How to Connect the Dots

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This post was originally written for SmartBlogs on Education. I did make one update under web resources. I foolishly left off TeacherCast when I originally wrote the blog. 
One of the biggest things I have learned in the past two years is that I don’t need to know the answer; I need only to know how to get the answer or point somebody to the answer. It’s a skill that I have developed since becoming a connected educator. Becoming a connected educator has helped me grow more than I could have imagined, and it’s allowed me to help educators in my district and far beyond.
When I am faced with question, whether my own or somebody else’s, I go through several resources that help me connect the dots.
This is no certain order.
1. Myself: This resource is the easiest to go through because there’s not a lot there, although it is growing and will continue to grow because I am a lifelong learner.
2. Personal learning network: Let me break my PLN down into two groups.
  • Local: I am blessed to work in a connected district. I serve on a team of innovation, curriculum and technology specialists. It’s a great team with a nice mix of former K-12 teachers from every subject background. I created a list of our team on Twitter and highly recommend following the members. Within my district, we also have theLearning Leadership Cadre, the Community of Digital Educators(#EVSCCODE) and The Network (#EVSCNetwork). Between the team, those three groups and teachers with whom I work in my building, I have a pretty good place to start. The great thing is I have shared them with you!
  • Global: Though I have an amazing local PLN, I also have a fantastic global PLN. My global PLN gives me a fresh perspective on education and pushes my thinking. By being an active connected educator, I have had an opportunity to learn from educators worldwide. I am continually amazed at how fast my PLN responds to requests I put on Twitter. If you don’t have a PLN or you want to help somebody build his or hers, check out the Tools for Building Your PLN LiveBinder that Tim Wilhelmus and I made and Wilhelmus’ Twitter for Educators.
3. Web resources: I have my go-to people in my PLN and certain hashtags I follow and use frequently. Then there are the main websites that I look to for help.
  • Cybrary Man: I have never found a topic for which Cybrary Man doesn’t have a page. It is truly remarkable the amount of information and help you can get from his website.
  • Free Tech for Teachers: Richard Byrne’s ability to share resources at such a high frequency is astounding. The search bar for his website will help you find the right tool in a hurry.
  • eduTecher and eduClipper: These sites, from the great Adam Bellow, are fantastic! The organization of eduTecher and the personalization of eduClipper are great tools to have in your tool belt.
  • TeacherCast: Jeff Bradbury who runs TeacherCast has an amazing list of resources for professional development. His blogs, podcasts, and mobile app have saved me on more than one occasion. 
This is only a small portion of what I use to connect the dots. The truth is I will use anything and everything I can to connect dots.
What do you use to connect the dots that I haven’t listed?

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