The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

I and a few other teachers are wrestling with this question.  How do we carve out time from an already busy day to actively seek out connections and contribute to a personal learning network?  

I'm thinking about this differently than simply a set of steps on how to begin a PLN.  Richard Byrne created a great little presentation on that, and I've seen many since.  

My question is more about how these pieces (tweets, blog posting, social bookmarking, etc.) fit into a typical day's work/play/movement of life.  Do you designate certain minutes of each day?  How do you fit these around commitments to your family, faith community, sporting interests, etc.?  Do you use your phone or just your computer?  I guess I'm looking for specifics, such as those in this helpful blog post by Lisette Casey.  

I'd love to hear responses from this community, and thank you all in advance!  


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I find I use a variety of devices to check in with Twitter, my feed reader, and sites such as The Educator's PLN. I might use my iPod Touch to check in during lunch, my desktop in the early evening, and my laptop (or new iPad) while watching tv at night. When it gets overwhelming, I know it is time to step back and look for a better balance in my life.
Here are some real ideas that you might use to maximize the time:

1. Instead of going to the Teachers' Lounge during lunch to soak in the negative vibes, how about sitting at your desk eating your lunch and checking your twitter page?

2. Instead of making too many paper copies, put the worksheet on the interactive white board, do it as a group during class, and use the extra time you would've been copying or grading papers to check your PLN.

3. While waiting for your car to get an oil change, pick up your phone and check your twitter page. You can always email interesting links back to yourself and read them when there's more time if you want.

4. Do you have a bus duty? Can you convince your principal that you could be doing something more useful during that time like checking your PLN? Maybe your boss will rethink WHO is on duty (or the duty itself) and give you the extra time.

5. Spend time vegging and watching tv? Can you multi-task? Watch your favorite show and check your twitter page at the same time.

6. Reward yourself. Spend 15 minutes vacuuming? Spend 5 minutes checking your PLN.

7. Laying out at the pool or beach? Before you pick up at that magazine, take 5 minutes to check your PLN for just one new idea. Share it with 2 colleagues.

8. Email anything you find to your principal. He/she may share it with the teachers in your school. Not everyone will have to find the extra minutes.

9. Can you download a podcast and listen to it while you workout or walk your dog?

10. Keep your ears and eyes open! Can't your own building level colleagues be your PLN? Learn from the people you already work with!
Some great, practical additions, Morgan. Thanks for these! I really enjoy listening to Ed Tech Weekly in the car, though the Ed Tech Talk network hosts many valuable conversations. Thanks again for the recommendations!
Drew,
Thanks for starting this discussion. Reading your and many other thoughts have finally pushed me to start working on a PLN. I chosen this site as the starting point. I agree that in our busy lives how do we squeeze in this one more thing called a PLN. As the Technology Educator in my building I spend most of my day either helping staff implement technology projects in the classroom or troubleshooting one of the many problems that can appear when students and staff are attempting something new. I'm hoping that this site will make it easier for me to create, use, and expand my PLN. I understand we all need to keep up with technology, but ti shouldn't take over every waking minute of our day. There has to be a balance there, otherwise what are we really showing our students? I think that is what we all as educators should be aware of, that we all need to unplug from the world to sift through what we have learned that day. Not add more information on top of it. My two cents.
Joe,

I'm happy you've found Classroom 2.0! Best wishes as you start your PLN!

Your job sounds very similar to my own. If I can be of any help, or if one of your teachers would like to organize a collaborative project of some type, please feel free send me a note! If you've tried out Twitter yet, I'm drewmca there.

I look forward to seeing you around!
I managed to get back after about two weeks, not bad. I'm trying to at least review this site once a week. I figure it's better than nothing and allows me to do it when I have space in my personal schedule. I've found some groups that I have joined to monitor. Thinking positive about this whole experience.

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