What does it mean to be a connected educator? That's what my aim is to discover. I am a totally unconnected educator. To put into perspective my utter lack of connection, consider the following points (some of which are almost too embarrassing to admit):
- I still use a Nokia brick. My students tell me not to drop it for fear I put a hole in the floor.
- The only computer I have is my school issued laptop.
- I learnt to type on a manual typewriter and see my laptop as an upgraded version of that.
- I have an interactive whiteboard in my classroom. It’s used for viewing visual text and to put up notes (because my students can’t read my handwriting on the board). If I’m feeling really adventurous, we might play a word game on it.
- We have an iPad at home. I use it to play Candy Crush.
- I work in a school that doesn’t have reliable wifi. When students want to email things to me, they use their own data
- Until yesterday, I didn’t know what web 2.0 was.
So why am I attempting to become connected? Because I’m really worried I’m being left behind. I know – I’m years behind already – but if I don’t start now, I’ll just be lagging further and further behind. I have a friend in Christchurch who is an eQueen - @paulinehendog. She’s quite inspiring. Then @paulinehendog introduced me to the equally inspiring @annekenn. These women are passionate, connected educators and, once I was done being daunted, I figured I was younger than both of them so had no reason not to try and become a citizen of the digital world.
What have I done so far? Firstly, I signed up for Twitter last week at the behest of @paulinehendog. She talked me through it all on the phone, urging me to take care choosing a name and that I should consider it as carefully as naming my own child. I instantly started following @paulinehendog and @annekenn and then trawled through everyone they were following.
And that’s where I found #cenz14. Brutal honesty – I had no idea what the hashtag was even about! I’ve sat through my first webinar (mildly bewildered), made a couple of tweets (even using a hashtag) and signed up to the #cenz14 starter kete for eVirgins like myself. Then, as I watched the launch of #blogsync last night, I thought I had nothing to contribute. But, actually, I’ve decided to contribute anyway. If I’m going to become a connected educator, I can’t just lurk. I need to act. I need to become a learner to remain an effective educator. Otherwise, I risk becoming just like my Nokia brick – still capable of doing the basic job, but with limited capabilities and not the model my students want or need.