Connected Educator Events in October- Reflection

This month I was able to co-organize and participate in two events which aimed to connect educators in an online space. These opportunities are not new experiences for me, this is an area that I have been interested and involved in for several years now, 5 and counting …. But what makes these events a little different that the ones in the past is where I am now in my own career as an independent consultant, and how that changed the lens at which I viewed these connection opportunities.

As a consultant, my aim is to provide a guideline for those in the education field to become connected with one another through social media. In the journey that I’ve been on these past 5 months, I’m learning new things every day, that are allowing me to find and refine my focus for future deliverables. One of the takeaways that I had through the discussions surrounding and during these events is the idea of connectedness.

Let’s take a look at each of the events, and I’ll provide you with a brief overview, if you’ve never heard of EdChange Global (ECGlobal) or Connected Educator Appreciation Day (CEduAD).

EdChange Global (ECGlobal)

The mission of EdChange Global is to provide educators, Game Changers, as we call them, an opportunity to share their passions and desires in the education world. We have a strong focus on highlighting individuals, with a goal of connectivity and sharing.

Though we enjoy highlighting the “Game Changers” that facilitate our sessions during our events, providing them with an opportunity to share and shine that they might not receive on their campus, or their district for example, the ultimate goal is to provide collaboration and learning opportunities to take place amongst one another. Our mission is not to glorify the individual but rather the work they are doing to create a change in todays education environments.

ECGlobal all started with an EdCamp, an event whose mission is to allow people to “vote with their feet” or in our case, “vote with your fingers,” ultimately providing lots of options and a variety of topics and tools that our participants or Collaborators can learn about. Empowering educators with CHOICE is our mission:

- What they learn (with regards to the content),

- How they learn (with regards to the tools)

- When they learn (flexibility to participate)

o when they are available during the 24 hours events,

o the online resources available once the event ends

§ video resources on our youtube channel

§ the opportunity to connect with our previous Game Changers through social media connections

§ our website, which houses an edublog, community members contribute throughout the year

§ EdChange Global monthly Game Changer spotlights

EdChange Global Spotlight

In effort to continue conversation and involvement with the EdChange Global “movement,” as are trying to make it, we hosted our first ever EdChange Global Game Changer Spotlight. This past month we spotlighted Courtney Koldfelt, an amazing educator who shared all about the Empatico tool and the affect that it has had on her students, and others on their campus. This event was hosted on our zoom video and through a Twitter Chat style opportunity for connection as well.

In efforts to continue my blogging goal each week, and in effort to not have an incredibly long post here, I will share my reflection and thoughts on Courtney’s amazing talk later this week.

In the future, we plan to host another spotlight coming up in December, and January, followed by a Reflection time in February. Stay up to date with all the ECGlobal events by subscribing to our site – then choose the “Members” tab to create your account and login.

Connected Educator Appreciation Day (CEduAD)

Connected Educator Appreciation Day – (pull the description from the website)

This event had a focus on connections made revolving around a particular topic. During this event there was a focus on 8 different topics for 8 total hours. In terms of the creation of this “experience” which I’ll call it, after the topics were created, the organizers pulled together multiple hosts for our sessions, followed by scouting out panelists to answer the questions asked by hosts and provide support for the participants which joined in during the various hours.

Topics included in our October 2018 event included:

- gamification

- technology integration

- showcasing your skillset

- teacher training

- the role of a technology ambassador

- STEAM for the classroom

- ways to encourage change within the classroom

It was quite honestly an event that none of us initially expected to be as successful as it ended up being, and proof of the power which technology and connections can have, when integrated in a strategic way. We started out as a group of 8+ individuals on the organizing team, and ended up as a core group of 4 from all over the world (Florida (US), Texas (US), Croatia and Scotland) who have never met other than our daily twitter messages back and forth, pulled it off!

Why am I highlighting these two events once again? If you follow me on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen my name connected with both of these events, and yet again you hear me talking about the importance of these experiences in my life.

I talk about them because once again, I am honored to be affiliated with, and once again in surprise of the lessons that I learn through these connections. Each time I participate in a connected educator event, I learn something new, something that I never expected to.

Over the spring and summer months as we reconfigured and started to modify ECGlobal for simplicity and to fit our ever growing needs as a group for the ultimate connectivity opportunity, our little team of organizers honestly weren’t quite sure what the event would bring for us, but as usual, we pressed through and brought something amazing to a great group of folks who joined us.

The event was great, but it left me personally wondering “what’s next?” Which is where CEduAD and the team of new people came into place. I was happy to be able to transition from one connected event to another, and to be able to continue to press on towards my goal of connecting as many educators as possible through social media tools.

What I saw take place during CEduAD was a different style of connectivity than I’ve been used to with ECGlobal, but it was eye opening in how simple it “could be” to set up the opportunity to connect with others, and didn’t necessarily take months of planning, but instead a few strong topics for discussion, as well as a few fine educators eager and looking to learn and share on a Saturday for a few hours. That’s about all we had going into CEduAD but even as the even wrapped up, hearing about a few of the hosts and panelists experiences made it all worth it!

As both of these events continue to evolve and change, and continue to make a lasting affect on myself and all that are involved, I can rest at ease that I am doing great things in others lives, and that I am continuing to have a positive effect in the education world.

My goal moving forward is to continue to expand our community members, and find a way to bring those unconnected, through social media and technology in any way, to this connected space. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve got the personal story and the heart to hopefully inspire and encourage educators to give it a try!

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