Friday, October 4, 2013

5 ideas for #ConnectedEducators to connect students #CE13

This piece was originally posted last year in SmartBlog on Education in Ideas that WorkSocial Media in Education as part of Connected Educator Month. This takes place this year in October. The U.S. Department of Education’s Connected Educators initiative seeks to celebrate and encourage educators at all levels to collaborate and participate in online learning resources and communities. This piece  is just as relevant today, as it was last year when it was written to support this initiative.

Unlike their parents, today’s students can communicate, collaborate, cooperate, and connect with the world in meaningful ways that were never before possible. It is incumbent upon educators to support students in doing this effectively in order to empower them to do work that will not only lead them to personal success, but is also worthy of the world.
So, how can educators do this?

Here are five ways to help your students get connected:
  1. Uncover student interests.
    Start by supporting young people in discovering, then developing their interests, which may turn into passions. One way to do this is by giving them a student interest inventory (visit here and here for samples and info).
  2. Connect at the local level.
    Once a class or school has supported students in identifying interests, share the results so those who care about the same things can connect. Schools using a service like ePals might want to share their interests with students in partner schools to widen the circle with which they are connecting.
  3. Connect via your school’s online platform. Once you have identified student interests in your school, help them set up groups online via places like Edmondo and in person with school-based groups and clubs where students and teachers who share interests can connect, discuss, learn, grow, and create.
  4. Connect via social media. Support students in finding those who share their interests via social media using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If a group or hashtag doesn’t exist, support and empower students in starting their own.
  5. Comment on blogs and publications. Help students find out who’s writing about what they care about. When they do, support them in joining the conversation by commenting on those topics and even proposing a guest post or article.
Congratulations! Once you’ve supported students in these five ways, you’ve put them on the road to becoming a connected student with a learning network that will assist them in achieving success in areas that are of deep personal interest.


  1. Great article. May I also recommend checking out my recent blog: Kick Start Your Classroom with K-TECH. K-TECH is EDWorks' framework for creative supportive schools. Several suggestions for connecting with kids.

  2. So many great ways for students to get--and stay--connected! Thanks!
    We at Lightspeed Systems have watched many students connect with other students with My Big Campus groups and discussions. Just recently, a teacher was sharing how his students continued their classroom discussion on a Friday evening on My Big Campus. The discussion was on the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status. Love it!

  3. Interesting article! What are your thoughts on the future of cloud in the classroom? Do you think it has a place?

  4. I applaud your insight. Data received from student interest and learning styles surveys is a crucial component in facilitating lessons that encompass the needs of all students. My advocacy for change involves changing the mindsets of teachers. Fear of emerging technologies can be reformed once teachers begin to embrace new methodologies of teaching.