Taking the First Step Toward Creating a PLN

Whether you want the “P” to be “Professional,” “Personal,” or “Personalized,” creating a P**** Learning Network is a must as a modern educator.  (Notice I didn’t say “21st Century”) Aside from the ease with which you can follow and connect with high profile people, such as @SirKenRobinson, @MarcPrensky, @DianeRavitch or @GaryStager, you can also find yourself connecting with similar minded educators in nearby cities or school districts.

At first, I was drunk with the excitement of hanging on the words of people like Sir Ken or Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  I slowly began following ed tech leaders, well known school administrators, and I even made room for some guilty pleasures (see Bryant, Kobe and Poundstone, Paula).

As I began to share my thoughts and respond to the tweets of others, I began to garner followers, too. Over the last few months, I have followed almost 200 educators, am followed by more than 130 educators, and have tweeted more than 600 thoughts, messages, and links. In all, my transition from Lurker to Contributor has not been a long one.

I chose a “twitter chat” that I thought would add value to my Twitter PD (#caedchat, or California Ed Chat).  I recommend that new Twitter users join a chat as one of their first Twitter actions, since this is a way to immediately and easily connect with people who have the same interests and learning goals as you do. To learn how to join a Twitter chat, look here for some quick tips and recommendations.

It is through the Twitter chat that I have connected with educators outside my school district, but close enough to connect with in real life.  Recently, a local teacher and I discussed the idea of starting an EdCamp in our County, which is severely lacking in tech PD opportunities. Another educator and I are looking to hold a #brewcue over the summer to connect with like minded professionals who want to expand their learning.

So, no matter what you do in education, or how “techie” you are, Twitter is a tool through which you can connect with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, or a teacher in the neighboring district who wants to share classroom ideas. If you are someone who is unfulfilled by the PD offerings of your school district, consider Twitter your door to a new world of learning.

The remaining question is…will you open that door?

Here are some great resources for getting started with Twitter.

Twitter’s Guide to Twitter

Instructional Tech Talk’s Twitter for Beginners


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