This month, I kicked off my Educator-in-Residency here at ACTE Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. My goal is to explore workforce development issues and strategic partnerships to benefit CTE and ACTE members as a whole. While purely coincidental, October also happens to be Connected Educator Month. Curious about how other educators develop connectedness, I decided to check things out atwww.connectededucators.org.
When I entered the site and saw hundreds of relevant professional development offerings, I felt like a kid in the candy store. (Really, I did!) Except, unlike a candy store, Connected Educator online offerings are free. You can sample webinars, participate in digital contests and explore new teaching tools. (I discovered some time-saving technology tips and a few more apps to try.) You can learn about digital citizenship, animation and "teacherpreneurs." The topics are vast and opportunities for collaboration endless. That's because Connected Educator Month is really a kick-off, an invitation to use digital learning to customize professional development that meets your needs throughout the school year. To build your personal learning network, try out the Connected Educator matchmaking site atedconnectr.connectededucators.org. Answering three simple questions can get you connected and collaborating with educators who share your interests. This is particularly important for CTE professionals given that many of us are "singletons." Sometimes being the only teacher in the building teaching specific courses can cause isolation.
After you've had a chance to check out Connected Educator offerings and follow the conversation on Twitter using the #CE13 hashtag, why not share your tricks of the trade with ACTE colleagues. We'd love to hear from you. Send your blog submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Connected Educators is an initiative of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and is conducted by the American Institutes for Research in collaboration with several partner organizations and a technical working group. Numerous other organizations and individuals have contributed to its success as organizers and participating organizations in Connected Educator Month.
Kristina Gehrki is an ACTE Educator-in-Residence. Learn more about this unique program.