The personal learning network for educators
A PLN is a Personal Learning Network. It sounds very cool and it's an idea that is gaining ground. Because of all the social media sites that are available to teachers, you can find anyone that is a mentor or inspiration for you and what you do.
Since I'm the only technology teacher in my building, I don't get to talk to other tech teachers about the challenges I face in my school. It helps to talk to other teachers who face the same challenges.
So how did I build my PLN? Like anything I attempt, I started small and grew it slowly.
I started checking into websites that were a vital resource to my classroom.
I started going to professional development opportunities and connecting with the people running and attending them. From all that, I started to build my network.
At one PD, we went around the room introducing ourselves. I was the only one without a Twitter handle. I felt naked. They spent the next 20 minutes convincing me to join Twitter, which I thought was silly, but I find now is a constant inspiration. I follow teachers that are doing amazing things in the classroom and they inspire me. They also let me know what is the latest and best resource for me to try.
The website connected to common sense media, called Graphite, is where teachers can post reviews for a variety of educational resources. It's not the manufacturer talking, its the teacher who actually uses it. Their opinions are invaluable.
Lisa Nielsen works for the NYCDOE Tech Department and has literally taken over my Facebook feed with all the material she shares. She doesn't seem to sleep, since she posts all hours of the day and night. I worry about her sometimes.
I follow the blogs of influential educators, like Tom Whitby and Alice Keeler. Starr Stackstein is a twitter and blog guru. I could name more, but you should find the people that speak to you. Reading their posts will feel like sitting in on a lecture from an amazing professor.
Do yourself a favor, and find your tribe. You shouldn't go it alone.