaching foreign shores. Connected Educator Month points us in the direction of the global movement happening across social media platforms that is re-evaluating the role of the teacher and re-emphasising the necessity for collaboration in education. While some remain reluctant or simply unaware, connected educators are single-handedly changing traditional mindsets governing education.
The Six Big Shifts in Education
- Then: Educators mainly worked alone.
- Now: Educators are encouraged to collaborate as much as possible.
Teaching was once considered a lone profession, where responsibility, resources and ideas were kept under wraps. We now see teachers openly sharing advice, ideas, and resources in a collaborative effort to change education for the better.
- Then: Educators connected only through staff meetings and email.
- Now: Educators around the world are connecting every single day in real-time.
While email was once the only means of connecting outside the staff room, educators are now using social media to connect with others all over the world, with the #hashtag playing a key role in their efforts.
- Then: Educators relied primarily on textbooks.
- Now: Educators are continuously sharing resources and forming new ideas.
The textbook was once considered the single most important guide for teaching a class. Now, teachers are discovering new ways to teach, using technology to eliminate the restrictions of the traditional textbook.
4. Professional Development
- Then: Little emphasis was placed on professional development.
- Now: Professional development is considered an essential element of a teaching career.
With technology integration continuously a top priority for schools, educators are being encouraged to up-skill and continue developing professionally. Whether engaging in self-learning or dipping into the vast options available online, educators are now learning more than ever.
5. Technology Integration
- Then: Technology was viewed as a distraction.
- Now: Educators are reimagining technology as a an essential part of pedagogy.
Banning devices from school premises and raising concern over student obsession with technology used to be common practice. Now, we’re seeing educators use technology not only for their own personal and professional development, but for reinventing the learning process.
- Then: Innovative educators were unheard and unseen.
- Now: Innovative educators are, literally, everywhere.
While innovative educators have always been around, there was simply no way to hear or see the incredible things they were doing on a daily basis. Now, innovation in education is being inspired and encouraged around the world through the power of social media.
Fishtree is backing Connected Educator Month 100% because we see the positive impact connected educators are having on our education system. With technology advancing at a faster pace than ever imagined, professional development is more important than ever. Let’s bring Fishtree’s message of ensuring no one gets left behind to educators. This is your month.
About the author:
Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.