Connecting Doesn’t Always Require An App

As many of you are well aware, October is Connected Educators Month. I believe we owe it to our colleagues who are not yet connected, to show them just how powerful being connected can really be. We must go to them.

“You can’t always sit in your corner of the forest

and wait for people to come to you…

you have to go to them sometimes.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

But like anything new, becoming connected can be intimidating. Heck, I’ve been blogging and active on Twitter for over a year now and it still seems to me like ever other tweet I read is about something that I am completely and utterly clueless about.

So what?

We must break down these walls and show our colleagues that becoming connected doesn’t mean that they have to download apps or know how to write code.

Becoming connected simply means we need to start connecting. It’s as simple as that. We must start sharing with each other the wonderful things that are going on every day in our classrooms and in our schools and in our lives.

I have an amazing PLN that I connect with on a daily basis. They moderate chats, produce podcasts and write amazing blog pieces each and every day. But I can say with much certainty, that the most powerful connections I witnessed this week did not come from my online PLN. Rather they came from two teachers that I have the good fortune of working with every day.

This past week, two teachers took time out of their day to share great moments, and in so doing, became connected educators in ways that they may not have ever imagined.

The first positive share came on Thursday evening. To be quite honest, I was probably already in bed when the first email was sent, and did not read it until the next morning when I woke up.

It was from a teacher who was grading math tests late at night. She was so excited and happy for one of her students that she just had to share her good news. The student she is writing about in her email, T.K., is one who often struggles “keeping it together” for an entire day. But this year, he has experienced many more victories than defeats. And that is what made the email below so special:

guesfeirdThe second positive share came from a teacher at 5:30 PM on Friday afternoon. Or as many folks like to call it, Happy Hour. So while many folks, including myself, had already shifted gears and begun thinking about their weekend, this teacher made it a point to pass along this joyful moment. Not unlike the first student, Jaden also has difficulties making it through the day without some degree of difficulty. The email below is the result of our principal’s ability to build a strong with this student.  And as evidenced by the email below, that has made all the difference in the world to this child.


I read many powerful pieces this week as a result of my amazing PLN. But nothing I read was as powerful as the two emails sent by these teachers!

Becoming connected does not require downloading an app and it does not require being on Twitter or having a blog.

Will these apps help?

Most likely.

But we can convince our colleagues of this in due time.

For now, we must let teachers know that what they see matters!

More importantly, we must let teachers know that what they say matters.

“That you are here—

that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on,

and you will contribute a verse.”

Walt Whitman, O Me! O Life!




  1. Another great post Jon. I wrote a post myself considering much the same sort of thing. Too often we focus on the technology, when it is the habit, the mindset, which is most important. If we don’t share offline, in person, an app is not going to magically change that. What we need in education is a move away from ‘my class, my students’ to thinking about ALL students. We need ‘smart rooms’ as David Weinberger suggests, where together we are able to come up with the best answer.

  2. I love reading about teachers like the two in your post who get excited for their students! You’re absolutely right, Jon — connecting is about sharing, talking, and listening. Whether online or in person, connections are important. None more so than the ones that results in exceptional school experiences for students.

  3. Jon, you are so right. Connections can be in person and online. Either way, one variable is the same…heart. Great post. So glad you count you as one of my go to connections. #youmatter


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