What is the PLaN?

Professional Learning Networks by Beverley Pittman

How To Build Your PLN (Professional Learning Network)

Short and Long term goals

My short term PLN goals are to become more active in the groups that I have recently joined. I joined The Educator's PLN and Proteachers.net this semester and I have explored the sites, enjoyed reading other peoples posts, and even commented on and borrowed some ideas from there. However, I am very much interested in finding others who share my interests in education through travel and so I think it would be beneficial to either find others in these groups that share that or to create a group of my own where people can join and contribute their thoughts.

As for my Long Term goals, I would like to refer to this article http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/06/06/how-to-build-a-global-tribe-fast-with-social-media/ by Jeff Bullas. In this article he talks about three things needed to build a "global tribe" as he calls it to use social media to harvest what you are passionate about. My passion is technology as a tool for learning, communication, collaboration, exploration, and connection. This is the first step of my long term goals. My motivation is to create a network of individuals who have the same passion as I do. There are so many things out there technology wise that can help children and adults learn and in a million years we will never learn about them all. However, we can bring them all a little bit closer if we are connected in a place where we can share our ideas. The ability to connect to the world is the next stepping stone to getting to my long term PLN goals. As Mr. Bullas says in this article Leverage is the final step toward my long term goals. Once I finish this degree program, I would like to create a global network of like minded people who want to make the flat world a little more accessible. I would like to use the tools that are currently out there like Facebook, youtube, and twitter. However, I would like to learn about new tools that we aren't yet aware of and maybe even create some of those tools within the group.

Personal Connections

Person to Person connections:

I am connected to my coworkers in many ways. My school encourages not only grade level planning but also vertical planning. We share our ideas with others in our school and that helps to bring all of our goals into focus. For example, in first grade our science goals include animal needs and wants, plants, and rocks and minerals. We are taking our students to the zoo because of how it ties in with out standards. We as a grade level decided that we wanted our students to study the habitats of the animals, do research on the animals, and create a report about them as well. Because we collaborate with others in our building, our librarian did sessions with them about each habitat, our computer teacher helped our students with the research, and our music and drama teachers have helped our students through music and drama to learn even more about their animals. We have put their pictures and habitats on the walls of the school and the students in first grade will share their reports with preschool through third graders this week. These types of personal connections not only help me to grow professionally but that knowledge spills out onto my students. There are others in my county that are helpful and beneficial connections such as instructional coaches for math and language arts. I have made many connections with others through Science work through a grant that my county received. These connections are part of who I am as a teacher and I know I can count on them when I need them and they respect me and my opinions as well.

Person to Internet Person connections:

I have many connections to people on the internet that help me to grow professionally and to share ideas with as well. I am one of many people who connect to others through Pinterest ideas. I share ideas I have found and use many ideas from this website. I am also connected by reading the blogs of others like Mrs. Terhune's First grade site and Curriculum Corner. The first site is a great place to learn about specific new ideas for teaching things to first grade in technological and relevant ways. The second site has great ideas that link up with the Common Core learning goals that many states are now embracing. I am also connected to others professionally through Linked-in. This website helps me to stay in touch with others in my profession.

Social Networks and Preferred Aggregates

The popplet below is a map to all of the networks to which I am currently connected. I have been connected to some of them for a long time and to others just recently. I thoroughly enjoy using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest because I can have conversations on Facebook about educational or personal topics, I can get quick responses to questions about education and technology through twitter, and I can find all kinds of ideas from first grade material, to technological material, to holidays and travel. I prefer these sites to the others but I also see the benefit of the others as well. I would likely use a live binder or a wiki to begin my own personal network where others contribute and join.

I recently have begun looking for educational ideas and professional connections in other places as well. I like how through Diigo and Google plus I can collaborate with my cohort members and share ideas. It really makes things a lot easier to complete assignments with these resources since we don't live in the same area. This can also be used in the future with connections anywhere in the world. I have also come to realize that You tube and Teacher tube can also be a wonderful resource to place me in the midst of others who are like minded about technology, teaching, and connecting to others. It would also be a challenging experience to be immersed in the opinions of others who may not think like I do but are also interested in the same things.

Summary of Online Participation

My participation in online networking is pretty extensive. I am constantly on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest discussing and learning about my interests in teaching. Through the Educators PLN, Proteachers.net, and Linked in I have been able to read about new ideas, technologies, and meet others who are involved in teaching, traveling, and learning. I would like to become more involved in these groups by submitting lesson plans, ideas, or interests. I am learning that I do have something to contribute to these sites. I have tried to share lesson plans, and thoughts but I am just getting started. I have participated in the network known as Pearltrees by bookmarking and sharing sites that are relevant in my life with others who are also a part of this system. I then get to see and use their links as well. It is a great way of putting everything in one place for further reference.