“What Connected Educators Do Differently” by Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker), Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy) and Jeffrey Zoul (@Jeff_Zoul)was one of the books that I selected for my summer reading. This year, administrators and leads in Superior-Greenstone District School Board were not given assigned reading, but rather were allowed to choose books that supported our unique learning leads. I selected “What Connected Educators Do Differently” because I try to model and promote connectedness across our Board, but I wondered if the book would provide with any greater insights into being a connected educator.
This book reaffirmed in me the importance of being a connected educator. Sometimes we need to hear the messages that we hold to be truths from a variety of sources and again and again. Knowing that we are not alone in our thinking, while learning new perspectives that support our beliefs, can give us the continued strength to keep moving forward.
There were many ideas that resonated with me and I am grateful for the resource to giving me the opportunity to reflect on the core beliefs of being a connected educator.
- No matter what technology you use to connect, the main goal of connecting is the relationships formed. It is these relationships that enhance our current beliefs, challenge our thinking, and support us as we engage others to become connected educators with end goal being what is best for our students. Being a connected educator is not about the technology, but rather the relationships that emerge and strengthen as a result of the technology.
- A virtual PLN is based on trust and support. Our connected PLN can support our thinking and professional risk-taking-sometimes more than our face to face colleagues.
- No one can do it all or know it all. A PLN is vital to ensuring we share our strengths to support ongoing learning with each other so that as a collective we all become stronger educators. Connected educators possess a “giving mindset” (126) and know that sharing is beneficial to all; most specifically for the person doing the sharing! Being a connected educator is not about us as individuals. It is about becoming a better educator/leader to support those we serve in the best way possible.
- Honouring authentic voice does not mean having others implement your ideas. Leadership means truly allowing individuals to take control of their learning and not leading our pre-planned ideas.
- Being a connected educator doesn’t mean being plugged in 24/7. Being a connected educator means knowing when and where to connect and when and where to disconnect. In fact, the ability to disconnect and focus attention elsewhere is key to being an effective connected educator. Being connected 24/7 can compete with our ability to be mindful and in order to be creative, critical leaders and educators, we need to practice mindfulness. By maintaining personal health, balance and face to face relationships, our online relations can flourish.
I wasn’t sure that as a connected educator I would take anything new from “What Connected Educators Do Differently” but I did. This resource would support educators who are on various entry points along the connected continuum. There is learning for everyone in this book. I appreciated that the authors reaffirmed my professional goals, caused me to reflect and enhanced my understanding of my professional assumptions.