Get Connected: Connected Educator Month

2792 CEM Square Pop-Up-250x250-Shape Profession d1_lvrThe U.S. Department of Education has declared October Connected Educator Month (CEM). What does that mean for you? It is time to take control of your professional development, expand your network of educators, and enhance your leadership skills. It is time to get connected.

Because you’re reading this, the good news is you’re already connected! But how can you become more involved in the expansive digital community of educators? Where should you start? Where should you go? How does it work? We’re here to help you dive in!

Step 1: Join Educators on Social Media

If you aren’t on Pinterest already, we encourage you to start here. Pinterest is an image sharing website that has more than 25 million users who create virtual pin boards where they can collect and save images and videos that are meaningful to them. Log in to create your own boards for teaching and learning, follow other educator’s pin boards, and pin away! Need a place to begin? You’ll find practical resources on the Common Core State Standards, education infographics, inspirational quotes on leadership in teaching, access to our professional development opportunities, and so much more on ASCD’s pin boards.

If you like Pinterest, you will definitely want to connect with educators through ASCD’s Facebook page. ASCD’s Facebook page brings our most up-to-date news straight to your Facebook news feed. Be sure to check out the comments of our posts, where you can always find an engaging dialogue with other educators on topics that interest you. Don’t have a Facebook account? Creating an account is quick and easy.

Twitter is another social media channel you’re going to find worthwhile for networking with educators. This online social networking service enables users to send and read messages with up to 140 characters (called tweets). Jump into the conversation with online educator chats, stay up-to-date on news in from your local district or state, and follow your favorite education leaders. Also, be sure to follow ASCD on Twitter to access professional development opportunities and new ASCD publications.

Step 2: Sign Up for Connected Educator Month

Now that you’re connected to educators around the globe, it’s time to delve deeper into the U.S. Department of Education’s Connected Educator Month. All CEM events are free and can be found online, so participating is easy. The first step is to sign up, which can be done in seconds. Once you’re signed up, you’ll receive regular updates about real-time events such as education webinars, ongoing discussions on key education issues, hands-on demonstrations and exhibits, contests to enter, and so much more.

Also, if you are a school district decision-maker or educator who’d like to see your district get involved in CEM, be sure to check out this special toolkit (PDF) written by (and with) district-level educators with many years of expertise. Sections were especially created for school systems at different levels of connectedness, and the toolkit is chock-full of videos and helpful links, including a sign up service for even more resources during CEM that will help keep you connected all year long.

Step 3: Stay Connected with ASCD EDge®

When October comes to an end, you’ll most likely be itching for new ways to stay connected with educators. Definitely keep active on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, but you can also join the ASCD EDge social networking platform to connect and interact with friends, colleagues, peers, and mentors in the education field. Share video, audio, photos, and blogs (including all of those great new resources you found during CEM) with other members and comment on all community and ASCD website content. You can also post comments or recommendations on friends’ walls and profile pages, or form or join groups where you can post documents, share resources, and get information about upcoming events.

At the end of the day, Connected Educator Month is dedicated to the proposition that no teacher should be an island; not when there’s much more strength in numbers. We hope you’ll join us in bringing the profession together this October.

Tina Byland is a public relations and social media professional on the ASCD Communications team. She helps manage various ASCD social media channels and the ASCD Inservice blog, while also working in traditional media outreach. Before joining ASCD in 2013, she was a pre-kindergarten teacher in Annapolis, Md. and a selector for D.C. Teaching Fellows. Prior to teaching, Tina has six years of public relations experience.