August 2012 is Connected Educator Month, an effort by the U.S. Department of Education to encourage teachers and school administrators across the country to participate in online learning communities and networks to enhance their professional development.
AIR is supporting the month-long endeavor by coordinating more than 250 events, including online forums, webinars, blog discussions, guided tours of online platforms, online chats, podcasts and other interactive options that explore online learning issues. More than 100 organizations – ranging from the American School Counselor Association and Cisco to the National Association of Elementary School Principals and Discovery Education – are participating.
“Online communities of practice and personal learning networks are grassroots phenomena. Through them, educators are taking charge of their professional learning, and research suggests the value is real and wide ranging,” says Dr. Darren Cambridge, who is directing AIR’s work.
Connected Educator Month is part of the Office of Educational Technology’s Connected Educators initiative, which is supporting informal, online, social and professional learning for educators by conducting research, hosting communities, and working with the field. The initiative is being coordinated by AIR with key support from its partners, including the Consortium for School Networking, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Forum One Communications, Grunwald Associates LCC, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association, in collaboration with a wide range of educational organizations and grassroots networks.
More information about events and activities can be found on the project’s website or on Twitter through the Connected Educators initiative feed, @edcocp, and the #ce12 hashtag. Projects at AIR participating in CEM include:
- Everyone at the Table: Engaging Teachers in Evaluation Reform (August 20). This webinar about the Everyone at the Table online resource center, administered by AIR and Public Agenda, will show how you can access short discussion starter videos, powerpoint templates, focus group style dialogue prompts, and a discussion moderator's guides, all aimed at making teachers' voices heard when evaluation policies are decided.
- CALPRO: Electronic Community of Practice and Virtual Workrooms for Adult Educators (August 28). Find out how the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO), administered by AIR, is harnessing social media and other Web 2.0 resources to support the professional learning of adult educators. In this tour, Deputy Director Catherine Green will present an overview of CALPRO’s electronic Community of Practice and complementary Virtual Workrooms on topics such as multilevel ESL instruction, workforce readiness, and best practices in Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction. Participants will brainstorm how this model of professional learning for educators might be adapted for use in their contexts.
- National High School Center's High School Matters Blog Series on CEM (ongoing). In the upcoming weeks, the National High School Center, based at AIR, will post several blogs that examine Connected Educator Month (CEM) issues as they relate to its free, online communities of practice (CoPs) – Early Warning Systems, College and Career Readiness, and High School Tiered Interventions. Participants are invited to submit questions and comments to the CoPs before, during and after the blogs go live, and share challenges and strategies for dealing with these issues with others in the communities.