What is a professional learning network?
“A PLN is a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources. Each individual educator becomes a potential source of information.” (Whitby, 2013)
As educators, it is important that we communicate and collaborate with other educators, both within our district and around the state, country, and world. With social media, this is possible on a daily basis. I feel like I am constantly learning from and with other teachers as I participate in Twitter chats and conversations, and read what other teachers are tweeting about. If I ever have a question about a classroom, a student, a math problem, or an instructional strategy, a quick post to Twitter will guarantee many answers within a few hours.
Although I am a member of other PLNs, such as NCTM and NBPTS, I participate in conversations on Twitter most often. This is the easiest form of communication and requires no more than my computer or smart phone. It is easily navigated and you can read about a variety of topics through links that others post. I am constantly following new educators and leaders, and am currently looking for more people who tweet about math and digital teaching. My followers have grown quickly as I tweet about relevant topics in education. @KariMaurer1
PLNs that I belong to:
Math Rocks – A cohort of elementary teachers in my district who met throughout the school year to learn and discuss best practices in math teaching. We blogged (www.numbersenseandproblemsolving.wordpress.com) and used Twitter (#RRMathRocks) to communicate between meetings and show what we learned and practiced.
#ElemMathChat – A weekly Twitter chat that I participate in as often as possible, even if I only read what others are saying.
Other great resources if you’re interested in learning more about PLNs:
Whitby, T. (2013). Edutopia. How Do I Get a PLN? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby