Thursday, October 25, 2012

PSA Day "Professional Learning Networks" Session A Success!

As one of our first projects as a committee, we held a day long session in the Pen-Hi Library titled "Professional Learning Networks 2012".

Just Like The Real Thing!
The day started out with our group ( made up of beginners to the world of PLNs and committee members) watching the keynote from CUEBC via live streaming. Not only did the technology work perfectly, but our worry that watching a keynote on a screen would become tedious was entirely unfounded. An animated and humorous Ian Jukes (follow the link to watch!) looked at how changes in technology have shaped today's workforce,  and how these changes have created new fluencies that should be taught in our school system. (Here's my personal takeaway).  Twitter channels were being being projected  as well to illustrate one way to use Twitter as a professional development tool.


Even Better
After the keynote had finished, our group had a chance to talk about what we had just watched in a comfortable environment.  As well we took some time to talk about our individual experiences with PLNs so far and what each of us hoped to accomplish during the day. From that conversation we set the agenda as a group and went to play. The rest of the day was spent with helping people get signed up for tools like twitter and diigo and how to use RSS feeds. The environment was quite casual with small groups working throughout the room and spontaneous lessons several different topics. One could join in or work individually as preferred. Without too much effort, the day evolved from talking about "What is a PLN" to participating in a PLN.

A New Model for Professional Development
A day that involved real conversations, peer teaching, a chance to play,  and learning to use tools to develop learning networks was a day well spent indeed! Thanks to all the participants for their positive energy and organizers for making the day a real success!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's It All About?

The concept of PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) is not a new concept We all have a network of people we go to for help to reach our goals. What is new to many people is using Web 2.0 tools like Twitter, Diigo, Blogger and RSS feeds to create a PLN on a whole other level.

What I've learned so far is that there are some common themes around creating a PLN:

1. PLNs are a very individualistic animal and there is no one best "formula" about how to develop one for yourself. Everybody seems to be able to define and create according to one's own comfort level and personal need.

2. There are certain stages of understanding through which one seems to need to pass  Elisa Carlson shares her progression from bored to interested to empowered and beyond.  "Getting twitter" is compared to the five stages of grief in another post. Jeff Utrecht has a great  visual  on this.

3. Everybody is so nice! While interacting in a highly public forum can be daunting at first, it is my experience that educators - by their very nature!- are nothing but supportive and welcoming in the online world of PLNS

4. More and more students are being asked by teachers to blog, to use the Internet for research, or even to tweet, out of a philosophy of "teach where they are". More and more teachers will be asked to use technologyDeveloping a PLN teaches skills that are transferable to the classroom.

5. Creating a PLN is trans formative. It is a perfect vehicle for reflective practiceprovides access to experts, and a wealth of resources "pre-evaluated" by colleagues.

Please add to this list in the comments below!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Let's Get Started!

Now that you have a general idea about what a PLN is, it is time to jump in and get your hands dirty! Be warned that what you are about to experience can be frustrating and overwhelming and at the same time open new doors to energize and expand your professional practice.

So if that hasn't scared you off, continue on:

1. Take 10 minutes or so to explore a topic, a hashtag,  and a particular person on Twitter by using the search engine  to get a feel for what types of things you will find there .

2. Browse the Twitter page on this site if you decide you want to start a Twitter account and learn more.

3. Tweets often share resources and tools you might want to organize. Browse the page about using Diigo to learn how to bookmark, annotate and highlight your newfound treasures. 

4. Explore Diigo by searching existing lists for a topic or two that you are interested in. 
       For example look at groups and search for a group titled "Creating PLNs sd67" that you might join.
       Check out the tools that are available on Diigo.

5. Tweets often announce new, exceptional blog posts. Browse the page on blogging  to learn about the value of blogging for pro-d, to find out which blogs to follow and how to start your own! 

6.  Please provide feedback on this new site (suggestions for posts, organization of, resources, pages etc.) to 

7. If you are interested in attending a more extensive session on PLNs, there will be a session offered at the SD67 summer professional development conference titled "Powerful Learning with Professional Learning Networks"