The U.S. Department of Education has declared that August is Connected Educator Month, a "celebration," as the website says, that is part of the Office of Educational Technology's Connected Educators initiative to support online professional learning. During the next four weeks, the department will bring together 100 education organizations to highlight professional online communities and networks of relevance to educators, the goal being to "broaden and deepen educator participation in online communities" and allow for more teacher collaboration, according to a department press release. The Connected Educator Month website provides a listing of the events offered this month, including webinars, forums, workshops, book clubs, and contests.
In honor of the initiative, The Learning Network (a New York Times blog) asked 33 educators who have previously written for the blog, including Education Week Teacher blogger Larry Ferlazzo, to share tips on what they've learned within their personal learning networks and to recommend individuals or groups for teachers to add to their own PLNs.
The Powerful Learning Practice and the Intel Teachers Engage Community are also involved in the department's endeavor. The two organizations teamed up and are hosting a video contest. The contest challenges educators to create videos demonstrating how to build PLNs (the prizes include a laptop and several Kindle Fires).