Building and Growing Your Professional Learning Network
As another Connected Educator Month draws to a close, it is important to understand the many benefits of being connected with like-minded individuals in the educational profession. One way to do this is to take a look back at what it was like for educators before the advent of social media. Teachers entered the profession with very limited access to people with expertise – they could befriend veteran teachers, ask their department chair or administrator, or read educational journals when presented with a problem. The truly lucky ones had access to relatives or close friends who could share tips and tricks to get a rambunctious class under control, deal with difficult parents, or design a cool bulletin board.
Today’s educator has more access to information than at any other time in our history! Teachers can seek out experts via edWeb.net, Edmodo, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Skype, Pinterest, and other social media and educational websites. This new phenomenon has a name – a “Professional Learning Network” – and it is the greatest thing ever to happen to the educational profession! The only challenge for educators is curating and making sense of all the information available.
The help teachers can access takes many forms – it can be an a Twitter chat, a Facebook group, a collection of awesome bulletin board ideas on Pinterest, or my favorite… the edWeb webinar!
While social media has made it possible to interact with experts such as Lisa Dabbs, Eric Sheninger, Michael Fullan, Peggy George, and Todd Whitaker – it also gives unprecedented access to others who have walked in your shoes and have discovered through trial and error what works and what doesn’t.
So, how do YOU begin growing your PLN? The BEST way is to join Shannon Holden on Tuesday, November 3rd at 5 pm Eastern Time! We will discuss all the best ways to take advantage of what PLNs have to offer. See you then!
This post was written by Shannon Holden, middle school assistant principal. Shannon Holden has been a high school and middle school teacher and administrator, and a new teacher coach, in North Dakota, Texas, and Missouri for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @newteacherhelp.