Building More than Just a Support Team

PLN….

Personal Learning Network….

I must be honest, up until this morning, I had not a clue to what a PLN was. I had assumptions, yes, but had never really even heard of them or looked into them.

However, after a morning of research, thanks to Google, I think I understand them now. Here’s what I’m thinking :

Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, are communities build by and made up of teachers, educators, and experts on all things education. They are a group who connects, shares, inspires, supports, and collaborates to help each other. They share ideas, activities, thoughts, advice, and opinions. They can be a teacher’s saving grace when out of ideas or out of motivation. And I think I want one!

From my research I have found, PLNs have been around for some time.

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Photo CC – By Jurgen Appelo

At first, they were made of fellow teachers in your building or district, family, and friends. They were there to support you, most often face-to-face.

Fast forward to today and PLNs are mostly online. Educators and experts find each other online and build a community to offer the same things as before, just in a different form or medium. Twitter seems to be, resoundingly, the most popular means of connection. Blogs are also a major contributing tool.

After learning just what a PLN was, I began to look into how to create and build one. A major tip was finding other people on Twitter to follow. And let me just say, this takes time. I googled lists of top educators to follow and then sifted through names to find people who were teaching my desired grade level and/or sharing information about early childhood.

(I had to take a break because my eyes got tired from looking at my screen so long.) I also an in the process of finding people who are blogging about education, specifically early childhood.

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Photo CC – By Yoel Ben-Avraham

(By the way, if you have any people you think I should be following on Twitter or by blog, drop their names below!)

 

While I think PLNs sound awesome and wonderful, I hesitate. The introvert in me is screaming at the thought of talking and connecting with total strangers from around the country and sometimes, the world. This will be something that I will work to overcome. I am inspired by the success stories and positive from those engaged in their PLN. I have read up on the benefits and am sure good and positive things will come from my developing a PLN, I just need to continue to remind myself of that!

A PLN will be fantastic for me, as a new educator, but also for my students.

If I can have access to people who support my ideas, give me new ones, and challenge me to be better; my students will reap the benefits. And after all, my students are the reason I chose to become a teacher and want to be the best one I can!

I am excited by the potential, inspired by the hope, and motivated by the connection that my own Personal Learning Network will bring to my life and teaching career.

 

I leave you with a tweet that I think is a great representation of the benefits of a PLN for teachers!

 

Sincerely,

A Teacher on a Mission to Build a Community

 

#diglitclass

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4 thoughts on “Building More than Just a Support Team

  1. I love that you mention how difficult it is to find and follow the right people. I, too, Googled lists and searched Twitter chats trying to find the right list of people to connect with. It definitely took some time! I also really enjoyed your thought on how a PLN can be a “teacher’s saving grace.” How true is that?! When I’m needing motivation or a pick-me-up in my personal life, I find myself searching on Twitter for funny tweets. Awesome that it can help with professional times as well!

    • Regan, yes! I try to continue to find new people each time I get on Twitter. I also follow some people who share funny tweets and memes! It’s awesome that we can turn to people who have had similar experiences for inspiration and motivation! Thanks for reading and the comment!

  2. Cara,
    I agree that these networks can not only offer us advice and be a place to share it, but they are also a place for us to find new energy and ideas. A place to be re-inspired or encouraged! Which no doubt we will all need every now and then. i know i will; especially being a new teacher and still having a ton to learn. It helps to ease my mind a little that i now have a network of people and organizations who can help me out. And another nice thing is that i can continue to build/grow that network; i am not limited as to who i can and can’t follow.
    Skyler

    • Hi Skyler, I agree with you that my network helps to ease some of my worries and concerns. I, too, love that we can change or adapt our network. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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