Inspired once again by my PLN, I have begun a thirty day challenge sponsored at Edublogs by Michael Graffin. I hope to complete most of the challenge activities as a model of learning for my students and community. Our first task is to comment on the Real People, Real Teachers VoiceThread on what is a PLN and how it has affected me.
Next, we post about building and engaging in a PLN.
First of all —
What is it– a PLN?
As shown in the video “We Connect Video” by Shelly Terrel on Real People, Real Teachers VoiceThread by Michael Graffin
Passion –> Pass It On
in a global connection, a global community, a united world:
A PLN passes the passion on and on….
In a PLN,
to learn and share
to become better
personally and professionally;
lessons, blogs, posts
to share and revise with other educators
to engage student learning;
on blogs, wikis, Google Apps
to add more, create more, connect more
for improving student learning;
people curate resources
and their revisions to
PLN is for everyone…
PLN = Passion Living Network
By sharing and following our passions through connections and collaboration with others around the world, we demonstrate life-long learning for our students.
How has my PLN helped me?
My students and I have met people all over the world through Skype, blogs, wikis, Edmodo, Google Apps for Education, and VoiceThread. We found the people and learned the tools through my PLN.
I am helping other teachers at my school learn the tools, thanks to my PLN.
Several of our staff started blogs, and my PLN commented on their new blogs after a tweet from me asking for help.
How have I helped my PLN?
I have offered suggestions to queries, answered polls and surveys, blogged about needed changes or to support needed programs as requested by my PLN.
My students shared a Native American dance through Skype in a cultural sharing. They debated in an international debate through VoiceThread. They shared cyber safety with schools far away.
All of these projects and activities occurred only because the world is globally connected now, and the social media of twitter, blogs, wikis, Skype, Nings provide the networking of relationships and ideas to allow the opportunities to happen.
How did I start?
I started with Twitter. I linked to blogs. I commented. I emailed the blog authors for more information. I connected with the authors and then Skyped for the conversation and developmet of class projects. I linked from Twitter and blogs to tech tools like Edmodo, VoiceThread, and nings. I joined LearnCentral, Classroom 2.0, and Educators PLN. I attended webinars in Elluminate to further relationships and knowledge of “how to” use and apply the tools in the classroom. Now, I’m sharing what I’ve learned so others can plan their paths to follow their passions.
What does this mean?
The world is filled with people to help and reciprocate. We are life-long learners. We are thankful that “geeks” share.
What could you do?
Start small. Cross the bridge one step at a time.
1. Join Twitter. Listen to the conversation, retweet, and reply.
2. Link from Twitter to blogs; comment.
3. Start a blog. Here are Six Summer Blogging Ideas
4. Join one of the networks above and participate — create your profile and page.
5. Build your online identity:
a. Make sure you create your profile on Twitter or any place you join — you don’t need to share everything, but do acknowledge who you are, what you do, and your interests. Think of yourself at a conference or a get-together. You want people to know about your ideas and work, but not necessarily your personal information. Most often, you can leave your email private, yet followers can still email you to contact you.
b. You are setting your online identity — every area is a path back to you. Three links that may help you with online conversations: Comment Considerations Netiquette Simply Said . I believe in being transparent — showing who I am and basic information about my work and ideas. It’s a courtesy.
What step will you take to build your bridge to the 21st Century?
Bridge: By Sheri Edwards
What a thoughtful and dynamic post! This is worth tweeting about! I think I found you on Twitter and will refer to this post as well.
I like how you explained that maintaining your PLN is part of your life, but there needs to be a balance. With 3 active children and husband, I need to use the times when I’m not overlapping my professional and personal lives. That’s not easy to do.
It is not easy to do, and remember that one small contribution that you add may save the day for someone else. Thanks for stopping by!
your post is really inspiring. The thing that I am struggling with is how to make sure that I maintain my connections even when I don’t have time to contribute. How do you do that?
Great question, Anna
Remember that your PLN is part of your life, not your whole life. When time gets crunched, check in with Twitter at least once a week Retweet your favorites. Reply to your “closest” tweeples. Share one important new blog, tool, or trick of your own or someone else’s. Spend more time when you can. If you are blogging, set up a reminder on a calendar to blog at least biweekly. I teach full time and am the tech coordinator, so my time is very full. However, my PLN IS my inspiration and first “go to” place. And when you notice a new twitterer or blogger, welcome them with an idea or link related to their interests (see their About info) or a comment on their blog. And be sure to share who you are and your professional interests in each of your profiles so others can connect with you if they share similar interests Michael Graffin talks about balance here:
Good luck, and I will visit your blog after my visit with my grandkids. Balance. Thanks for asking such a needed question.
How to keep up with blogs.
Keep your blogroll on your one blog for your favorite reads. Sue Waters explains here:
Then use Feed readers for others:
Subscribe to your favorite blogs in an RSS reader. Here is Sue Water’s explanation using student blogs as an example, but any blog with RSS will work (Sue explains that too):
If you are a Facebook user, this will work too:
Sheri, thank you for sharing all the ways you’ve connected your students with the world. It’s so exciting to read about the amazing things a PLN can enable us to do!
Thanks, Kimberly, for stopping by. I like your post on building your PLN at conferences in the real world as well as the virtual world. Good tips. Sheri
Once again, you’ve inspired me! Michael is right, this is a brilliant post. I appreciate how original your posts are, and powerful.
In building PLN, I have to say the toughest part for me was to recognize the need, then to recognize the best way to fill that need is through PLN (as opposed to just P.D. at school or reading a book in isolation).
I am super excited about this challenge!
Hi Tracy, Thanks for the compliment. I think people don’t believe how powerful a “network” is. As I think of what you, Michael, and Shelly have said, and flashback to all the wonderful Classroom Live 2.0 Eluminate sessions I’ve chatted in, I realize how I did take baby steps to create and participate in a PLN. That means I need to be patient with those who don’t understand yet the adventure and knowledge that awaits them. I think this reflection may also add to my classroom management and homework — using the metaphor of an online network to build a classroom network that expands online for my students. Who’s in your class network today? Who in your network last week could also help you? Seems possible… it could add to the discussion of online identity and digital citizenship. But again, without the questions and ideas from my PLN, would I have thought of this? Thanks to all for sharing so much !
Hi Sheri. This post is simply brilliant – and I loved listening to your response on my Real People, Real Teachers Voicethread.
Would you mind if used this post as reference material for my upcoming #RSCON3 presentation?
Thanks, Michael, and you may include the post in your presentation. I was inspired by your Teacher Challenge post and all the other excellent reflections on the Voice Thread, especially Shell Terrell’s addition of the T into Passion to be Pass iT on… Thanks Shelly, Michael, and those commenting on your VoiceThread. Sheri