Personal Learning Networks

A Journey into Unfamiliar yet Interesting Territory...

Benefits to Participating in PLN's

Participating in PLN's is a natural step in any teachers' professional development. Teachers have very sharing natures and it makes a lot of sense to tap into ideas that like-minded colleagues have. Traditionally, this has happened within the walls of a school or within the boundaries of a county. Now with technology, teachers can share with each other all around the world. Blogs and social networking sites have made connecting, collaborating, and communicating super easy. With the majority of the states adopting Common Core curricula, teachers who are members of PLN's can discuss novel ways to teach more rigorous standards and can also have a forum to lament about testing and more stringent requirements.

So...I have joined PLNs..what now???

I have a variety of ideas of how to utilize my PLN for professional growth. I have become a member of a number of professional groups on social networks including LinkedIn, Twitter (I currently following Appalachian State, NSF, Math in the Middle School, Discovery Education, On this Day in Math, and Web20 classroom), Pinterest, Edmodo blogs for math and science teachers, a literacy in science wiki, and the Educators PLN. I discovered quickly how easy it is to join groups. As of now, I am mostly a purveyor of other people's contributions. I have gotten some great ideas for math and science activities from Pinterest (which I use regularly) and my science wiki. I have even contributed lesson plans and content vocabulary activities to the science wiki. I am still learning Twitter though. There are lots of tweets daily that I find relevant, but there are so many that sometimes it is hard to keep up with them all. I did "tweet" a response to someone's post, but I must admit, I still have a lot of learning left to do.


My long term goals with my PLN are simple...I would like to become more than an observer. I hope to become more of a contributor of my own ideas and suggestions. Even though it is easy to post in these forums, I am still a bit apprehensive. In time I hope to develop the necessary skills to become a prolific "poster", collaborator, and communicator on these networks. It is going to take some time and practice.


The groups that I tend to prefer are Pinterest (which I use professionally and personally...lots of great recipes, crafting ideas, etc.) , the Science wiki, and my Edmodo blogging groups. I have been participating in these groups for some time now, so I guess I like them best because of familiarity. With all that said, I wouldn't trade my "real life" co-workers for anything. They have been so instrumental to not only my professional success but are great friends ,too. Even though a plethora of networks are available, collaborating with my colleagues is still what I gravitate to. :)

How can I help other teachers get started? With a video like this...

Sketchy Explanation: Starting a PLN

Conclusion...

I have always known that teachers have lots of things to share and that they want to share with other people who understand and appreciate them. No matter where you start...in PLC's with teachers you know or on blogs or social networks...it is important that we keep sharing and collaborating. After all, it is what we expect from our students...

By: Melissa Gibson