Dr. Cook begins the book with a short introduction on how he "took a leap" off the comfortable road and embraced 21st century technology. My favorite quote from the introduction is this: "Connected Educators are always seeking to grow and learn. The more educators take the leap, and connect with each other through social media, the deeper and more authentic the learning becomes for everyone." Isn't deep and authentic learning what educators are striving for?
There are five chapters in the book: A Thousand Mile Journey; Time and Priorities; Inner Reflection, Global Exposure; Building a Professional Learning Network; and Transformation. Dr. Cook launches with a quote from Siddhartha Guatama: "A thousand mile journey begins with one step." In the opening chapter, Dr. Cook outlines for educators how to take that first step. As I talk to educators that are not connected, it seems the first stumbling block really is this first step. How do I create a Twitter account? Who do I follow? What do I tweet? What is a hashtag? How will I have the time? When can I connect? If I start a blog, who will read it and what will I write? Dr. Cook addresses all of these hard questions in the first couple of chapters. Dr. Cook then takes us from getting started to "lurking and learning" to "blogging, tweeting, pinning, and winning" to building a professional learning network (PLN) with other like-minded educators to a full transformation into a connected leader.
At the end of the book, Dr. Cook reminds us to keep in the mind that the "most important goal for all connected educators is to improve the learning environment for everyone." I can personally say that I began to build my PLN several years ago and it has propelled my growth as an educator exponentially and truly has improved the learning environment for my students. Dr. Cook's book inspired me to continue and expand my PLN, to launch a blog, and to continue to grow and learn as a connected leader. If you haven't "connected" yet, pick up this book and don't delay. You won't regret it!