PLN (Professional Learning Network) is a concept you see very frequently while reading about professional development. It seems professional development has taken a different path. Before, it used to mean teachers and administrators sitting in a room, listening to a lecture and then being asked to apply in their classrooms. Today, it takes on a whole different conception. Teachers and administrators can learn through a more collaborative form. On the internet it can be done through several social media like Twitter, Facebook and Blogger, amongst others. These applications provide a space where questions can be asked, people can share their creations and expect feedback from other experts in the field or colleagues from all around the world. The internet allows a multi-dimensional communication; it brings people together. An example of this would be, to read an article on the internet, research the author, follow him/her on twitter and asking them to clarify something you didn’t understand or to maybe skype with them or your classroom. You are in charge of your learning. One of the advantages of having a PLN as part of your professional development is that you decide to act on the interests you have and the areas you would like to explore. A very important advantage is that it is FREE. Many times a school will opt not to have many PD workshops because of the monetary aspect. “To be prepared for today’s classrooms, teachers must make social networks part of both their students’ learning and their own professional growth” (Blake-Pock,2012)
How do I manage all the websites, blogs and people I want to follow?
This task seems impossible to do. I know that is how I feel. David Warlick is an educator and he shares 10 tips for creating, cultivating, and pruning your PLN . He stresses on the importance to balance your time. It can easily pull you in. You can follow a link someone in the twitterverse posted and from there click on a video and son on and so forth. These are some tools to lead an organized PLN:
IFTTT cross shares information from different social media.
Storify lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative.
Blake-Plock, S. (2012). Preparing technology-connected teachers. Educational Leadership, 69(8). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/may12/vol69/num08/Preparing_Technology-Connected_Teachers.aspx
Warlick, D. (2009) Grow Your Personal Learning Network. (page 29)