Day 22: What does your PLN look like, and what does it to for your teaching?
What's a PLN? A PLN in an acronym for Personal Learning Network and I've had one since my very first year teaching.
Over the past few years, it's been an amazing source of support, encouragement, resources and ideas. My first connection to a PLN was through Twitter, surprisingly. I had signed up for the Twitter while I was still in college, but never really found a use for it.
Why would I want to follow Ashton Kutcher and receive 120-character updates on my phone? I didn't find a good use for Twitter until I started teaching.
In my first year, I was excited. I was frustrated. I wanted to do everything for my students. I didn't have time to do anything for myself. I wanted to discover what other educators were doing, and not just the ones down the hall. I wanted to find out what worked outside of Loveland. Outside of Colorado. Twitter plugged me in.
Actually, it was #edchat. I remember it was on Tuesday afternoons and I had to either rush home so I could follow the weekly topic on TweetDeck, or I would have to stay late at school so that I wouldn't miss it. I slowly started following others on Twitter who taught a similar grade level or content that I was interested in. Eventually I built a virtual PLN.
I found some of the best education websites, teacher blogs, lesson ideas and resources on Twitter. My Twitter PLN became a sounding board for ideas. A place to ask questions that I may have been too embarrassed to ask in real life. The catch all for decompression after a long day of teaching.
My PLN today now consists of educators on Twitter as well as a great group of teachers in my building and district. A strong PLN can be worth more than any training, class or PD that I could ever imagine.
If you're reading this, you're part of it! Thanks for your help.