Developing a PLN
To me, developing a PLN seems like a bit of an obvious step. Of course teachers communicate with one another about best practices and the difficulties of their jobs. And in the modern age, of course they do so in ways that are not always directly face to face. So much of the learning I have already done has taken place in networks such as this, so why wouldn't the rest of it? For example, when I was working on the newspaper in college, the only ways we had to learn about how to actually make a newspaper were through one another and an extended PLN. We read blogs, watched videos, attended conferences, spoke to other journalists, interacted on social media, and did really anything we could to access the wide world of information out there about how to be successful journalists. One of the most interesting things about the teaching profession is how vibrant, long-distant communities exists already. There are so many teachers out there who are willing and excited to share what they know and ask questions of other people that not engaging in these networks would feel like I was not doing my job to its fullest. As Katie hinted at below though, there is the paradox in education in which we have so many possibilities to share information online with other teachers but are expected to keep this absolutely hidden from our students. I think that we have all grown up with social media (not that it has been there since we were children, but that it has matured as we have) and know a great deal about the dangers of using social media incorrectly. I think the important thing is making sure that you are appropriate in what you are sharing online and that you have very high privacy settings. Also, having a name that is difficult to search because it is a very common word is helpful.
Some key things I took away from these pieces:
- I already have the resources to engage in most of these PLN platforms mentioned. Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, etc. are all parts of my social media world and I could very easily add an educational aspect to my usage of them.
-It is important to keep in mind that a network is not just one thing and not always two-way. What I mean is, a network does not just refer to a twitter conversation, but could also refer to a conversation in real life. And engaging in a network does not always mean creating something to add to it, but can simply mean taking it in.
-A PLN will never happen if you don't start somewhere! As hard as it might be to start a PLN because of all the information that is out there, finding a way that works for you and implementing that is the first step to creating a useful PLN.