As an educator, I understand all too well the demands made on a teacher’s daily routine. Run, scurry, hurry, and plan! This is the theme from the moment the bell rings to begin our day, til it rings once more to symbolize the end of the day. Short planning periods, inhaled lunches, and fast and furious pit stops in between can result in heads spinning at the end of the day and TONS of work to be shuffled home and back. As educators we need to develop a PLN, no not a plan for lunch and naps, a professional learning network. Some of the easiest ideas, best time savers, and richest professional development I have experienced was done on my own time with the people I’ve connected with via a variety of conferences, courses, and web 2.0 tools. There are always ways to connect with other educators if you have a mind to do so, and it can be done easily from the comfort of your home in your favorite blue jeans or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office.
PLNs, or professional learning networks, are a 2 way street. You learn from others, borrow from others and get ideas from others and in return you give to others, share your insights, and share your favorite sites, projects, worksheets, etc.
Looking to dabble in a PLN? Here are some great sites to begin with:
- Twitter– Don’t understand how anyone can learn anything in 140 characters or less, try it! Explore the hashtags #edutech, #edchat, #admin, #schoolcounselor, #ell, #musictech, #spedchat, etc. See what other educators are sharing on Twitter in your area of interest. Not sure who to follow? Why not try any of these?
- LinkedIn– Develop and update an online resume, connect with other educators, and share resources.
- EduPLN– Another great way to connect with other educators is via ning. Check out teacher related groups in NING. I recommend The Educators PLN as a great stepping stone into all that is NING.
- Diigo– Create a treasure chest of great URLs to use during instruction, and then share them and swap them with other educators. What a great way to share resources with a co-teacher, team of teachers, or teachers around the world.
- Pinterest- Share ideas, share links, share projects and like those shared by others. Follow someone’s pins and please borrow, alter, and make ideas your own.