This post was co-written with Todd Nesloney. You can find it on his blog here.
“Connected Educator." Two words that have changed both of our lives. Two words that truly define who we’ve become and where we are going as educators.
They are also two words that oftentimes make very little sense to those who aren’t drinking the “Kool-Aid” of connecting on social media. Todd often describes it as similar to visiting Disney World. You just don’t get it until you’ve been there.
Both of our lives have been drastically affected, personally and professionally, since we chose to get connected. Besides the typical amount of learning and sharing that takes place, when you choose to connect with other educators online you also find individuals who want to be on your team. Who truly want to see you grow and be a part of that growth as well as grow themselves.
Sometimes it’s so easy to stay behind the walls of our campus and never venture out. It’s not until we step outside of those walls that we hear perspectives and ideas that otherwise, we would have never heard.
We think of the way that both of us met. Todd was presenting at a conference and Brent ended up attending one of his sessions on the flipped class. Through later connecting on social media to further the conversation, and then again face to face at a few edcamps, we’ve become great friends.
More so than that we’ve been able to connect and learn in ways that so many in our profession are still missing. There are still so many who don’t see the value in social media for professional reasons or who don’t understand or feel the need to connect with others outside of their own campus.
We both often think, what else can we do? How do we get them to “get it”?
In the end, we believe it comes down to actually experiencing it for yourself. As connected educators, we believe it's our job (and yours) to find ways to bring others into this understanding. To not make social media feel like this “exclusive” club that’s hard to break into or be a part of. We have to find those who have yet to drink the Kool-Aid yet and serve it up ice cold, sip by sip. Connect them with our circles, invite them into our conversations, and introduce them to this world that has so profoundly affected our careers, and on a larger scale, our lives.
Our challenge to you is to find (at least) five educators from your campus who are not connected and get them connected. So what are you waiting for? Get your Dixie cups, stir up some Kool-Aid, and start passing it out for free.
Brent Clarkson, M.Ed.