Monday, August 13, 2012

Six Great Topic Forums from Connected Educator Month

I have to say, I've been really appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the organization of Connected Educator Month, and while the kickoff days and preparation for the virtual Learning 2.0 Conference (next week!) have consumed a lot of my attention, I want to make sure you don't miss out on the six open forum discussions where you can ask questions or weigh in on some really great topics.

Connected Education and the First Six Weeks of School

Immediate Questions: 
  • What are the key to-dos to get 2012–13 off to a great start in the classroom, and how can educators stay on top of and successfully manage all the competing demands involved? How can being connected help?
  • What is your favorite first day activity, and why? Are there certain things that should be done or not done on the first day of school? What is mission critical?
  • What are your 3 must have's in the back to school letter?
  • What are some goals for you, as an educator, for the first 6 weeks of this school year? How can connecting with other educators help you achieve them?
The Big Picture: How can teachers use online communities and networks to help with this most critical period of the new school year for which we’re all planning? How can communities and networks best adapt to changing needs of educators throughout the year?

Beyond Top-Down: Distributed Leadership & Teacher-Led Change

Immediate Questions: 
  • What are the ways educators can use networks and online communities to effect change in their school, their district, and their profession in the coming school year and beyond?
  • How can we help administrators, board members, parents, and others recognize the value of educators being connected?
  • How can we help non-connected educators to become more connected?
  • How important is is that we start formally recognizing educators' informal learning, and do you have ideas about how we could do that?
  • What digital literacies do you see as being critical for educators today?
  • How significantly do you think that the technologies of the Internet have impacted peer professional development?
The Big Picture: How can grassroots networks and distributed leadership shape the future of education? How can decision makers at all levels be informed by and be responsive to expertise these networks enact?

It’s Personal – Personalized Learning for Students and Educators

Immediate Questions: 
  • What practical steps can educators take to personalize learning for their students in 2012–13, and how can technology facilitate this?
  • What does personalized or personal learning mean to you?
  • How do you see teachers' roles changing?
  • Where are you in the process of personalizing learning?
  • Where are the conversations, models, and examples of personalizing learning? Please share.
The Big Picture: How close are we to being able to realize the dream of personalized, differentiated, passion-based learning for educators and students, and what still has to happen to make this fully real?

Knocking On The Door: New Technologies & Connected Education

Immediate Questions: 
  • How can educators best take advantage of big or emerging technological trends (for example, mobile or gaming) in their classrooms this year?
  • What new technologies hold the most promise for enhancing "Connected Education?"
  • What are the upsides and downsides to commercial educational products?
  • Do we focus too much on the "scale" and not enough on the "social" when thinking about educational innovation from the Web?
  • Is there an easy way to describe the interplay between technology and pedagogy?
  • Are digital technologies different than previous technologies?
The Big Picture: What innovations and technologies being explored and leveraged outside education today have the greatest potential to be repurposed or extended to create educational value?

Professional Learning

Immediate Questions: 
  • What steps should every educator consider taking to become more connected, and what are the key resources that can help?
  • How has the role of the organization or leader charged with providing professional development shifted?
  • What and where are the best (social) opportunities for educators to work on and learn for their practice in the coming year?
  • In this time of 21st learning, what is the educator’s responsibility in seeking out and participating in professional development?
  • Can Twitter, blogs, webinars and such replace inservices and conference as a means to professional learning? Is there such a thing as DIY PD?
  • As many states implement the common core, how can teachers virtual learning networks support implementation and bring the student voice into curriculum planning and pedagogy?
The Big Picture: The traditional model of professional development is based on the educational organization identifying and offering professional development opportunities.  In this time of 21st learning, what is the educator’s responsibility in seeking out and participating in professional development?

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Immediate Questions:
  • How should educators’ investment in learning to improve their performance and enrich the profession be supported, incentivized, documented, and recognized? 
  • Does your school or district offer any formal recognition or credit for participated in connected learning activities (communities of practice, Twitter, webinars, etc.)?
  • What ideas do you have for better, more authentic ways to issue credit for professional learning?
  • Describe any personal experience you have had with Virtual Learning Communities and what aspects of those collaborations that you found effective.
  • What kind of formal credit for PD is most useful to you in your career? 
The Big Picture: More broadly, how can educators be more fully recognized and rewarded for what we contribute to the well-being of society?

Have fun!

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