A Letter to Incoming First Year Students at Erikson

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Teachers collaborating with tech

Dear first year students at Erikson,

Welcome to Erikson! Six years ago, I was sitting where you are today. My name is Tamara Kaldor and I am the Program Coordinator at the TEC Center. Some of you may feel like you are standing on the high dive for the first time. You want to jump, but you may not be sure where you are going to land, how long it will take to hit the water or when you will come up for air. The TEC Center is here to welcome you to Erikson and let you know you have an incredible and supportive learning community to land in.

Today as you sit in orientation, whether you are a student on our Chicago campus or our online campus, take a few minutes and just look around the room you are in. Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you. The people in your cohort are your new Personal Learning Network (PLN) with whom you are embarking on a learning journey. Together you will have a story to tell one day about how you collaborated in-person and via technology to help move children and families forward over the course of your career. Your cohort, the Erikson alumni and the faculty are a very special group of early childhood professionals. Eriksonians are curious and life long learners. We rely on one another to share trusted resources, information and guidance as we problem-solve and advocate across our disciplines.

We are asking you to kick-off your #Erikson2017 or #Erikson2018 PLN on social media during orientation. When you have questions or ideas to share on your early childhood learning path use #Erikson2017 or #Erikson2018 so you can always find each other and continue to learn together. Take a selfie, introduce yourself to your PLN and start telling your story #Erikson2017 or #Erikson2018!

The first three students to tweet us @TEC_Center with your PLN hashtag (#Erikson2017 or #Erikson2018) will win a signed copy of Technology and Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, edited by Chip Donohue. Don’t forget to tag Erikson Institute, @earlychildhood too!

We work in an incredible field that is constantly growing as fast as the children we serve. The early childhood field needs leaders that can take informed and educated risks. You are all innovators. Whether you are developing and testing a new classroom design or creating a new family support model– you are creating new ways for children, caregivers, and educators to grow and learn. Embrace that you will make mistakes and that you will evolve as you innovate.

You are just starting a journey and your Erikson PLN will be with you for the the long haul. Whether you are young or young at heart, you all have an incredible amount of knowledge and experiences to share with one another about children, families, culture and life experiences. Lean on your new PLN in the coming months and spend time listening to one another. Your PLN will be an incredible network of support to you professionally and personally long after Barbara Bowman has handed you a yellow rose on graduation day.

Here are a few resources on Twitter and PLNs for early childhood professionals:

ECETech.net’s Guide to Twitter

Edutopia’s Ten Tips for Becoming a Connected Educator and How Do I Get a PLN?

#ECETechChat – Weekly Twitter chat about technology in early childhood education

CONGRATULATIONS!

The TEC Center and the department of Distance Learning and Continuing Education can’t wait to see where you go on your personal learning path #Erikson2017 and #Erikson2018!

Cheers!

Tamara, Erikson ’11

p.s.

We want you to keep coming to us when you have questions so we can develop the tools you need to keep serving children and families throughout your career. We are committed to creating and supporting a community of life long learners no matter where you land when you take that jump off the high dive. Come knock on our fishbowl’s door (we are the glassed-in office next to the library) or tweet us @TEC_Center!

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