“While no one expects teachers to be on call constantly, the networked classroom reflects the idea that learning can happen anytime, anywhere.”(Richardson, 2011). Signing up for a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a blog has been the easy part of starting to be a connected educator. The second stage of advancing a professional learning network is to decide who to follow. During my search of connected educators, I noticed that there are two main groups: the First group encompasses current teachers in the classroom and the second group are educators that are out of the classroom. Within those two categories also exist teachers that were or are involved with elementary school and those who are involved with secondary education. Based on the previous criteria, I would like to expand my network with educators that have similar socioeconomic demographics as my district and have had positive results using technology in the classroom. The third stage of being connected is to become a person that shares ideas and not only being a consumer of information. I will explore each one the stages of connectivity.
The first stage of connectivity is to set up an account however it is not easy to decide what type of social media is the best to meet and reach out to people around the world. Facebook does not seem to be an appropriate tool to communicate educational ideas because family members tend to follow you and communicate through this social media that eventually their comments will interfere with your professional career. Linkedin is mainly used to expand your horizon when looking to explore for better job opportunities. Blogs are a perfect way to communicate however not everyone has the time to read all the information from a blog and there are too many bloggers that we need some filter that identifies the one that matters the most in your area of interest. The best way to expand my educational connectivity is on Twitter. Twitter offers the opportunity to send a brief quote of an idea, and if it catches the attention of the reader, then the rest of the topic is a click away that can take you to a deeper reading and learning.
The second stage is to find the appropriate educator to follow, and this is a tedious process of trial and error. Everything starts with a click, and the following step is to wait for tweets to appear to make a conscious decision based on the type of information that people share. The previous process reminds me of the Gold Rush era when gold miners spent days even weeks only to find a nugget of gold. Scrolling up and down looking for something innovative hoping to find something worth reading. We become so addictive to it that we check the twitter app every minute hoping and expecting not to miss the latest news in education. Another great distraction in Twitter is the risk of following someone that mixes politics and other noneducational-related topics in their tweets and it is up to you to decide to ignore those messages or to unfollow them.
The third stage is moving from being a consumer and reader of information to become a creator and innovator of technology in and outside the classroom. It is a complete rebuilt of the way we think. Our mind has to be changed and redirected on the things we say and how we say it. What I love about tweeting is that I force my mind to think outside the box.