Millions of educators and others around the world have participated in hundreds of professional development opportunities as part of Connected Educator Month (CEM) the past two years. Originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education and its partners as part of the Connected Educators initiative, CEM offers highly distributed, diverse, and engaging activities to educators at all levels. Based on its success in 2012 and 2013, the initiative is poised to reach even more educators in 2014, through expanded partnerships and enhanced programming.
The goals of CEM include:
- Getting more educators proficient with social media to improve their practice
- Deepening and sustaining learning among those already enjoying connection’s benefits
- Helping schools credential/integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts
- Stimulating and supporting innovation in the field
Highlights of CEM 2013 included:
- More than 300 major education organizations, companies, or communities officially participating, including, for the first time, entire states and districts
- More than 600 national events and activities conducted officially (on the CEM calendar), many more conducted independently
- More than 1 million web pages and other online locations referencing, promoting, or discussing the event (a 300% increase over CEM 2012)
- More than 14 million educators and others reached around the world via Twitter alone (more than triple the reach of 2012)
- Recognition as one of the top educational technology news stories of both 2012 and 2013 ￼￼￼￼￼
For more information about the first two years of CEM, see our reports on the 2012 and 2013 events, and/or this post and video by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (who hosted his first Twitter chat as part of the 2013 celebration). ￼Connected Educator Month in 2012 and 2013 was convened by the American Institutes for Research and its partners in the Connected Educators project (2010-2014), on behalf of the Office of Educational Technology of the United States Department of Education.
As successful as CEM 2013 was, there are still educators who are not connected, and many more who are not yet taking full advantage of the opportunities connected education affords. More broadly, the field of connected education itself is still in need of further stimulation and development. Based on participant feedback, we hope to:
- Make the event more fully global, to better incorporate learnings from around the world, supporting multiple countries in the development of full event slates as part of the celebration
- Make the celebration more fully mobile and blended, in reflection of trends in educational practice and educator use
- Provide a greater emphasis on collaboration in our planning, tools, and activities, as the logical next step beyond connection, and address participants’ desire for a more action-oriented approach (2x+ as many events were collaborative in 2013)
- Launch a series of ongoing connected education initiatives during the month (our own and others) to keep momentum building throughout the year, as well as develop more year-round resources (like 2013’s district toolkit)
- Include more events/activities that pull in other education stakeholders—parents, students, whole school communities, policymakers—to magnify the event’s creative impact We also expect to enhance CEM’s editorial programming and infrastructure to keep the event fully accessible as it continues to grow, as well as engage in more extensive capacity-building to empower the broader community to take more ownership of the celebration.
Connected Educator Month 2014 is being convened by a group of core partners in collaboration with a wide range of participating organizations and funders.