As teachers, we have a responsibility to keep learning. We owe it to our students. If we want them to become lifelong learners, then we certainly should model that mindset as well. Being a lifelong learner doesn’t and shouldn’t be relegated to sitting in a graduate level course week after week either, although I will say there is something to be said for traditional learning too. However with a wealth of collaborative websites at our disposal developing your professional learning network is as easy as one, two, three. One: find a site(s) that meets your professional needs. Two: join that site and spread the word! Three: routinely check that site, post to it, and read what other teaching professionals have to share as well.
As stunning as it may sound, Twitter is one of my best sites for developing a PLN. I “attend” weekly chats based on a variety of educational issues. I have developed a list of teacher contacts that can assist me in a variety of ways from ideas to technology issues. Whether your interested in math, reading, administration, technology, or blogging in the classroom there is a Twitter chat for that! Check out this calendar of available Twitter chats and then follow one sometime. To follow a chat search for the assigned hash tag (#). The calendar of educator-related chats is available to help you navigate your way through the Twitteratti!
Another great site for developing your professional learning network is TeachHub. This is another free to use site that’s sole purpose is to connect educators around the world. Have a question, need a lesson plan, want to find out about newsworthy education issues? Stop by the hub and you might just learn a thing or two as well as share some of your own successful ideas with another educator.
The nice thing about developing an online PLN is you never stop learning, and you can do it from the comfort of home, in your PJs on a dull, cold, rainy day.