This graphic depicts the myriad of resources our educators have at their fingertips. These aren't just Wikipedia, Google, and Flickr. The networked teacher is connected to the world of education through a plethora of social media including Twitter, Blogger, and Pinterest.
It's not about the tools, it's about using tools to access the wisdom, creativity and experience of your worldwide colleagues to enrich your students' learning experiences and make your life easier.
PLN is an acronym that has many meanings and connotations. Primarily, it is a network of people and resources that we use in our everyday lives both personally and professionally.
Personal (Professional) Learning Network - This is the set of connections that you use in your personal or professional life. With most educators, there is a drastic overlap between their personal and professional lives so making the distinction is not necessarily important. What is important is how we build our PLN and what we do to grow it as needed. What is important is how we contribute to our PLN so that others can benefit from our experiences as much as we benefit from theirs.
Why are PLNs important? Here are a couple of educators who share the true meaning of using PLNs in their personal and professional lives. The first video is an elementary school teacher explaining how integral his PLN is in his life. The second is a technology coordinator who explains his strategy for growing his PLN over the year.
Almost makes you want to pop open your Tweetdeck to see what has appeared over the past hour, doesn't it?
Sure, your PLN can include a collection of Twitter pals, favorite Bloggers and interesting Flickr collections, but this is just the beginning. Kathy Schrock, one of the leading educational technology specialists, has created a 25-minute webinar about how to use and build your PLN.
Students Use PLNs Too
Creating PLNs isn't just for teachers. Students can find opportunity in organizing their resources. This next video was produced by a 7th grade science student who is taking you on a tour of her PLE (Personal Learning Environment). She has used Symbaloo as a simple way to create a page of resources that she can use for her research all year long. Notice that she is even connecting with scientists around to world as part of her research. Can you see how this tool could be useful for your students? (Notice that she has over 85,000 views - someone thinks this is important.)