Join me on Thursday, January 27th, as I hold an open community discussion on building a social network that might provide educators with grass-roots personal, professional, and career support.
This summer, on a lazy August evening, I interviewed David Wood, the author of Get Paid for Who You Are. I'd previously interviewed Dan Schawbel on his book Me 2.0 (both interviews are recorded and available here), and the idea was to continue the conversation on student entrepreneurship and personal portfolios in the world of specialization that the Internet provides. To my great surprise, over 180 people showed up live to hear David (normally on a summer evening, we'd be lucky to hit 50 or 60, even with a really strong guest).
While I was conducting the interview, something became obvious to me in the text chat conversation. It seemed that a number of the educators who were in attendance were there in order to think about or explore their own career options. So about half-way through the interview, I stopped and polled the audience. How many were there to learn about how to help their students in this new entrepreneurial world? About half raised their virtual hands. How many were there to think about their own careers? The other half! This took me by surprise, but in retrospect made all the sense in the world. Educators are highly likely to be in the field because of their passion to help others and their desire to make a difference in the world. With tightening school budgets and large numbers of educators being laid off or just less secure in their employment, it seemed to me very smart for them to be thinking about how they might expand or enhance their careers in the same "personal branding" ways that David was talking about. I wondered if I'd been able to make the poll anonymous, would even more have indicated they were there for themselves?
Knowing that the main social networking projects I've been involved with for educators (like Classroom 2.0 and Elluminate's LearnCentral) have centered on the sharing of professional, in-classroom practice, I've wondered about re-positioning one of my networks that has been lying fallow--thanks to the Ning shift to a paid model--like School 2.0 or EduBloggerWorld, and turning it into a Teacher 2.0 network where educators could gather to discuss personal and career interests. I'm envisioning discussions and Webinars on topics like: building your blog or personal/professional website, creating and participating in specialized communities, hosting your own specialized Webinar series, starting an education-related business, speaking at conferences, etc.
If the idea interests you, I hope you will join me this Thursday to start the brainstorm. What kinds of things could a Teacher 2.0 network provide that you would want? Are you interested in hearing other educators talk about how they have created and built their own careers, personal learning networks, and reputations in authentic ways? Are there educators who have found work or passion-based opportunities outside of the traditional classroom? I'm sure I'm missing some great ideas, so please come and share! If there are already networks that you use on the web for this, come tell us about them, what you like, and how we might support them or supplement what they already do.
Date: Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 1am GMT (next day--international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at http://tr.im/futureofed. The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Event and Recording Page: http://www.learncentral.org/event/133547