Props to PLNs

Personal Learning Network. PLN. Network of personal learning. No matter how you say it, if you do not know the definition, it sounds high tech and frightening. After reading a few articles and watching a video or two about PLNs, I am here to tell you they are nothing to be scared of. A PLN is a hand-picked network of people who have similar interests as you who you choose to follow on any form of social media. This video helped explain the concept of a PLN in a way I could understand.

I think one of the best parts of us learning about PLNs now is we have now, the time before we even begin teaching, all the way through retirement to create, build and learn from our PLN. Who knows? Maybe somewhere in our teaching career PLNs will seem low tech and old school in comparison to what the future holds.

I like to believe PLN s always have existed in some form. Before the world wide web, teachers could still collaborate ideas with each other at conferences and in the teacher’s lounge. When there were schoolhouses instructed by just one teacher, there was still a schoolboard member by once a term the teacher could prod for advice. These networks differed from ours because they were not as larger, or personal, but they were still learning networks.

“Practice what you preach.” Modern educational research is pushing group work now more than ever before. This is yet another reason educators need to come together –  we know all the benefits of teamwork, so why not use it for ourselves? Just like our students, we can learn from each other and keep each other in check. Unlike a group assignment, PLNs are completely personal. We get to pick the tools we use, who is in it, how much we participate and what topics circulate through.

As I begin to build my PLN, I am going to look for both well known names and everyday teachers just trying their best for their students. I want to network with people of all ages to gain as many points of view as I can. I plan on using Twitter and Feedly as my main tools. I am so glad we are beginning this process now and not two or three years into teaching!

 

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7 thoughts on “Props to PLNs

  1. I love how you talked about the fact that we will get to start building our PLN’s before we even start teaching, and continue them until we retire. It makes me feel like we are ahead of the game because we have access to so many resources! Like you said, PLN’ s have always been around, just in a different method. Many of the articles I looked at also mentioned that teaching conferences are another great way to increase your PLN. It doesn’t have to be solely created online, but can be done in person as well! Great post!

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    1. I am more than slightly obsessed with Little House on the Prairie and the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and I always find myself comparing modern education to her schoolhouse days. That is where I got the idea to write about PLNs in different time periods!

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  2. I like how you mentioned in your post that we can use our PLNs until retirement! We can always be building and growing and learning from our network of people who help us advance in our career! I think there is something to those low tech ways of the teacher’s lounge chats, and the bouncing off of ideas with admin’s and board members. I think that we need to have balance, remember to be a team player in person at our school district and also implement ideas from our PLNs! Great Post!

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  3. It did seem kind of high tech and scary at first! After researching though it did not seem so bad at all and ended up being pretty simple. I think we have an advantage because starting now we get to begin building our PLN’s. You are right, they are personal, and we get to pick and choose. I honestly wonder what PLN’s were like before technology and the worldwide web. Sure there were conferences and everything, but did teachers communicate with each other if they were from different schools after the conference? It is interesting to think about. Great post!

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