Being a teacher is a challenge like no other. No one
else has the sustained responsibility of teaching little minds how to think
critically, spark curiosity and support creativity, all within the confines of a
I have been involved in education for over 30 years in many different roles
and contexts. While the job itself does not get easier, my confidence in my
knowledge and skills grows stronger through collaboration, reflection and
Professional learning communities (PLCs) are like the power drink I need to
get through the challenges and to re-energize my commitment. The phrase
describes groups as varied as the topics around which they are formed. Many
educators have PLCs on Twitter or other social media. Some are members of PLCs
at their schools, within their districts or through professional organizations.
What they all share, though, is the passion of the educators who come together
to help, support and teach each other.
Right now there is a dynamic professional learning
network growing at ISTE called Project ReimaginED. What makes this network unique is the breadth and
depth of the topics and issues that educators discuss in them. The focus is the
synergy between the ISTE Standards and the Common Core. The digital
conversations go far beyond the latest and greatest technology tool or new
social media app. In addition to new tools, I am also learning about the tried
and true, but through a new lens — how to really use the ISTE Standards to
change my practice to meet the rigor and expectations of the Common Core.
For me it is all about making connections. Of course I’m referring to
connections with educators around the world, but what I find so enlightening and
invigorating are the connections between the ISTE Standards and how they give us
a way to interact with the content required by the Common Core.
Recently a discussion of teaching critical reading skills through the use of
digital tools led to a thread about primary source documents, historical and
current, and how the availability of international news provides students with
opportunities to gain experience with perspective, point of view, bias and
I subscribe to the daily digest, which lets me keep up with what’s going on
and click into the discussions that spark my interest.
Here’s just an example of some of the threads:
The conversations around how to approach the challenges of the Common Core
through the framework of the ISTE Standards inspire new ideas and strategies
every day. I invite you to join the network and share your learning.
October is Connected Educator Month. Celebrate by joining the Project ReimaginED community.
Don has been involved in education for over 30 years. She is a director for
educational technology for the School District of Philadelphia, where she is
responsible for development of professional learning, online learning strategies
and curriculum design.
This is an updated version of a post published on Dec. 22, 2014.