We began the second day of MAET class with a quick fire that required us to visually represent our Professional Learning Networks (PLN). Your PLN is essentially all of the people you connect and collaborate with whether it be professional or personal. We were provided with a list of online organizational tools to choose from to create in 40 minutes. I decided to try a tool I have never used before: MindMeister. It was easy to use and visually appealing!
My PLN was divided into four parts that encompassed all of the people I’m connected with : family, work, social networking and friends. I chose these groups because all of the people included helped me get where I am today. When I started completing the mind map, I was shocked at how many connections I had! There are many ways to expand your PLN. Social media plays a huge role in that for me–I use various outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, Google+, WordPress, Pinterest, Weebly and LinkedIn. These sites help me to connect with educators across the country and world. I have to admit, when I first started to become active on social media, I did not really know what I was doing! Following other educators blogs and Twitters really helped to give me an idea of how the whole PLN platform worked. I also started setting aside time each night to be active on my social media accounts–it is very easy to feel like you are missing something when you are not active. My course instructor, Alison, made a great comparison in regards to Twitter: it is a lot like the radio. You will miss things…and that is ok. If you are like me, that might give you some anxiety 🙂 So setting aside the time to be active on your sites helps with that.
My PLN also had me thinking about a reading we had for class this week. According to Too Cool For School by Punya Mishra and Matthew Koehler, “The fact that a technology is innovative and popular does not make it an educational technology.” I think an interesting text-to-world connection to make is that most social media sites were not intended to be professional development platforms for teachers. If you were to have asked me five years ago what Twitter or Facebook or Instagram had to do with teaching, I would not have been able to tell you! We as teachers chose to take these tools and turn them into something more.
Finally, seeing how many people I connected with made me realize how significant it is to have a professional presence online. My professional accounts are public to allow other professionals in my field who do not know me to collaborate. However, that does not mean that they are the only ones viewing my sites–I could have students or parents looking at my posts. If that is the case, I need to be setting a good example and promoting a positive presence!
Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Learning and leading with technology. Link to
article: “Too Cool for School” EJ839143