How Being a Connected Educator Works

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As I close in on my first full year of being a “connected educator” I think about how I managed to be successful.  I am atypical in that I fearlessly jumped in and started sharing with everyone.  Now that I have been in the arena for a while longer, I feel like I have learned some very important things about being a connected educator.  Here are some of my reflections in no specific order:

– You can’t see/do EVERYTHING.  I am among the many connected educators with Yes disease.  I say yes to nearly every project, request for information and challenge.  It took me a while to realize I cannot do it all.  I need to be more selective and decide what is most important to me in order to make sure I spend my limited time wisely.

– It’s ok to disagree! Some of the best conversations and the most interesting people I follow are people with whom I generally disagree.

– This is perhaps my most important lesson of all: You need to find your people.  Being connected isn’t about building a PLN like a house, it is more like building a home.  Your PLN is about the relationships.  It is really about how and not who.  It is about how you develop the relationships with your PLN, not who you add.  If you are not creating meaningful relationships then things like twitter become overwhelming and fail to meet their goal.

You cannot just build up a PLN by adding people who you have seen or know.  You have to engage with them, learn about them not just with them.  That is how you get the most out of PLNs.

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2 thoughts on “How Being a Connected Educator Works

  1. bhwilkoff

    This is probably one of the best statements made about building a PLN that I have heard in years:

    “This is perhaps my most important lesson of all: You need to find your people. Being connected isn’t about building a PLN like a house, it is more like building a home. Your PLN is about the relationships. It is really about how and not who. It is about how you develop the relationships with your PLN, not who you add.”

    I would emphasize the ‘your people’ part of this statement. There are plenty of people on social media, plenty of educators and folks who are doing interesting things. But, ‘your people’, is a whole other animal. Finding the people resonate with you or the people that want to learn with you is so critical to maintaining your sanity within an online space. If it feels like a exercise in broadcasting or argument with the ether, then it is highly unlikely that anything meaningful will come of it.

    I am always intrigued by how someone starts this journey of becoming a connected educator. I would be interested to find out what it was for you that helped you to see the value in spending time on Twitter or writing a blog. What is it about these spaces that is proving so valuable to you? How are you building relationships rather than just ‘adding people’ to your network?

    Thank you for chronicling your journey. We have a lot to learn from folks that are actively engaged in “building their PLN home.”

    P.S. This comment is a part of the #C4C15 project. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/C4C15

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