edWeb Celebrates 10 years!
edWeb is 10 years old! It feels like such a big milestone, especially since it’s been 10 years since the dawn of the “connected educator” movement. I still remember so well when the U. S. Department of Education issued the 2010 National Education Technology Plan. The plan included the first statement I know of that officially endorsed using social networks for professional learning in education, “Social networks can be used to provide educators with career-long personal learning tools and resources that make professional learning timely and relevant as well as an ongoing activity that continually improves practice and evolves their skills over time.” That statement remains as relevant as ever today.
This is a gratitude moment for me, as the founder of edWeb. I saw what my daughter and her friends were doing on Facebook and immediately saw how “social networking” could benefit the entire education community and enable us to break down the silos that have always existed in education. As Facebook and other consumer networks boast membership in the billions, we stay focused on preK-20 educators who number an estimated 5 million. The edWeb community has grown to 500,000 edWebbers, and we’d love to grow to 5 million in our next decade.
We are fortunate and thank so many people who are part of the edWeb community. Over 1,100 educators have presented an edWebinar on edWeb to share their ideas, resources and practices with their peers. edWeb would not exist without their passion and generosity in sharing their innovative work.
Over 100 sponsors and partners have supported our online learning communities and edWebinars so the professional learning is free for educators. When I founded edWeb, it was based on the premise that the education industry had so much to gain by sponsoring free professional learning for educators struggling to adopt technology and keep up with the pace of change in education. We find more and more organizations coming to us because they want to join in this effort.
Our team is inspired every day by the educators who join edWeb and attend our edWebinars. They are passionate about connecting with their peers and learning new ideas to improve their practice, but most of all to help their students. Hosting our live events isn’t easy, but at the end of the edWebinar when the thank yous flood the live chat, we all know that we are doing important work that really makes a difference.
I am so thankful to have an amazing edWeb team that is on-site in Princeton, NJ and also spans the globe. We are lean and frugal, but organized and efficient, and that makes it possible for us to keep the learning free and also keep the costs low for our sponsoring partners. My team inspires me with their patience and willingness to help educators get the support they need to try new things, especially with technology!
As I think about all of the time and energy and investment I’ve personally put into edWeb over 10 years, I realize more clearly than ever why I’ve done it. The goal has never been to make a lot of money, but to create a sustainable community that can continue to support and help educators for the long term. I’ve seen other initiatives come and go, so it is very rewarding to celebrate 10 years and look ahead to the next decade.
I understand now that edWeb is a thank you letter to my teachers and school leaders. My teachers and school leaders were wonderful from Trottman’s nursery school to the Morristown NJ public schools to Kent Place in Summit NJ and then Princeton University. I will never be able to thank them personally or enough, so edWeb passes that thank you on to all of the teachers, librarians, and administrators who work in education today. Thank you for all that you do. Our students, the future of our country, and the future of the entire world depend on your great work.