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Blended Bites Blog

Connected Educator, Connected Learner

Jessica Anderson

There's an idea out there that modeling what you believe will lead to similar demonstrations.  It's nothing new and people have collected this observable data for centuries. It's demonstrations that we see every day as parents and teachers. Even the smallest of kids, like my three year old and my ten month old, show modeled behavior.  Today, my physics students were working on a small scale visual of a rocket launch. Without saying anything, when I put on my googles, apron, tied back my hair, and pushed back my sleeves my students were doing the same. The importance of lab safety was modeled, then followed.  

The same goes for the use of technology in the classroom. It's one thing to be a connected educator, but when does being a connected educator really take precedence? For me it's when the connection becomes about the betterment of the students. Over the last nine months, I've been navigating my way through Twitter. I started out lurking and soon jumped in. It was amazing how fast I found ways I could use networking to better myself as a teacher and my students. I've used my connections on Twitter to facilitate The Virtual Thinking Project, schedule several Mystery Skypes, join in an Asteroid Debate with @jhenze and @MaddawgMisty, facilitate The Cutthroat Water Propelled Rocket Virtual Competition, and GHO with @MikeHeard a local meteorologist. As well as participating in numerous chats like #SCItlap, #levelupED, #scistuchat, and soon the co-founder of #MTedchat with @cristama. All of these have truly helped me become more connected and bring in numerous ways to help my students connect with people all across the country.

When being a connected educator really counts is when I hear, "Mrs. Anderson, when do we get to do a Mystery Skype?" or "That chat (#scistuchat) was really cool! Are there more chats like this one?" It's when students read the blogs of virtual partners and then go back to their own because they want to do better. Or when students tell me that I should take a picture of them doing an activity and tweet it because it's worth sharing. It's when they start to talk in hashtags because they have been exploring Twitter and know you love it. And when they are pumped that their YouTube Genius Hour video has 11 views (and I'm pumped they did it without getting a grade). 

This year there have been so many of these above moments. But overall, it all becomes meaningful when being a connected educator has been modeled and soon rubs off on students to help them become connected learners