New project to highlight educational innovation: The Tech-Enabled Educator Network
“Sisters Teachers are doing it for the themselves.
Standing on their own two feet and ringing their own bells.” ~ Aretha Franklin
The Tech-Enabled Educator Network grew out of a desire to showcase the work of innovative educators to preservice students and new teachers. While committed to professional excellence, most educators are humble by nature and reluctant to promote their work, even when it is exemplary. This modesty not only makes it challenging for new educators to learn from these educational innovators, it greatly hampers the diffusion of innovation. Thus, the Tech-Enabled Educator Network seeks to take on the role of promoting the work of tech-enabled educators by featuring their exemplary blog posts, videos, podcasts, and conference presentations.
As an education professor, EdTech geek and avid conference attendee, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many tech-enabled educators and hear their individual stories. Unfortunately, a common sentiment is that because they are on the leading edge of innovation, they often feel isolated in their work environment.
Ananth Pai was at the cutting edge of using technology and especially games for learning in his classroom. Instead of leveraging Pai’s success, his superiors tried to ignore him and occasionally reprimanded him by reminding him to stick to school board approved curriculum. While his district hasn’t shut him down, they haven’t been supportive with resources or support. ~ Excerpts from Schwartz (2013). MindShift: How Leadership Can Make or Break Classroom Innovation.
As an aggregator of educational innovation, the Tech-Enabled Educator Network hopes to reduce this isolation by providing educators with the opportunity to keep up with other innovative educators and let them know that they are not alone.
While there are lots of great educators doing great things, the network focuses on the work of tech-enabled educators. That is educators that actively use social media and take advantage of technology to embrace open, collaborative, distributed actions in their professional lives.
Tech-enabled educators understand the importance of being open so that others can benefit from their experience. Being open also creates greater opportunities to collaborate. Collaborating with other educators within their school and district, while connecting with educators from around the world is key to the development and infusion of new ideas and innovative educational practices.
Tech-enabled educators understand the importance of distributed learning and distributed leadership. Instead of monopolizing the role of teacher, tech-enabled educators facilitate distributed learning and bring a variety of “teachers” into their classrooms to support student learning and professional growth.
By embracing a distributed approach to leadership, tech-enabled educators realize that leadership isn’t about the title on the door or ones position in the organizational hierarchy. It is about influence – and whether they intentionally influence the knowledge, practice or motivation of others. Participating in professional discussions on Twitter, posting instructional resources on their blogs, or creating instructional videos are all actions that influence the knowledge, practice and motivation of other educators and thus serve to benefit the teaching profession.
The Tech-Enabled Educator Network hopes to enhance the scope of influence of these tech-enabled educators by promoting their work and bringing it to the attention of broader education community. By facilitating the distribution of these innovative ideas we hope that we can collectively support the advancement of 21st century teaching and learning.