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The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age [Perfect Paperback]

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach , Lani Ritter Hall

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Book Description

Oct. 25 2011
In The Connected Educator, authors Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall integrate professional development that is currently working in schools with a new model -- connected learning communities. Connected learning communities are a three-pronged approach to effective professional development using the local (professional learning community), contextual (personal learning network), and global (community of practice) environments. Connected learners take responsibility for their own professional development. They figure out what they need to learn and then collaborate with others to construct the knowledge they need. Instead of waiting for professional learning to be organized and delivered to them, connected learners contribute, interact, share ideas, and reflect.<P>The book draws heavily on the authors' experience as members and leaders of connected learning communities. This model shifts the locus of control to each reader, the connected learner, rather than vesting it in outsiders, higher-ups, and professional development consultants. The intent is to help each educator, as well as the partners, parents, and policymakers who support him or her, improve learning and teaching in and beyond the classroom walls.<P>The authors emphasize the importance for educators to embrace the technological revolution permeating society. To remain relevant to students, educators need to use the networked landscape of learning to re-envision what happens inside schools and classrooms. The time has come to reject incremental change and to radically transform education to reflect the current global community. Teachers must learn to model connectedness and enable students to develop personal learning networks, made up of people and resources from both their physical and virtual worlds -- but first teachers must become connected collaborators themselves.

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The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age + Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: National Educational Service (Oct. 25 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935543172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935543176
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 17.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #181,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professional Learning in the Connected Age Nov. 10 2011
By John Norton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had the opportunity to read this insightful book in publisher's galleys. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall first make the case that teaching and learning have fundamentally changed forever with the advent of the Internet and its capacity to connect both adult and young learners to a world of content knowledge -- and more importantly -- a world of other learners who share our interests and passions and have expertise to offer.

They then describe a new model of professional learning for teachers and other education leaders -- the Connected Learning Community. What's that? It's the now familiar PLC (professional learning community), pumped up for the Digital Age. CLC's have three key components: the face-to-face PLC; the personal learning network with its many social media connections, and participation in global communities of practice, which penetrate the surface level of inquiry usually associated with PLNs and dig deep into effective learning practices.

The authors also advocate for a PBL approach to instruction, and within that acronym they include project-, problem- and passion-based learning. These inquiry learning strategies are all designed to shift the locus of control over the learning process in the direction of the student. The authors are totally comfortable with core curriculum standards, checking for understanding through classroom assessments, and generally make the argument that engaged learning driven by student interests is compatible with challenging learning goals and "school reform."

We often hear about teachers becoming "the guide on the side," a phrase that makes traditionalists very nervous. But Nussbaum-Beach and Ritter Hall actually describe what that looks like -- and end up defining an expanded and transformed role for the professional teacher in the 21st century.

The ideas and insights share in The Connected Educator grow out of the authors' work with more than 7000 educators in the US, Canada and abroad through the company Powerful Learning Practice, co-founded by Nussbaum-Beach and edutech author and blogger Will Richardson. They report spending thousands of hours working and leading in virtual professional learning communities with teachers, principals and other educators to improve teaching practice and student learning. I doubt there's another education author with a book on the market today that can claim this level of experience with Connected Learning Communities.

Who's the book for? Teachers who are feeling the need, and perhaps the urge, to make the shift to more connected learning that emphasizes 21st century skills. Principals who are looking for ideas to help faculties shift to higher levels of practice. Professional development leaders who believe they can accelerate their work by embedding virtual components that tap into the potential of digital tools and connected communities.

It's also an interactive book... the authors invite readers to begin trying out ideas and tools, and to join a community of readers online in discussions that go beyond what the book is able to provide in 200 pages. There are also downloadable resources galore.

Scott McLeod, an authority on professional learning in the Digital Age, says it well in his endorsement of the book: "There is tremendous power in educators being better digitally connected, but most don't know how to get there. This amazing book gives teachers and administrators the why and the how so that they can ramp up quickly and effectively."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jumpstart your way of thinking Jan. 14 2012
By Marsha H. Ratzel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
With so many books out there about this topic, it's hard to know which ones are worth buying. This is a book worth having in your personal library. It's been written so that you are pushed to think about the ideas....consider how they relate to your own circumstances....equip you to enter into discussions with others. Not many books are able to do this but these authors succeed in getting me to do more than just read.

My favorite chapters...the ones that really expanded my thinking....tackling the idea of how to build knowledge with others, then how to create a community around doing that and how to sustain the momentum once you start. "Learning to Learn" is something I thought I was pretty good at...and I still think I'm OK. But this chapter helped me consider new dimensions that I could add to my toolbox.

Overall this book gives tons of ideas on how to improve the way you digitally connect with other people. Sure it can help you get started...but it can also help if you've started this journey and need help considering how to take to a whole other level.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A practical guide for every educator... Jan. 15 2012
By Patti Grayson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall have produced an invaluable resource for educators. They gently escort the reader through a clear, systematic approach to connected learning and leadership while sharing personal stories and experiences. Their transparency is a gift!

The strength of this book lies in its organization. Each chapter begins with the authors' personal stories, continues to provide clear, well-defined information and helpful models, and then highlights educators who are "Putting It in Practice" in the classroom. The chapters wrap up with a bulleted "Where Are We?" summary, a "Think About" section to help the reader apply learning to their unique situation, and a "Where to Now?" section that looks ahead to the next topic.

In addition, the authors push readers to begin connecting right away, by providing instruction and areas where they can connect with each other to discuss the book. Practical tools are used to connect readers. As the reader begins to create connections and use tools, Sheryl and Lani help them to construct a connected learning community by providing lists of educators to follow through Twitter and RSS readers. They explain the roles within the community, and identify the qualities of leadership within these communities. Finally, the authors look to the future, exploring the changing roles of teachers and administrators as education transforms.

After spending a year immersed in the Powerful Learning Practice program, co-founded by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, I can attest to the value and necessity in becoming a connected educator. This book belongs on the shelf of every teacher and principal as a practical, hands-on reference for learning and leading in the digital age.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching teachers About 21st Century Learning Jan. 7 2012
By Pet Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
When I was first reading The Connected Educator by Nussbaum and Hall, I was impressed with the organization of the book. Sheryl and Lani have not only presented an easy-to-read, engaging book on how we must teach our students in the 21st century, they have educated me as a veteran teacher. Although, like most folks today, I am on the Internet daily, using a computer to create lessons and projects, I wasn't familiar with Diigo, Podomatic, Microbologs, Classroom 2.0, or Netvibes. They provide a glossary in case we are in need of a reminder of all these powerful tools available to us as 21st century educators. These authors, veteran teachers themselves, approach the book as they would a classroom. They make learning about how to engage students straightforward, clear, interesting, and more importantly, provide realistic approaches of how we can collaborate with one another and principals. These women have done their homework too, providing extensive research and resources to us.I highly recommend this book, both for veterans like myself, and those new to teaching who are familiar with the language of the 21st century, but don't know where to start in their classrooms or schools.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be a Connected Educator! Jan. 2 2012
By Kate Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
For teachers, at times, the classroom can be a lonely place. In an effort to bring teachers out of isolation, schools and districts have brought teachers together in one venue for professional development. PD, at its best can be exciting and inspiring, allowing teachers to interact, collaborate, and arm them with new and innovative ideas. At its worst, PD can be boring; a time waster, where teachers are spoken at in a warehouse setting, with little hope of collaboration or inspiration.

In their recently published book, The Connected Educator: Leading and Learning in a Digital Age, authors and educators Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall provide a road map to guide teachers to connectivity in the ever-changing world. Nussbaum-Beach and Hall use their years of practical experience and unique understanding of our changing times to give teachers powerful ways to break through the isolation of a solitary classroom to use powerful resources: one another through powerful technological tools.

The authors recognize that teachers are at different places with their own teaching, learning, and comfort with technology. To meet teachers where they are during their own individual journies, each chapter is systematic in its approach and provides three common sections:

-Where Are We?

-Where to Now?

-Get Connected

To engage the reader, the chapters also present the authors' personal stories and "Think About" boxes. This approach enables the reader to learn and grow through a conversation yet professional style with the authors. This book truly provides professional development that is interactive and engaging. It gives the teachers the tools to travel down their best avenue for PD.

As we begin 2012 and want to learn and grow as educators and learners, The Connected Educator, is a necessary "How to Guide" and a must have for our personal and professional libraries, Kindles or iPads. Be a connected educator!

-Jim Meredith

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