Educator Innovator and its network of partners is leading a theme on youth agency and voice as part of this year’s Connected Educator Month, which starts next week.

Beginning with a kickoff webinar on October 1 and culminating with Edcamp Online, Educator Innovator’s participation will focus on disseminating resources that highlight the critical importance of interest- and passion-driven work by young people.

Over the last two years, millions of educators and others around the world have participated in hundreds of professional development opportunities as part of Connected Educator Month.

Connected Educator Month offers highly distributed, diverse and engaging activities to educators at all levels, with the ultimate goal of getting more educators more connected, spurring collaboration and innovation.

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

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, CEM hopes to:

● Make the event more fully global by better incorporating learnings from around the world.
● Make the celebration more mobile and blended, reflecting trends in educational practice and educator use. For example, the calendar incorporates social media for community building during the event and has the option for schedule creation and viewing on smart phones through a fully functional mobile app.
● Provide a greater emphasis on collaboration and capacity-building in planning, tools, and activities. This year’s themes involve coalitions of organizations working together to develop and lead those themes.
● 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 and a new district professional development toolkit launching Oct 1, 2014 by the Office of Educational Technology USDOE).
● Include more events/activities that pull in other education stakeholders–parents, students, whole school communities, policymakers–to magnify the event’s creative impact.

We look forward to seeing all the Educator Innovator groups participating in this year’s event—Educator Innovator groups have provided many of the most creative offerings in 2012 and 2013, and we can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring!

To get regular updates on all the latest CEM developments subscribe to the CEM blog, sign up for the CEM newsletter, or check in with Connected Educator Radio. For more information on Connected Educator Month in general, see our reports on the 2012 and 2013 events, and/or this post by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

By Tom de Boor and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach