I have become a very big fan of the notion of developing a PLN recently. A PLN is a Personal (or Professional) Learning Network. The idea is not particularly groundbreaking, since the notion of finding people with common interests to help you develop your skills and knowledge is not new. People have been doing this for years, whether that is in the guise of joining a club or evening class or simply by finding a professional mentor to help you improve in your chosen field.
The thing that makes PLNs so attractive to me at the moment is just how easy it is to develop them. With the boom in social networking that has taken place over the last five years, professional networking has never been easier, or more productive. Simply stumbling across the right Twitter hashtag can lead to an astounding amount of high quality material.
I recently discovered the full potential of this a couple of weeks ago after attending the IWBnet conference in Queensland. Even though I had been using Twitter for over a year, it wasn’t until I started following the IWBnet10 hashtag that I was introduced to many other like-minded teachers. This led to me finding 10 new blogs to follow and my understanding of ways technology can be used to enhance education has increased exponentially.
I am really excited to see how my Personal Learning Network will continue to grow over the next couple of months, and what that will mean for my teaching.
The exciting thing for me at the moment is being able to see how other teachers are not only integrating ICT meaningfully into their own teaching, but also how they are slowly winning over the teachers in their schools. This for me is the big payoff. I’m all for improving my own teaching, but it is a much more fun journey to embark upon with my real-life colleagues. My hope is to experience a real revolution in the way the teachers at my school feel about their approach to teaching, and with the help and encouragement of my online PLN, that is beginning to to feel like a real possibility.