Sorry but You’re Not a Connected Educator Unless

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I pointed to a bright orb in the sky, referring to it as the sun. “The sun?” a woman replied incredulously. “That’s not the sun. It’s just a big light bulb!”

Okay, that didn’t really happen, but the story’s point is amplified when compared to the real chat I had about what it means to be a connected educator. This discussion, ironically, took place on Twitter. The debate began when I tweeted this:

It’s impossible to be connected without being on social media.

There were objections. Teachers don’t have to be online to be connected, it was suggested. Really?

This debate raged for about 20 minutes. It could be argued that this is nothing more than semantics, but I don’t think so.

In today’s digital world, a place where we emphasize mobile and social learning, the term, connected educator, must be defined.

Vexed by the number of people on Twitter, who are willing to say that a connected educator doesn’t have to use social media, I considered this for hours. Then, I turned to, who else, Google for answers.

Page after page of Google search results shared articles, books, graphics and videos, like the one below, about the connected educator.

If you watch even a minute or two of this video, you see luminary educators, authors and consultants talking about the same thing–social media’s impact on education. And who are the teachers using social media? Connected educators.

One must be connected to teachers, administrators, students and parents is the message, one that was shared often in the previously mentioned Twitter chat. In addition to face-to-face, though, educators must be connected on social media, the experts in the video say.

With social media, these experts argue, we can break down the barriers of the classroom and learn from people across the globe.

Must we define our terms? In this case, absolutely, yes!

And, excuse me, but if you’re not using social media to teach and learn, you are not a connected educator.

You may be a wonderful person and a fantastic teacher, who loves kids and excites students. But if you don’t use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, WordPress or some other social network you are, with all due respect, not a connected educator.

Just what is the exact definition of a connected educator?

You tell me? What I know is that whatever we decide it is, it must contain something about using social media to connect with learners.

With all of the amazing, intelligent people here, we should be able to create one helluva precise definition and put this debate to rest.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
4 Comments
  1. Amy Peach
    • Mark Barnes
  2. Valentina

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