We’ve all heard the abbreviation “PLN”, which stands for Personal Learning Network. If we take each word separately, we can easily define a PLN as a network of people and resources used by an individual for the purposes of learning. If we use the definition of a PLN provided by Wikipedia, which states that a PLN is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from, we see that Twitter definitely fits the bill. In “The Blue Birds are Tweeting” Parts 1 and 2 I introduced you to the Twitter basics and how you can search Twitter for topics that interest you. Now I want you to consider utilizing Twitter as part of your own PLN.
I know it may be a stretch for you to think of a social media outlet as a meaningful source of information. After all, you’ve been using social media, like Facebook, mainly as a way to connect with friends from the past, stay up-to-date with far away family, and as a way to be nosy and see what other people are doing. At least, that’s how I used social media up until recently. That is, until I discovered how remarkably valuable social media, especially Twitter, can be since its a giant hub of information geared towards educators at all levels and content areas. As I mentioned in Part 1, it’s the educators who are the most passionate and knowledgeable about their field who are sharing on sites like Twitter and Edmodo (I’m dedicating a whole new series of posts to Edmodo, so stay tuned). Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to connect and communicate with the best and brightest the world has to offer?! Have a question about something or need a lesson idea for next week? Post it! If you make use of those hashtags mentioned in Part 2, you’ll have many tips and suggestions in no time.
Let me give you an example. Last week I was having some issues with syncing our school’s iPad carts. My frustration level was through the roof! I jumped on Twitter, sent out a request for help, and in less that 5 minutes, I had 7 responses. One gentleman even went so far as to email me a step-by-step guide (with pictures!) to help me out. I was able to use the responses to solve my problem, and I was oh-so happy to finally have syncing those darn carts down to a science…after 7 months.
In addition to receiving responses and feedback super fast, Twitter has become my go to source for news on the latest educational apps and websites, as well as a curator of sorts for blogs that are useful to me. Instead of spending hours searching for an app or website to use, or combing through blog posts for something applicable to my situation, I spend 15 minutes a day on Twitter and get more ideas and information than I can use in a month. As a PLN, I’ve not found any website or community that is more active than Twitter. The tweets never stop! So, it’s time to bite the bullet and set up your account! Its free, by the way. Who doesn’t want free professional development?!? What are you waiting for?
I’ve listed some of the educator-gurus that I’m following below. Check them out, and don’t forget to connect with me: @BoucherLauren!
People to Follow:
Kevin Honeycutt: @kevinhoneycutt
Shelly Terrell: @ShellTerrell
Jerry Swiatek: @jswiatek
Jayme Linton: @jaymelinton
Lisa Johnson: @TechChef4u
Sean Junkins: @sjunkins
Steven Anderson: @web20classroom
Vickie Davis: @coolcatteacher
Richard Byrne: @rmbyrne