Here is my latest attempt to change the world.
The new buzz word of the educational community is PLN ~ Personal Learning Network. Hey, I'm as guilty as the next gal of embracing the latest and greatest (in my opinion) and running with it, for awhile anyway. That brings me to these Personal Learning Networks. It used to be that in order to obtain professional development, teachers had to take college classes, or sign up for seminars, or sit in professional libraries and pretend to, er, I mean, read textbooks to earn credits. I'm not sure how much of that "learning" was because teachers really wanted to learn or because teachers really wanted to earn ~ Yearn to Learn v. Learn to Earn ~ (another subject, another post, another rant, another day).
But as students learning has evolved, so has their teachers'. Most of us, at least in my world, don't sit in college classes, read textbooks, do homework on paper, and turn in papers in shiny, slippery report covers anymore (ew!), do we? At least, unless we have no choice (see above..."learn to earn"). Instead, most of us are turning to what has come to be called our Personal Learning Networks (PLN). I've been curious about what these PLNs are to different people, so I've been taking a pulse around the blogosphere, Twittersphere, etc. and the consensus is pretty much the same.
PLNs are learning networks that are created by the individual, specific to the needs of the individual. They are ever changing and fluid. People belong to multiple PLNs, often without even realizing it. Here's an example of mine:
One of the things I'm interested in is engaging teachers in my school district in conversations that will encourage them to shift their ways of teaching today's students. I want to them understand how today's students learn and think and how they can teach to today's (and tomorrow's) learning styles. I want our teachers to HAVE CONFIDENCE! And I want them to question what they hear and not be limited by stuff (such as hardware and platform).
So, although I really never thought of it this way, my PLN consists of:
- My peers who I eat lunch with because, although we laugh and have a good time, we also spend a good deal of time solving the world's edtech's problems. They know who they are. They are reading this, but not commenting... what does that say about them, huh? :)
- The bloggers whose posts I read and I glean information from in a passive manner (they don't know who I am and we don't converse) but I do learn from them and I do talk AT them (by commenting sometimes). For example: 2centsworth and webblogged
- The bloggers whose posts I read and who converse with me by responding to my posts and, in some cases, I've even been able to meet and establish real-life human relationships with. For example: Fischbowl and Teach42 and TechThoughtsbyJen.
- My Discovery Educator Network. You think this group starts out as JUST a group of teachers who like to use DE streaming in the classroom, but what you soon realize is that the DEN is a full-fledged, robust PLN in itself. Every person, every personality, every level of knowledge is warmly welcomed and has something to share. A nice place to call home.
- My Twitter network. Sign on, send out a tweet, let your peeps know what you're doing. When I'm online, I'm usually doing something like I am right now... I'm blogging, reading a blog, surfing the Internet for educational resources, etc. My Twitter network tends to do the same things and we let each other know when we happen on something interesting. We also let each other know when our kids hit their first homerun or when we are suddenly snowed in. All work and no play makes all work and no play! I like to play.
- Professional organizations: ASCD, FACE, ISTE, etc. (not as much fun, but still lots to learn there)
- Can't think of others right now, but if you are member of my PLN, and you ARE if you are reading this, perhaps you can help me by commenting... hmmm?