The Educator's PLN

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I was considering becoming involved in implementing a PLN at our school. There is another staff member and myself who are meeting next week to discuss this. Just wondering if there are any schools out there who currently use this model (a ning) to collaborate? What are the advantages/disadvantages? What feedback have you gotten from your peers? Any information would be great! Thanks in advance.

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Our district is JUST beginning a Ning for the administrative team to collaborate and discuss ideas in between our monthly meetings. I can't tell you about the feedback, advantages, disadvantages, etc., yet, but I certainly look forward to sharing the experience as it goes along, and to hear what other people have to say.
I use a closed Ning for my methods students. We have expanded it to include Profs and pre-service teachers. It is that ning which I used as a model for the Educator's PLN. We have found this most helpful in enabling collaboration. It also offers students to Chat and exchange info prior to presentations. It is like a pressure relief valve. The students encourage and calm each other during the process. Since it is a closed Ning we have full control of membership. It is a great way to train students before sending them out into the hard cruel internet world without a plan or an understanding of the potential for learning and collaboration.
Are there currently any schools that use this type of format for their teachers to collaborate?
We, Technology Coordinators, use a Ning to collaborate with teachers in our schools, distrrict, and globally. We balance the use with face to face sessions. I think the face to face sessions keep it going. The fact that teachers posting their technology integration needs get answers and the face to face session makes it work http://digitallearningexperiences.ning.com We are early in our development but so far so good.
Two years ago, I tried to use Moodle to start this very same thing. Although it wasn't really called a PLN then, we were trying to find a better way to get our school "committees" to collaborate instead of having one or two people make decisions for groups or the whole school.

Here's what I found- No one ever went to the Moodle page. I got frustrated. No one did any collaboration and they told me that I should just send them an email. They couldn't be bothered to check another website because it wasn't natural to them to do so.

After Moodle, I wondered also if it was the format, it didn't seem simple enough for the teachers... So, I tried Google Groups. I thought it was an easier format and it could send emails reminding the teachers to check the page. The downfall with that one was that it was blocked at school so everyone had to check it at home, which most were not willing to do.

Frustration again.

I think it all depends on your staff, your level of patience, and your frustration threshold.

I am willing to try again. :) I've invited all my colleagues to join this Ning (and gotten 2 to join so far). :)

Shawn, I know you wrote this post back in January... did you try it out yet? How's it working?
We use wiki's, skype and twitter to communicate with our PLN. We have found that these tools are moer universal and can easily be shared inside and outside of our school. Our students use a school-wide Ning to collaborate with eachother.
I am thinking of starting one as well. Wondering whether a moodle would be better for a closed school environment. Look forward to hearing what you learn.
Yeah, that's really a great idea. And ning is a good SNS application. I have been using ning for a long time. But a problem i have encountered is how to organize the menmbers in ning. And how to encourage the members to interact. Furthermore, i am reseaching in the topic of "SNS in education". Please let me be informed in your project. And i will be happy learn from you.
This sounds like a interesting idea, I also think this would be valuable for any of your school behavioral staff or private organization that work in schools such as wraparound(tss). When you guys have tried this in school was there a backlash of people worried about putting there ideas or views out there to others in writing. Im wondering if someone may go beyond the schools rules on using technology or get in trouble for giving innovative ideas that the administrators might not want people trying.

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