Every Educator A Connected-Educator: For Whom The Bell Tolls


Every Educator A Connected Educator.

Why? Why Not! What is the case for connected educators?

To begin, the image to our left is one we are familiar with. Let’s call it “traditional education.” Many educators, in fact, were educated this way when we were students.

Furthermore, many educators were trained using this traditional model of education. It follows, then, that as educators, despite paying lip-service to constructivist pedagogical theories, many of us are still employing the traditional pedagogy of the past century.

We can’t help it evidently. We were educated that way. We were trained that way. It’s in our DNA. So what can we do to change our behaviorist, Pavlovian tendencies?

First, let’s face reality. Our educational system is broken.

Students are required to sit for long periods of time while teachers force-feed them Death-By-PowerPoint lectures. Bullet point by bullet point, they are subjected to an overflow of theoretical spoken words they will barely remember.

This traditional paradigm of “Sit and Listen” while the “Sage on Stage” spews information” which students must “Memorise and Regurgitate” is so pervasive in our schools that students see it as the norm.

They have been conditioned, in Pavlovian terminology, to Respond to the Stimulus (education) by Regurgitating the Memorised contents in order to receive the desired reward: An excellent grade on the test.

It’s time for a paradigm change.

We are 18 years into the 21st century. Let me repeat that.

We are 18 years into the 21st century!

So what am I suggesting today?

I have a Radical idea. Remove Pavlov’s enduring legacy from your school.

Get rid of the bells. The bell that rings to start the school day. The bell that rings for recess. That bell that rings to end the school day. And all the other bells in between.

For whom the bell tolls?
Time marches on.
For whom the bell tolls.

I have one more Radical idea. Connectivism. So, what is connectivism?

Connectivism: A Theory of Learning For The 21st Century.

So, what is a connected educator?

A connected educator is someone who:

Connects with other educators to collaborate, to solve real-world problems that are both local and global in nature,

Thinks critically about how to get their students engaged actively in significant learning experiences.

Is willing to try all ways to improve students’ learning, always.

Believes passionately in collaboration over competition.

Is creative, not afraid to think outside the box, to take risks, and—most importantly—to follow through on their ideas.

They are members of a personal learning network (PLN).

Why is a PLN a must?

In isolation, you are only one person… Your possibilities are additive. One plus one equals two, if we put this in mathematical terms.

In a connectivist PLN, you are many. Your possibilities are exponential, virtually unlimited: One plus one equals three hundred thousand million…


Your PLN is where you ask questions that puzzle you, share ideas about what works for you in your teaching and learning context, share resource material and make life-long friends with educators from all cultures and backgrounds.

Your PLN not only enriches your practice, it enriches your life.

To give you a concrete example of how I used my PLN to do all of the things I just described above, I will name Edcamp Chile 2013. It was an international collaborative day of learning and sharing with educators in Chile and all around the world: Chile, the USA, Canada, the UK, Brasil, Colombia, and Europe.

All of that cost $0.00. Amazingly, this high-quality, classroom based sharing of best practice was accomplished with a budget of $ZERO. That’s a PLN in action. It’s powerful…

So, why should you be a connected educator?

Let’s re-phrase the question into a statement:

It’s Never Too Late to be a Connected Educator.

If you are not already a connected educator, it’s NeverTooLate.

Finally, for whom the bell tolls?

It tolls for you my friend…

Make connections. Today. Become A Connected Educator.

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
This entry was posted in Connectivism, Education, Education Technology, PLN, Reflections and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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