I recently finished reading What Connected Educators do Differently by Whitaker, Zoul, and Casas (2015). This was a practical, hands-on book best suited to the needs of educators new to connecting both face-to-face and online to create a personal learning network, or PLN. Even as a more experienced connected educator, however, I was still able to find much in the book to inspire me to continue on in my efforts to connect both my students and myself.
The authors outline eight key areas in which connected educators differ from those who are not. They:
- connect to a personal and professional learning network
- learn in an ongoing, personalized, and flexible manner
- communicate, collaborate, and build community
- give…and take
- are positive and extend that positive influence as far as possible
- build strong relationships with a diverse array of others
- model the kind of connected learning that they expect of others
- balance their on- and off-line lives
The key tool that the authors recommend is Twitter, providing a wealth of suggestions as to who to follow along with practical steps educators can take to begin developing their own Twitter-based PLNs immediately. However, part of the beauty of creating a PLN is that the tools that you use - along with every other aspect of your learning - are completely up to you. Many connected educators are having great success connecting through Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, and a whole host of other Web 2.0 applications either in addition to, or instead of, Twitter.
Still, the book was a quick and easy read and is a useful resource for helping educators prepare themselves to begin their journey to becoming more connected.
Whitaker, T., Zoul, J., & Casas, J. (2015). What connected educators do differently. New York, NY: Routledge.