Personal Learning Networks
for Professional Development
A personal learning network (PLN) allows you to collaborate with colleagues around the world around areas of interest to you professionally. We have provided some great ideas to help you get started.
There are thousands of tools from which to choose, but to get started, less is more. To begin with, we suggest starting with Twitter and blogs.
- Twitter: Don't let the 144 characters mislead you. Twitter is the easiest way to stay abreast of current practice, for teachers on the go. Authors, teachers, and great thinkers are sharing all the time. Canadian author, Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) tweets actively. Conversations in twitter are advanced with hashtags (i.e. #engchat). In addition to ongoing conversations, hashtags may be used during events, such as conferences, where attendees share what they are learning and include the hashatag. You can follow the hashtag and read all the great ideas and follow the links people share for your future reference. Oh yes, did we mention ELAC's on twitter too? Join the conversation with us at @elacata. Click for more detailed tips and tricks for Twitter!
- Blogs: When you find interesting people on Twitter, check their profiles for a URL at the bottom. Chances are they are blogging as well. Often when they blog, they will mention it on Twitter and include a link. Blogs are a great tool to allow people to share what they are thinking and learning, much like a news article. By tracking your favourite blogs in a blog reader, you can read more, on your own timelines. Google Reader is a free blog reader that will collect your blogs and share the most current posts at the top. Great blogs to follow for educators can be found at the Edublogs 2012 Awards website.
Evernote: Fantastic tool for keeping track of websites, multimedia content, and your notes. Your content can be accessed on the web and on your mobile devices easily. Evernote is the ultimate research tool for students too. Yup. It's free, too.
A personal learning network has to suit your needs. If a tool doesn't work for you, keep looking. The key here is seeing yourself as a learner, to get that curiosity going. Sharing your own passion for learning will fire that same excitement in your colleagues and your students.