Monday, March 11, 2013

Chapter 1 -- Defining the Connected Educator

The first chapter defines the "connected educator." After reading this chapter, do you consider yourself a connected educator? If so, how are you connecting with your network? What tools are you using? If you do not consider yourself a connected educator, what did you think of this chapter? What do you think of the idea of becoming a connected educator? At the end of the chapter, Sheryl and Lani shared a couple of ways to get connected with other readers of the book. Feel free to add yourself to the Google Map and view and share resources through Diigo.

29 comments:

  1. For my age 50+ I feel that I am on the road of being a connected educator/leader. I love technology, my students had their own laptops and we used clickers...and having the concept of students/people learn best from one another has always been a philosphy in my classroom. Now I am pushing socratic circles and questioning techniques to my staff in hopes that they become a Co-learner and stop covering curriculum and having students discover it.
    I use email, some facebook (with family only) I have just started twitter in the last few months and dont tweet things ofte, but will retweet things I found that I am passionate about. I like skype and I am a webinar queen... my vision is to be able to make my own webinars and to have my staff collaborate from building to building with a go to meeting, or group skype. But I am not there yet...I need to gain more experience with technology. I signed up for Google Maps this weekend...i stumbled through it and as well as Diigo. I know i will like it more as I play with it. I am a new user of Google Chrome docs/apps..I have a laptop, iPad, iPhone and desktop. I like being connected at all times and texting my children, family, collegues and friends.
    I do have a learner first attitude, and self-reliance/can do spirit...but sometimes I need more hand holding and walking me through it.
    I share what I have learned, but hesitate to share things that are new if I don't feel I have extensive enough knowledge.
    I want to interact with my staff, students and parents using twitter, blogs, and social bookmarking but need to master these new literacies in order to model the 21st century skills and not stumble through it.
    Connected learning is learning in multifacted ways, not just face to face...I am on that road, but my road has a few hills, curves and bumps that I need to manuever.

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  2. OOhhhh... Socratic Circles is something I am eager to see in action. If any of your teachers are doing this, would you consider videotaping them? I want to see this in action.

    I've been on Twitter for years and was the first librarian to publish on Twitter as PD; I had to convince my editor that, yes, Twitter is here to stay :)

    I do not have a Facebook, which amazes my friends. I made a decision early in Facebook's founding that I did not want to do this. I already spend so much time after school and all summer working & learning new technologies; I realized that Facebook would further distract me from being with my girls. And I thought, here is one popular thing that I want to not participate in. I have sometimes regretted this decision.

    I have made many wikis and blogs over the years to collaborate and connect for a specific purpose at a specific time.

    I bought Will Richardson's Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms when it first came out several years ago and worked through that book over one summer. That is the resource that led me to a comfort level with 2.0 technologies. Honestly, The Connected Educator is the same kind of book as Richardson's in that it goes beyond writing what could be done and what the possibilities are to teahing "how to" and "why".... my favorite kind of PD book.

    From the list on page 19, the three characteristics of a Connected Learner that best describe me are:
    * engages in inquiry
    * explores ideas and concepts, rethinks, revises, and continuously repacks and unpacks, resisting urges to finish prematurely (had to learn this last part the hard way!)
    * displays a willingness to experiement with new strategies.

    And I think this list is better than some of the technology-integration rubrics that are starting to pop up.

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    1. I may be able to get you a video of a teacher engaging a class in Socratic circles. I saw one just today at a workshop! I'll contact the presenter and see if she'll send it to me. I'd like to show it to our staff anyway!

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    2. We had staff development on Socratic Questioning early in the school year and since then one of our HS teachers and one 6th grade teacher have taken off with Socratic Circles. I can forward you what I sent to them on how to get started etc...or ask them if they mind me giving you their email address etc... I recorded one of the HS settings but the audio did not turn out well...our 6th grade teacher did record one of her sessions and presented it to the staff, but I was out and have not seen it.

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    3. Would love to see the video and a copy of lesson plans. It would be awesome to skyle with a teacher. I feel sure that just listening to a teacher explain how s/he does this would get me going. I feel that I could learn more from an enthusiastic teacher than from reading about this approach to class discussion. Is it "safe" to give you my email on this blog or could it result in a bunch of spam.

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  3. I make real efforts to be connected, but find that I am going so many different directions that I am not able to learn how to use any of it effectively and well. So no, I am not connected. I signed up for Twitter years ago, but have gotten frustrated with the social sites. I would use it if I knew how to make professional connections. I am a FB user, but again, so much silliness out there that I don't get on my account much.

    I use google docs a lot. I am also a huge fan of goalbookapp.com which helps me collaborate with all of the general education teachers. I started a wiki years ago, used it for about 6 months and haven't touched it since. Recently we were trained on weebly and I would really like to set a few different sites there. I would like to create a sites for parents, teachers and one for our special education program and policy information.

    I have an edmodo account as well, but just have not gotten proficient at finding a good use for it. I have a mac and iPad and use them both, but I am not well connected to other professionals and really want to build a network that will help me grow and put my students in connection globally as well.

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  5. I feel like I have become a very connected educator over the past two years in my current position as Program Manager for the Indiana Online Academy (IOA). I do all of our marketing and professional learning through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked In. I only started tweeting last August (@evolvewithkim) and quickly realized how much I can learn from my PLN. I follow the hashtags #inelearn and #edchat daily. There are so many Indiana educational leaders that I follow as well as national leaders. I recently launched the eDESK website at www.ioaedesk.com as the professional development arm of IOA. We offer professional development workshops, webinars, and onsite professional development. Under the resources tab of eDESK, I also manage a shared Symbaloo, LiveBinder, Bitly, Google doc, and Paper.li site. I just joined Scoop it and am still working on that one. Storify is another resource I am beginning to use more to curate Twitter chats. There are so many ways for us to connect to other educators and I am still learning. I am enjoying my time learning from and connecting to other educators. It's the best part of my job!

    My favorite quote of chapter 1 is, "Becoming a connected, do-it-yourself learner begins with your willingness to be findable, clickable, searchable-on-Google person who shares openly and transparently. From there we can form a connection, a conversation, a relationship and begin to collaborate." (p. 11)

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  6. Since I did not participate last week, I will introduce myself now-I am Carol Gardiner from Richland Bean Blossom CSC. I am excited to learn from each of you discussing how to stay connected as an educator. The tools I use to connect include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, GoogleDocs, FlipBook, TweetDeck, HootSuite, and DropBox. I have used LinkedIN and Edmodo. I would like to learn more about Storify and Scoop it .

    The sentence in the chapter that encourages me is "As educators grow into connected learners, they not only start to ask more critical questions of each other related to practice, but they also begin to actively listen and closely attend to varied perspectives that may help the community of learners move forward."

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  7. Being a connected educator is the ONLY way I can keep up with the mounds of information that I need on a daily basis. I start my day with my Blackberry in hand (it’s my alarm clock) and check email, Twitter, Times online (newspaper), weather, and Facebook. Twitter is my favorite primary quick source for Professional Development ideas and inspirations, along with updates on many trends and events. I mark many Tweets as favorites that I go back to for follow up. Pinterest, Learning Connection, Google Docs, MapQuest, and IDOE are just a few of the additional as-needed tools I turn to on my computer at school when I am searching for something specific. My Kindle provides me with a walking library of the professional books that used to be bought and shelved and forgotten. My iPod keeps great reference tools like the Common Core standards at my fingertips.
    Although all of this information is at hand, Chapter 1 reminded me that it's not just having the information that's important...it's what we do with it. I appreciated the distinction regarding the difference between cooperative learning and collaboration. Collaboration is such a powerful process. I have a responsibility as an educator to stay connected in order to be ready to be a contributing member of any collaboration situation that I’m part of.
    I did put myself on the map and I did sign up for Diigo.com and I can’t wait to explore that further this week!

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  8. I do consider myself a connected educator in at least a two prong model (Figure 2.2 in the eBook is the three-pronged approach.) I'm currently missing my face-to-face Local Community but that happens given the context of my work. When I was still in the schools, that local community prong was the strongest. Now I tend to rely on my Global Network-Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn and my Bounded Communities--#INeLearn (our Indiana PLN on Twitter) and #maltrocks (my alumni group from Pepperdine's Masters of Learning Technologies program).

    I use a lot (perhaps that should be in all caps) A LOT of social media for sharing my learning/thinking. Both personally and professionally, I use FB and Pinterest. And I bookmark to several Diigo communities/groups; including https://groups.diigo.com/group/ine_learn.



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  9. I would consider myself a connected educator in training. I am signed up to attend many trainings that is being put on by our Tech. Department. I am very anxious and excited to learn the new technology that is available. I believe it will be very useful in the classroom, and my life in general. As far as communication I use e-mail and text. I do have some reservations about Facebook and have not started one. I have been on my husbands and kids. My goal is to be more proficent in the technolgy field by the end of the school year.

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  10. I consider myself to be a connected professional development provider. I use Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Pinterest, Symbaloo, LiveBinders, and many others to keep connected and to keep informed! The quote "Every time I go to school, I have to power down," really struck a cord with me as that is what happens to my senior daughter every time she steps into her school. They are not allowed to use any mobile technology devices nor do they use any technology during their school day. Her exposure to technology has been when she gets to do a PowerPoint presentation. As a "techie" myself, this really bothers me. She has tried to be a crusader and introduced a few teachers to the magic of Quizlet. While they find it very helpful and a great way to study, unfortunately they can not let students study this way because of their policy on technology.

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    1. Oh, Sandy! I am very sad to read that your daughter's school has this policy. I guess I have been so connected with the very large community of schools who are already 1:1 or becoming so and transitioning from print to digital that I was shocked to hear there are still schools that have a no-technology policy! I have certainly seen schools at every point in the journey to technology integration, but to absolutely forbid it is really going to disadvantage the students. :(

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  11. I consider myself a connected educator. Twitter is my main source of information although I do use others sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Diigo. The book states that connected learners have a do-it-yourself mentality which signals a shift toward a learner first attitude. After reading the comments, I believe our group fits this description.

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  12. I am most definitely a connected educator. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I might be a little TOO connected. I could easily fill my entire day with Tweets, Pins, Pearls, blogs, webinars, chats... (the list goes on and on) in both the sharing and receiving of professional learning. When I'm not in the schools meeting with teachers and have a day that I'm working at my desk, I actually set a rotating timer that gives me 10 minutes of social media time (professionally) for every hour I spend doing work for my own district. I guess I just enjoy it enough and gain so much from it that I have to set those limits for myself or I wouldn't get all my job requirements accomplished!

    The book hooked me right away with my favorite quote being very early in the chapter. It was from Cisco's description of the world we live in today. "Welcome, welcome to a brand-new day. A new way of getting things done.… Where people subscribe to people, not magazines." I love that. Today, we subscribe to PEOPLE. That's awesome.

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    1. One P.S. thought... Although I am very connected now, it has only been in the last 18 months or so that I have really become so. I feel like my PLN has exploded in that time. Prior to that, I was a huge user of technology but not nearly as well connected to other educators.

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  13. I would consider myself a connected educator. (However, I couldn't successfully add myself to the Google Map.) I spend quite a bit of time scouring for resources. I have a number of blogs that I have an RSS feed to remind me of updates. I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter, Pinterest, and Scoop.it both collecting and sharing resources that I come across. To better communicate to my staff, I blog on a regular basis about various tools on the iPod, iPad, and PC that could be of use.
    I really enjoyed reading the first chapter. It was funny because I just had a conversation yesterday with a teacher about sharing. She had reservations about sharing how she uses Pinterest as a teaching resource. I had to explain that if people do not share, there would be no Pinterest.
    I hope to learn how to better meet the needs of my teachers through this study. It has had numerous good reminders of what it means to collaborate.

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  14. This chapter overwhelmed me- starting with the example of Susan, the connected educator, and what her day looked like. Where is her family, her husband, her church, her clubs, her extra curricular activities, etc.? How does she find time to grade papers and projects, participate in school events, let alone have a bubble bath and read a book for fun? PHEW- now I feel better having gotten that off my chest (yes, I realize it's just a fictional example and no one teacher is expected to do it all- sorry, I teach middle school and Spring Break is in 2 more days so I'm a little sarcastic and slap-happy). I absolutely love this book. I do feel like a connected educator- though I found a few things I'd love to explore when I have more time (especially being more connected internationally and with other teachers and with my students). I never really think about my PLN, though I connect with teachers on Facebook, with family members who are teachers, at conferences, through a couple of blogs like this, and by using resources from around the world (I tried TWITTER- too overwhelming at this point in my life to keep up with). I am blessed to teach in a school where all students have laptops and I also have a Kindle and an Ipad. I am using technology daily to teach, always finding new and better ways to teach an old lesson, and my daughter's ballet moms would tell you I'm always on one piece of technology or another during her ballet class, doing something for school. I really think teachers in my school could learn SO much from being not just connect to the technology but connected to each other- I love TeachersPayTeachers because it sparks my imagination (I am overwhelmed by Pinterest too, lol- maybe this summer) and I get tons of great ideas and even resources from Facebook sharing. I already have gained a couple of great ideas from this blog. Not many social studies teachers seem to be networking around the state as I would like to see and work with though. My favorite new idea from the chapter involves my students- I'd love to teach them more APPROPRIATE ways to develop an educational digital footprint and how to subscribe to people as part of taking charge of their own learning.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. Just answering emails can sometimes take forever. I have often wondered what my mother would think. Her network was the neighbors! When I think of that, I get inspired. :)

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  15. I have been using the Internet for almost 20 Years. My first experience with collaboration came when I joined a list serve of educators studying The Inferno by Dante. It was incredible to do a close reading, canto by canto, with scholars. I was a consumer most of the time and they were mentors to me. They were college professors engaged in collaboration and I was a new high school teacher looking for help in how to understand and teach the classic to high school students. At that time I also devoured information from the Internet. Google was not the universal search engine at the time—Yahoo and Alta Vista ruled. I somehow managed to email the director of the Uffizi Art Museum in Florence, Italy. He sent information I was able to use in class. My students and I could not believe that we were able to exchange several emails with the director of the Uffizi. It was a learning experience for them as well as me; because of course I shared the emails with them.
    Living in the Northwest corner of the state it is easy to feel unconnected to what is going on in the state. When I attended my first ICE Conference in Indianapolis, I was able to connect to what others in the state were doing for the first time. Workshops and concurrent sessions run by teachers sharing the ways they impacted learning through technology, along with keynote speakers like Bernie Dodge were an incredible opportunity to learn. I looked forward to attending this conference and eventually was a presenter.
    Four years ago I opened a Twitter account so that I could get the tweets from ISTE. I talked friends and family members into getting accounts in order to practice on them before I tried it out as a vehicle for professional development. I wanted to do what ISTE was doing. I became alarmed when I started getting requests from people to follow me. I was in Ireland and tweeting about what I was seeing and doing. I got a lot of requests and it became uncomfortable for me because I was not ready to be that transparent.
    Today I get RSS feeds delivered to my Outlook account. Still an avid Internet researcher, although I do miss the old days when there was no advertisements. I am connected to colleagues in the state through the Learning Connection and eLearning. I use Evernote, Scoop.it. dropbox, and search Live Binders and Pinterest. I have a Twitter account and follow tweets. I have a Face Book page and will be helping our district’s Food Services set up both a Face Book page and a Twitter account. I am connected but there are always new, easier, and faster ways. I am eager to learn.

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  16. I can say that when I was in the classroom I was connected via email. That connection, however, was only to teachers in my area with similar interests/concerns. Now that I am an eLearning Coach being connected is an essential skill. I use Twitter to find resources to share with my teachers and to find solutions to issues that people have brought to me. I am beginning to get my feet wet with Google+ and Pinterest after having used several other similar services.

    My favorite way of staying connected, however, is through RSS feeds, something I have followed for years using Google Reader. I now receive around 800-1000 articles a day most of which I just browse the headlines of. Within this torrent of information, however, I will find small pieces of great ideas and terrific web tools that I can share.

    This is the most important thing, I think, to realize about being connected to these large streams of information. You will never be able to absorb it all. One must learn to filter information and accept the fact that things are going to be missed, and this is okay. Especially for me this is difficult to come to grips with. I know I can't read every tweet of everyone I subscribe to, but somewhere in my brain I just can't let go of the idea that right now a great tool or piece of information is rushing past me, and i'm missing it. And that's okay.

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    1. OK, I need to find out more about this RSS feed. And maybe I'm not getting the whole Twitter thing- it just seems unmanageable for me, so if someone would like to teach me more and perusuade me during this book group, feel free to mentor me about it. I feel like I am SO far ahead of most teachers in my school when it comes to connectedness, and I feel lonely and lost at times but I'm always willing to move forward and learn and grow and stretch. Sounds like both tools can be a really great resource if you know what to do with them and how to manage!

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  17. Over the past year, I have made it my goal to become a “connected” educator. Initially I implemented the use of social media, specifically Twitter to keep in constant communication with the parents of my first graders. I posted announcements, pictures, and videos so that families could peek into our classroom each day. In addition I followed other teachers in my school system and other systems in my area to get ideas of what they were doing in their classrooms. It has been within the past 6 months however that I have discovered what a valuable professional development tool Twitter can be. I have connected from educational leaders from all over the country. Through their posts, I have gained valuable knowledge about classroom instructional practices, technology use, and school leadership. While I love to follow, I have not yet learned to participate in chats and the like. It all seems very overwhelming, with so many groups discussion options. At this point I am pretty much a hash tag stalker! Ha Ha.
    In addition to Twitter, I subscribe to several blogs, mainly to keep up with ideas for technology integration. My classroom is 2:1 with iPads at this time, and I hope to have a 1:1 scenario in the near future. I believe that teaching the children to connect with others is very valuable to the learning process. My students have blog buddies from a first grade class in northern Indiana and we are Face Time Friends with older students in our area, as well as first grade students in Utah.
    Overall I feel like I am on the right track, but I know that I have a lot more to learn.

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  18. I would characterize myself as semi-connected. In fact, it is this "semi-connected" status which made me want to join this group. As I mentioned last week, I am no longer in the physical classroom but I do teach one class for IOA. I use a number of the connections others have mentioned on a personal basis, to keep up with ideas in education and other matters of interest to me. I watched with interest and delight as FB users helped Ritz to win the election. In addition, my sister authors The Indiana Law Blog and she is constantly pushing me to utilize new technologies. For example, she was instrumental in my understanding of the importance of RSS feeds, blogs, and the idea that Twitter is much more than "Here I am at the ice cream shop" or "Juliet H. is no longer involved with Ryan S." I was delighted when I started reading this book and I found the ideas in this chapter (and the two activities) were exactly what I was looking for: When friends with children complain to me (and they do) about the absurdity of their child being expected to use (insert any technology from cell phones to whatever here) in the classroom, I want to be able to explain to them why it is a good thing and a logical extension to the activities in the classroom. That is my goal.

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  19. Compared to my life 24 months ago, I am very connected! Compared to some of you in this book study... well... let's just say I've jotted down a few new ideas in week one! My best "get" in the last year has been the use of Hootsuite to filter Twitter. Without it I would be drinking from the proverbial fire hose. I follow a few blogs and have interest in Pinterest. Sadly, most of what I see friends posting just makes me hungry. I wish there was Pinterest filter setting for when I'm trying to diet. I am impressed with a few of my teachers that are pinning things like "inspirational reading quotes", etc.

    Back to Twitter, I feel that I have NEVER learned more than I'm learning now. I enjoy checking in on streams when I'm waiting in line at the grocery store and those other odd times (not driving!) when I have a tiny bit of down time. I love to share what I find with my staff (They thought I was a genius all of a sudden until we trained them on Twitter. Now, not so much.)

    Our corporation has been in a real PR push this last year... charter challenge and lots of nearby school options. I'm now a Facebook Principal. We put up school news and pics of engaged learners all the time. Not sure what the readership of our local paper has been (a nice weekly that takes 2 months to print an article and then prints it twice on one page) but I know we get TONS of positive feedback from our parents on FB. I appreciate being able to "take down the walls" and show our community/followers the interesting things our teachers are doing with kids.

    So back to question number 1- I am connected... and just getting started!!

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  20. Yes, I am connected educator. I use several social media tools to stay connected and to contribute when possible. My favorite tools include Twitter, Pinterest, Diigo, Youtube, Facebook, and RSS feeds. I also routinely create blog articles for a WordPress site and the RCS (weRrichmond.com) Web site. I find it very helpful to follow key "players" in the areas of my work and social interests, including EdTech, eLearning, technology, and (my personal side) sports, particularly using Twitter.

    Our school corporation has a very active Facebook, Twitter, and web site areas, which enables us to communicate quickly and reliably with our students, staff, parents, and community members. We use online survey tools for feedback from teachers, staff, parents, and community.

    An exciting part of being part of the technology department is when we can show others (staff, students, teachers, etc.) ways to incorporate technical tools into their daily lives to increase productivity, collaboration, and communication.

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  21. Hi, I feel I am connected in my own environment. I need to expand my connectivity to a more global environment. I teach K-4 technology and we use Skype, blogs, Glogs, Voki, etc. but we need to actually interact and correspond globally. I personally use Pinterest, Moodle, Facebook, etc to stay connected, but I need to explore even more social media.

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  22. I feel as though I am a connected educator. I am very lucky to work in a district where I have a strong group of peers that I learn from daily. My face-to-face PLC is one of my greatest assets when it comes to continual growth.

    As a Virtual Education Specialist, of course I work hard to stay digitally connected, as well. It's amazing the types of relationships I have been able to build online with people that I have never officially met! Like many have mentioned, I use several different tools. Twitter is probably the number one tool in my opinion for staying connected to other teachers, professionals, authors, etc. I follow #INeLearn, #IOLchat (great for virtual educators), and various other hashtags. I enjoy participating in weekly Twitter chats when I get the chance.

    In addition to Twitter, I stay connected via a blog feed. Now that Google Reader is leaving, I am searching for another RSS tool (so any suggestions are welcome... Feedly?). The best ones I have sent to my email address using Blogtrottr. Sometimes it takes more than 144 characters to get a point across, and I enjoy reading the work of others.

    Participation in learning environments is important. I use My Big Campus within my district to connect with our teachers. I am also involved in various Google Plus Groups (like EduMaker for instance) and Ning groups (Classroom 2.0 is a good one to check out). I am new to Second Life, but that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, as well. I participate in the ISTE SIGVE events there and also crash the meetings of a Virginia tech group, too. :)

    Let's see, what else.... Skype, Pinterest, listservs for HECC, ICE, ISTE Sigs... The list goes on. There are SO many ways to get connected. I'm not sure that I'd advocate for everyone to go as overboard as I do when it comes to social media, but there is definitely a little something for everyone out there.

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