Recently, I did a technology training workshop via Skype to teachers in Michigan. I have to thank Dave Sapp, a wonderful technology specialist, for this opportunity. I am located in Germany so I really enjoy doing Skype training with people from all over the world. The topic was PLNs. I began by directing each of the participants to look at each other, because these were already members of their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), because these are the educators they go to for support, training, resources, and support! I was happy to see the teachers hug themselves and show appreciation to each other when I spoke these words.
Where Do We Begin?
Most of us who have seen the benefits of social media and PLNs want other educators to participate. I believe that sharing at the local level is where we should begin. If the educators at our school are already collaborating with each other and sharing resources then the leap to sharing on social media is not that huge. Primarily, the teachers have already seen the benefits of having a PLN at the school. For this reason, I love Alice Ayel’s recent idea to start a teacher club at her school for sharing resources. Also, I love how Dave Sapp has his own teachers in the school provide training during professional development days. These are fantastic ways to support the ideas of PLNs.
Why Should This be the Goal?
I don’t need to convince you of the power of PLNs if you already use social media. However, I can tell you a little bit about my growth. Did you know that I’ve been blogging and using Twitter for less than a year? I really started using Twitter in May. Since then, I started blogging and now my blog is up for the different Edublog Awards I’ve listed in the side bar. I cannot thank you enough for the nominations! Moreover, I have participated in online and face-to-face conferences. I have met other PLN members in Berlin, France, Poland, and LA. Before my Twitter birthday comes up, I plan on meeting many more of you. I have collaborated with schools all over the world and have had some of you be so fantastic as to share your experiences on my blog. Please look on the sidebar to read stories from guest bloggers from all over the world! I have been able to converse with Alfie Kohn through Edchat. How amazing is this?! I wake up every day excited to be part of this amazing conversation with my PLN, you! A little less than a year ago I was not connected to any of you and neither were my students. Now, my students and I learn from you daily. Many of you are like my additional family and I am humbled that you have supported me. In fact, you have made some of my family members believe in the power of PLNs. They no longer think my Twittering or blogging is a big joke! 😉
Our Difficult Jobs
Most importantly, you have rekindled my passion for continuous learning, growth, and self-reflection. As educators we have very tough jobs. We are responsible for the learning of society. What we do impacts students’ daily lives and futures. We are not paid enough and never appreciated enough. We do not have all the answers to the myriad of situations we face daily, such as students with learning disabilities, classes that lack resources, mixed ability classes, culture issues, security issues, poverty, and more. None of us were trained to handle all these obstacles which often coincide. Therefore, collaboration and resource sharing is the key. If every teacher had a PLN to turn to, then every teacher would have their own community working to solve these tough issues. If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy reading these posts:
Set some plans for helping educators in your community become part of a PLN!
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Which ways have you encouraged resource sharing among the educators at your school?
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