When I think back to where I was 4 years ago, I would have to say I had an extremely limited professional learning network. I communicated within my department, but rarely outside of it. Since then, my desire to dramatically shift the learning model in my classroom and my increased use of social media tools have transformed me into a networked educator with a PLN that functions in many different spheres. The value of my PLN cannot be underestimated. They have improved my practice with new ideas, feedback on my practice, and emotional support when I need it most.
Rather than waste your time reading about how much I value each distinct voice in my PLN, why don't you check them out for yourself. Use the Thinglink below to explore my PLN.
As I said my PLN covers many sphere and topics.
I’m fortunate to have a very progressive building administration and department staff. It’s been great to have likeminded educators who are taking risks in their classroom and are open to sharing their results. We have some great sharing during our PD time including discussions that revolve around around technology and meeting the needs of all learners. My administration has supported my desire to run book clubs as a part of our PD which has been a fantastic way to initiate conversations with teachers from other departments. Included in my PLN has to be my students. The feedback and ideas they provide are the most informative of all.
It has been fantastic to know that the district administration is looking to support innovative practices and risk taking in the classroom in order to meet the needs of every learner. To this end, it has been wonderful to reach out and discuss innovative practices with other teachers in the district. The lessons they have provided have been invaluable to my practice. When I had the idea of planning and EdCamp in our district, I was astonished by how many educators in our district were willing to be a part of the journey whether that be in a planning role or as an attendee. I have meet many educators who inspire me and who I go to when I’m down. But, my friends in TEAM Togetherness are my go to when I need that shot of positivity. We have some great collaborations with our learners. But, their classroom is the model of where I would like my practice to be.
I am so privileged to be in such a fertile region for educational innovation. I learned of all the great practice going on in my region when I first attended EdCamp Milwaukee 4 years ago. Form there, I was able to connect with and follow the great innovative minds in my region. Other regional conventions have allowed me to hear what is going on around my great state. From innovative practices for personalizing learning in the classroom to innovative uses of technology to facilitate student learning, conferences have been more than just a chance to “get away” from the classroom. They have provided me a chance to reflect on my practice and come back ready to put new ideas into classroom.
Social media has allowed me to learn from so many great minds in education. Twitter has been a one stop shop for current articles and blogs from those pushing the needle forward. But, it hasn’t just been a one way street. Twitter chats and hashtags have been a great way to contribute my voice to the conversation and hear from those around the nation (and sometime the globe) that are in a similar place as me. Between #tlap, #IMMOOC, #plearnchat, and #plrnchat, I’ve been able be a part of an open dialogue around issues that matter to my practice. Outside of the Twitterverse, podcasts have also been a fantastic way to reflect on my practice when I’m in my car, cooking, cleaning, and walking the dog.
In short, I know my PLN is why I’m still so energized about my profession. It’s the reason I am always excited to put down my thoughts in a post. So to my PLN, thank you for the ideas I’ve stolen from you, the space you’ve given me to reflect on my practice, the valuable feedback about my practice, and the energy you’ve given me to go to work on a Monday or want to perfect a lesson on the weekend.