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As we enter the month of September and the doors swing open for most schools in the United States a new year of learning opportunities begins for all in education.  We must focus on the standard educational tasks at hand which include teaching, learning, motivating, collaborating and leading. These are part of our educational foundation. However, for some of us we have added to that foundation by becoming CONNECTED EDUCATORS through social media for education.

Being a connected educator must be a constant focus for all of us who see the value and benefit of using social media for education. As a result, I suggest we move from a connected educator month to a connected educator year. Here are 12 ways to make this the school year of connected educators.

September: Talk to fellow educators about the value of social media and what you learned this summer by using it. Show them an example or two to create some interest.

October: Demonstrate to one or more educators how to get started. Pick any social media app that you feel comfortable with and show how it has connected you to a world of professionals educators.

November: Give a five minute social media presentation to educators in a faculty or department meeting. Ask your PLN to participate so the connections are seen as real and timely.

December: Help a colleague start a Twitter account and tweet his/her presence out to your followers so his/her PLN can start to grow. Also, provide the names of a few educators on Twitter that you find to be valuable members of your PLN.

January: Introduce the concept of hash tags and chat groups to a small group of interested educators. Show them how hash tags and chat groups help focus educators’ learning. Suggest they follow #edchat, #ptchat, #ntchat, #satchat, your state or country hash tag or any other hash tag you follow.

February: Set up a time before or after school to demonstrate a new educational app that you learned about through social media. It should be an app that will improve classroom instruction or organization, and / or student learning. Make the presentation short but interactive and fun.

March: Invite a group of newly connected educators to form a chat group. Create your own hash tag, identify a focus for your chat group, establish a time and a date to meet, and begin to promote it among educators on the various social media sites.

April: Have your first group chat based on the hash tag you formed in March. Invite teachers and administrators in your district to participate, and invite your PLN.

May: Promote the newly connected educators you have been working with through Tweets. Then turn the hash tag discussion over to them while you proudly “lurk” in the background of the chat and enjoy their new found connected learning.

June: Empower the newly connected educators you have been working with to take the summer to learn more, grow their PLN and engage other educators from around the world. Give them a list of 5 educational apps that you were exposed to this year through social media that they can examine and evaluate for their teaching.

July: Encourage your newly connected educators to give back to their PLN by identifying excellent articles, apps and information, and sharing it with others.

August: Invite those who have connected because of you to participate in the events sponsored by Connected Educators Month.

As connected educators we have a responsibility to help others connect and find the same value in educational social media that we have found. Make this year the year of connected educators and help our colleagues find the power of being a connected educator. 

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