The last 14 days leading up to the Holiday break has flown by. I’ve truly enjoyed some of my favorite tech tools and apps with you. I hope you give some of them a try because they really can make a difference in assisting or accelerating learning. After all, as the title of my blog states, it is the Learning that Matters Most.
Build a PLN Today!
A PLN stands for a Personal Learning Network. It is different than a PLC. Here is how:
Professional Learning Community
Lorraine Boulos shares the following in her blog, Making Shift Happen. It seems to me the "PLC" has become synonymous with Professional Development and often, it is the principal, consultant, coach, or whomever the "Instructional Leader" is in the building, that decides what everyone needs to learn about. How and why does this happen? These instructional leaders are not just being arbitrary. They are looking at student results, looking at the gaps, and then they are using professional resources to determine what is the best strategy to meet the needs to close those gaps.
Personal Learning Network
Jamie Ceruti-Stacy shares the following in her blog, The Left Handed Administrator. From what I can best gather, a PLC is goal and data driven - within the field of education, that goal is usually student academic success. A PLC is basically designed to function for the good of the group. A PLN, however, is designed by the individual, and its purpose doesn't necessarily have to be aligned to that of your school or organization. A PLN is broad, and it doesn't share the constraints of time or location usually placed upon a PLC.
The Key component to a PLN is that it is Personal.
You can make it what YOU want and use it how YOU need. You can add the people YOU want and take for yourself their best ideas. You can access your PLN on YOUR time, not only on specific Tuesday mornings when your administrator sets aside time.
Use Twitter for your PLN
I’m sure some of you have a Twitter account. It may be dormant, or you thought it was only useful for keeping up with celebrities, athletes and politicians. While those are things you can find on Twitter, if that is something you are Personally interested in, that is not it’s only purpose. Twitter is thriving in the Educational world. I use Twitter for my PLN quite frequently (as you can see in the example below), and I think you should too.
If you need ideas for a 3rd grade phy ed lesson, they can be found on Twitter.
If you need a suggestion for a chemistry experiment, you can ask your PLN on Twitter.
If you are looking for ideas for editing photos and creating collages on a Chromebook, you can get tips from your PLN on Twitter in less than an hour.
What is also cool is that your PLN includes others who have their own PLNs. When someone can’t help you but they know who can, they are able to access their network to help, further spreading the web
How to get started with Twitter
Go to twitter.com and create an account (if you don’t already have one).
Follow me, Follow each other, Follow the school, Follow other educators, Follow your interests.
Search and Connect with #’s (that’s a Hashtag, not a pound sign). There are many hashtags that deal with content across all disciplines and grade levels.
If you are looking for more of the details on how to use Twitter, check out Kathy Shrock’s Guide to Everything
Create a FlexPD plan
While you are away this holiday break, build a PLN on Twitter and I am certain you will come away with ideas you can use to create a FlexPD plan and get the professional development you want from the people you want to receive it from. Twitter also provides an excellent and immediate platform for you to share and collaborate with.
Be sure to check out the special Holiday bonus… A blog post by Richard Byrne (Free Tech for Teachers) called 21 Places to Find Media for Classroom Projects