A Personal Learning Network, put simply, is the name for a professionals connections to a variety of resources. These resources could include blogs, websites, social media, or even other educational professionals. The larger your Personal Learning Network is, the more information that will be available for your use. As one creates more and more connections, one would feel more empowered and prepared as an educator.
I believe that having a PLN is very important, and I believe that it will be extremely beneficial to me when I become a high school teacher. It would give me a place to vent, to get ideas, and to feel supported and understood. As the phrase goes: two heads are better than one.
Here are some potential ways in which I will use some of the available resources to create my own PLN:
When I am a new teacher, I will have many questions. I greatly look forward to being able to discuss and learn from more experienced teachers. I am sure they have a wealth of advice and information that could be extremely helpful in getting settled into my own classroom.
I definitely plan to continue to follow educational blogs, as well as those written by other teachers. If I ever felt frustrated or confused about something, I could go here and see what other teachers have done to solve similar situations!
Creating A Blog
By creating my own blog, I could potentially help someone else to build their own Personal Learning Network! When I come up with classroom ideas for assignments or projects, perhaps I could share them with the community to give other teachers ideas for their own classrooms! As I become a teacher myself and gather experience, I am sure I will be able to come up with my own advice to share with others.
By using the internet, I will be able to access all of the necessary standards for the history classes I will be teaching. I can find rubrics and lesson plan ideas. I am a member of sharemylesson.com where there are endless rubric and classroom suggestions. This is an extremely helpful website! Additionally, I can access websites like pinterest, where I am able to pin ideas that I like to access later. I already have a pin board for classroom ideas started, and I am not even teaching yet!
It is my understanding from speaking to teachers, that some of them are required to go to conferences out of town during the summer, depending on the subject they focus on. If I am required to go to one of these, I believe that this will be one of the best connections available to add to my PLN. Conferences host speakers, workshops, and of course… will be attended by hundreds of other teachers! In this type of situation, I could potentially make dozens of new connections. I honestly hope there is something like this for history teachers!
The opportunities are endless! Now lets imagine for a moment that one did not have a PLN in place. They would be doing everything on their own, and would be cutting themselves off from endless learning opportunities. Perhaps an easier way to do something would be the buzz on the online world, but this person would have no knowledge of it. They would miss out a plethora of technology that is currently available. Cutting themselves off from other teachers would be the most problematic. Closing yourself off from people makes them much less likely to help you or to get to know you at all. In this regard, you will not be helping them either!
If you are interested in learning more about PLN’s, there are many resources available online. I searched for “Personalized Learning Networks” on google and found a wealth of information! Here is a very informative website where you can learn about the basics. This video I found online is also very helpful in explaining the foundations of a PLN.