PLN Challenge #10: Making Connections

This guest post is written by 6th grade teacher Shawn Avery. This is post #10 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

So now that you’ve started building your PLN, we’re going to look at how to connect with more educators and build relationships.

Objective

In this activity, you will explore:

  1. What you can gain from connecting with other classroom teachers.
  2. Tips for connecting with different educators from around the globe.
  3. Your challenge task to help you continue building your PLN.

Overview

Making connections with other classroom teachers has provided so many learning opportunities for myself as well as my students.  My teaching world was relatively sheltered up until this past year.  I would often collaborate with other educators within my school.  However, my collaboration was confined to that.  I hadn’t yet seen the vast potential in flattening my classroom walls and connecting with teachers from around the globe.

A couple of the ways that I made connections with educators have already been tackled in previous posts.  Using blogs as part of a PLN and using Twitter were really how I started out.  I started my class blog in December of 2010.  In researching other class blogs I stumbled across the Edublog awards.  I started commenting on some of the different blogs that I came across there and as I started posting interesting content on our blog, those comments started to become reciprocated.  Around that same time, I started out on Twitter.    I started talking to some of those other teachers that I blogged with, posting interesting sites that I came across, as well as whenever our blog had a new post.  My PLN slowly started to build.

As the year progressed, I found many new ways to connect with others.  We quad-blogged. Quad blogging is where four different classes, four different blogs, connect for a four week period. Each week the focus is on one of those blogs. The other three classes all visit and comment on that blog. That blog will take the week to post information about the school, their location, and any other interesting information they’d like to share. We were able to connect with a class from California, British Columbia, and Australia. It allowed for my students to learn information with others from around the world and I was able to connect with three other amazing educators.

On Twitter, grade level chats such as #4thchat, #5thchat, and #6thchat started popping up. Each week, we discuss a different topic that is voted on by peers. It may range from integrating technology into the classroom to back to school ideas. It’s an amazing way to connect with others. I’ve gained so many wonderful ideas just from these hour long chats.

I’ve also joined educator communities such as Edutopia, Classroom 2.0, and Teacher 2.0. All have great forums that really foster discussion amongst educators. The Teacher Challenge from Edublogs is also a great way to meet educators who have similar goals. Check it out next time it rolls around!

5 Tips to Develop Relationships

1. Put Yourself Out There!

The more you share, the more you’ll find you receive in return.  Whether it be sharing resources through blogging, bookmarking sites such as Diigo, Twitter, Google+, or Facebook, educators love hearing about great resources.  You’ll find that if you’re sharing quality content, you’ll make connections quickly!

2. Find What Works Best for You

I know all of this sounds daunting.  There are so many places to go to help grow your PLN.  You don’t have to sign up for every educator site or every social network.  Try them out though.  Find what you feel best fits what you’d like to accomplish and then dedicate yourselves to those.  I spend the majority of my time connecting between Twitter and blogging.  I’ll peak my head in to some of the other sites sometimes though just to see if there’s anything I find useful and to comment on a forum or two.

3. Always Follow Up

If someone comments on your blog, make sure you comment back.  If someone mentions you on Twitter, make sure you respond or at least thank them for the mention.  Having a PLN is all about the conversation.  Making sure that you respond back to others is a great way to get that conversation going.

4. Look for Innovative Ways to Connect

I’ve seen tools such as Skype used to connect with classes from around the world.  Instead of just a straight forward chat though, try Mystery Skyping or Family Feud Skyping.  Those will certainly get conversation going!  Or, try creating a chat on Twitter based upon an area of teaching you love.  You could do a weekly hour chat based upon botany in the classroom and create the hashtag #classbot.  Just an idea.  Be creative!

5. Be Prepared to Collaborate

In growing your PLN, you’ll find that it opens so many doors to new activities in the classroom.  Use these connections to collaborate with teachers and students from around the world.  I’ve seen amazing projects develop from these connections.  A great example is the Ugandan Global Project which was put together by Linda Yollis (California), Jonah Salsich (Connecticut), Kathleen Morris and Kelly Jordan (Australia), as well as Sarah Toa (China). Through the joint efforts of these classes around the world, they raised close to $20,000 (USD) to help build a play area next to a school in Uganda. I’ve also made great connections through the Kites Around the World Project created by Jonah Salsich and the Student Math Movie wiki. Or, if you have a PLN as wonderful as mine, maybe you’ll even have a chance to collaborate on a project such as this at some point in the future. Just know that collaborative projects will definitely help grow your PLN.

Challenge

1.  Write a post or comment about how you plan to connect with other educators.  What sites do you prefer to use to make connections.  Why?

2. Write a post or comment about how you currently or how you hope to collaborate with other educators.  What’s your favorite collaborative project that you feel helped you make connections with other educators?

3.  If you have any questions, please ask!  Again, growing a PLN is all about the conversation!

About the Author

mraverysmallShawn Avery is a sixth grade teacher at Dennett Elementary, in Plympton, Massachusetts.  He has a passion for teaching and trying to find new ways to engage students by integrating technology into the classroom.  You can find his class blog at mravery.edublogs.org. You can also visit his wikis, Student Math Movies and #6thchat. He can be found on Twitter, @mr_avery and Google+.

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PLN Challenge #9 Back to the Classroom! (of 2.0)

This guest post is written by Anne Mirtschin a teacher who is  passionate about immersing technology in the classroom, eLearning, global and rural education. This is post #10 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge! Now that you’ve started building your PLN,  get even more globally connected by joining one of the biggest classrooms in the world.

Things were getting frantic – with just two hours until interested grade prep to 6  parents were to assemble in  our school library for our Technology Showcase,  videos would not display on our new iPod touches. One excited class had been busy making videos and they were to show them using the iPod touches.

Urgent messages for help were sent out to all and any email lists.  In sheer desperation, a discussion item was also placed on Classroom2.0. Within 10 minutes, we had the answer – not from anyone in Australia or our emailing lists, but from Matthew Needleman, in the USA. Following his instructions the videos displayed to a library overflowing with parents, grandparents and students.  The showcase was a great success!

This was my first taste of the power of networking and its ability to provide information NOW from anywhere across the globe! (It needs to be noted that I teach at Hawkesdale P12 College,  a small rural, geographically and culturally isolated prep to year 12 school, in South Eastern Australia.)

Four years ago, I joined classroom2.0 a ning set up by Steve Hargadon of USA. At that stage there were 3,000 members from all levels and tiers of education, all passionate about the use of technology in education.  Today there are more than 466,000 members and I am proud to be a welcoming host on this ning.

Wordle from current classroom2.0 page

The above word cloud was made by highlighting the screen of classroom2.0, copying and pasting into wordle.

Why join Classroom 2.0?:-

  • It is free
  • It is a space to make global connections and friends
  • Empowers teaching and learning
  • Allows discussions/forums. There are many active discussions over the years, many still applicable today.
  • Keep up to date with the latest developments in education
  •  Share learning and join in conversations
  • Publish and read members’ blog posts
  • Search for discussions, tags etc on tools, subjects, areas of personal interest
  • Mailing list updates on upcoming free webinars and events
  • Share and peruse photos and videos
  • create or join in collaborative global projects
  •  There is are easy search features on previous discussion topics, technology tools, subjects, areas etc

Where can such membership lead? Here follows some memorable stories  of classroom2.0 friends, connections and just some of the rather amazing  outcomes for my classes.

  1. Chrissy Hellyer from New Zealand  taught us how to create a wiki, sharing the power that interactivity, connectedness and collaboration can bring. See anzacconnection
  2. Lorraine Leo of USA,  introduced me to the power of  virtual classrooms using discoverE. Over the years, we have taught each others’ classes despite teaching at different age levels and living in different time zones. We have shared colleagues, photos, videos, experiences, festivals, celebrations and cultures. Lorraine has brought the following virtually to our school: a research scientist from her tent in Antarctica and Rich Wilson, a US sailor and his quest in sailing solo around the world. (Listen to Skipper Rich). Her  grade 6 student  spoke about Halloween to my fascinated students and Lorraine organised a  student of Dean Shareski from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada,  to speak to  my accounting students and much, much more. We have been part of exciting pioneering three to five way linkups, connecting a classroom in the Phillipines with mine plus teachers from three other continents, all in the one classroom.  We have worked on voicethreads together – a  firm favourite being “My question of you” where Lorraine’s  grade two students asked a question and my year 7s replied to them. Teaching and Learning Across the Globe is a recorded joint presentation for the online Global Education Conference 2010.
  3. Ekaterina from Russia:- We have videoconferenced together using skype  (our classes were televised on Russian television as a result), shared student surveys eg Climate Change Questionaire, developed an  Across the World wiki together etc.
  4. Govinda Panthy- an amazing educator from Nepal who has become e-connected and painstakingly, patiently and with great determination brought global awareness to the plight of his school and students in Nepal. Govinda would awake at 4:30am in order to skype because his power is frequently cut off during daytime working hours. With the aid of friends made on classroom 2.0, Our Open World Project is now raising funds to bring several computers to SAV school and much needed physical library requisites. Make sure you visit the Open World Project site to see the real power, empathy and learning that can extend from membership.
  5. Alison Saylor -  We worked on google docs together and co-surveyed our students on their ownership of personal gadgets. Students in a school from Jerusalem were also surveyed. Students from each school  mapped the results in a spreadsheet for comparison.  The project  raised extensive local classroom discussion and provided many teachable moments.

There are so many more wonderful stories that could be shared.

And now for the long tail!:

  1. In 2010, I was proud to be  the Australasian mentor for the innovative online Global Education Conference which connected educators from across the globe in a free three day online conference – a direct result of my membership at classroom 2.0.
  2. Through the resultant friendship with Steve Hargadon, he encouraged me to be a co-moderator and organiser of eT@lking, online webinars using Blackboard Collaborate for the  Australia Series. This has led to even further connections and networks.

Tips for successful membership of Classroom2.0 or other similar networks

  1. Ensure your profile has enough information to encourage others to consider and add you as a friend
  2. Lurk, lurk and lurk! Watch the discussions, search the tools, subjects or areas that you may be into help,  network and share existing knowledge.
  3. Introduce yourself on the  Introductions  discussion.
  4. Watch the discussion thread on “Introductions” and befriend some of the others who may be like-minded across a number of countries.
  5. Make friends where possible.
  6. When confident actively join in the conversations and discussions.
  7. Add your own discussion topic
  8. Write some blog posts (these can be cross posted from your existing blog).
  9. Set up an RSS feed for the discussions you are interested in.
  10. Return regularly
Your Challenge:
  1. Goto Classroom2.0 and seek out the current discussions/forums and blog posts. Write a blog post in relation to one of the forum discussions
  2. Check out a tool, subject or area that might be of interest to you. Write a blog post on an element of one of these.
  3. Join classroom2.0 and develop a strong profile, adding some links to your online presence eg blogs etc.
  4. Customise your page See shamblesguru page as an example.
  5. Find at least 5 members who come from different countries, add a comment to their page, with a question to encourage further conversations, request friendship.  Find me on classroom2.0 and leave me a comment!
  6. Look for any global projects that might be offered. Consider joining one of them.
  7. Join a group that interests you.
  8. Write a blog post answering the some or all of the following questions. Are you a member of classroom2.0? If so, what are your favourite stories of connecting at this ning? Or are you a member of another ning or networking group that you have found beneficial? If so, what benefits or learning outcomes have resulted?  What would you see as the major benefits of being part of a global networking site?
  9. Add a comment back to this post with links to your classroom2.0 page or blog posts that you might write as a result of this.
The networked teacher has the power to transform learning and education in directions that are only ‘dreamed about’! Together we can make the ‘dreams’ a reality!
About the author

In 2011, Anne teaches accounting and information technology to senior classes at Hawkesdale P12 College, a small rural prep to year 12 school, although in previous years she has taught prep through to year 12 students.   One day a week, Anne is a web conference coach for the Innovations and Next Practise division of the Victorian Education Department. Anne is a welcoming host for classroom2.0 and co- organizes and co-moderates two weekly educational webinars (which are free) – Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@lking

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PLN Challenge #8: Webinars – an extra dimension for your PLN?

This guest post was written by Jo Hart who is passionate about helping others to use technology with students. This is post #8 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

Now your PLN is well under way maybe its time to take a look at other ways to strengthen and deepen the PLN by adding extra dimensions. Here we look at some of the potential benefits of actively participating in and/or presenting/facilitating webinars

Introduction

I can see you reading the title & thinking how are webinars part of a PLN? Aren’t they just a formal professional development activity? The answer to that is both “Yes” and “No”. Some webinars are large formal presentations, where interaction is limited and even the potential for backchannelling through textchat is restricted. However there are also webinar series such as the Edublogs Serendipity/FineFocus series where one of the main objectives is participant interaction and sharing. These are the webinars that have a major role in my PLN.

The background

Once upon a time (in late 2008) @suewaters and myself were talking about “e-stuff”. Slowly the idea was born from Sue Waters’ passion for sharing “e-stuff” my similar but latent passion and my Elluminate (virtual class) experience. The idea was weekly sessions through Elluminate for educators from anywhere to share and learn about ‘e-stuff”.

When we started the webinars they were just a group of people getting together to talk about anything relating to “e-stuff” and education in its broadest sense. Sue would Tweet before we started and then again once we had decided a topic. There were very few webinars happening at the time and those that did occur were more likely to be presentations moved to an online environment rather than the interactive unconference style we adopted. The Edublogs Serendipity/FineFocus webinars (if you want the quick summary instead of the full page go straight to the Slideshare below)  have continued and evolved. We still have webinars every week except for one or two weeks over Christmas. They are on the same day Thursday and at the same time (23:00 GMT/UTC) and in the same Elluminate (now Blackboard Collaborate) Edublogs community partnership room every week.

How can webinars be part of a PLN?

Below is my personal list (with some examples from my own experience) of ways that being involved in  a webinar series as participant and also as a presenter can strengthen your PLN:

1. Broadening of e-horizons through being in sessions with people from all over the world

At the beginning my e-horizons were bounded by physical area in which I live (ie Western Australia) with some tenuous links to the eastern states of Australia. The webinars have always had a global focus and attracted participants from around the world, initially because of Sue’s huge worldwide PLN. As a result my own PLN is worldwide and my e-horizons are now global!

2. “Meeting” new educators who become part of your PLN

My Twitter network consisted of Sue and about three others. Now even though I have never actively sought to grow my Twitter network it has reached 1500 followers – there are probably an equal number that I have blocked as I actively manage followers to remove sp*mm*rs and marketers and self styled experts/gurus. Much of that growth has happened because of my involvement in the webinars. The nucleus of my PLN is those people that I “met” through the webinars in the early days and I still regularly add to my Twitter network when we share Twitter IDs in the webinars.

3. Sharing experiences with other participants and sharing webinar experiences more widely

I now blog at least weekly about the most recent webinar. This has been great discipline for me. I am not a “natural” written reflector so have found blogging really hard to do consistently despite being very aware of its importance to my PLN. The webinars have given me a focus and I now also post more often about other topics.

4. Sharing links, ideas, content with other participants – they learn your strengths and areas of interest and thus will add you to their PLN because of common interests.

5. Networking through audio and the textchat backchannel with other participants

I have developed closer professional and social online relationships with PLN members who participate/have participated regularly in the webinars so I have more in depth knowledge about who in my PLN is particularly knowledgeable about different topics.

6  Broadening your experience through presenting

My experience in facilitating the webinars has enabled me to present/facilitate confidently with large audiences in virtual global conferences. This has also happened for other participants who have presented in one or more of the following: full sessions; short “show and tell” sessions or on an impromptu basis in Serendipity sessions. They have gain experience in a virtual context and this has given them confidence with the platform to go on to present in global conferences or other webinar series.

7. Raising your online profile through presenting – this means more people are likely to add you to their PLN.

Facilitating the webinars has itself increased my PLN because it has raised my profile with other educators as someone who can present/facilitate in a virtual room and or help others with this. Thus they add me to their PLNs.

8. Accessing the links shared by others

This has led me to many fantastic educators (via their blogs or other sites) who are now part of my PLN.

9. Hearing about other educators who could become part of your PLN

Again “word-of-mouth” personal suggestions from others in webinars have enabled me to find and include in my PLN many people whose e-interests are similar to my own.

Conclusion

As in all of my posts anywhere this is very much my own personal view of how a PLN can be extended and strengthened by becoming involved with webinars on at least a semi regular basis.

Your Challenge

Choose one or more challenge activities and complete it/them. Give yourself a deadline.  Leave a comment below (or preferably write a blog post and link to it from the comment) about what you have done and whether you think it will work / is working for you in strengthening and/or deepening your PLN.

1. If you have a passion for something educator and e-stuff related, a tool/application or student activity you would like to share then put your hand up to present/facilitate a FineFocus session about your topic of choice. This is not about jumping in the deep end! We suggest you come to a session first then chat with me about what you would like to do – I can then help you achieve this via Elluminate (Blackboard Collaborate). Post about the experience of presenting from a virtual room – has this had an impact on your PLN. Leave a comment or comments about this below and the link to your post or posts.

2. Participate in at least two webinars from a series (this is the link for the Edublogs room) it doesn’t have to be the Edublogs Serendipity/FineFocus series, any series that gives opportunities to take an active part in the session has the potential to enhance your PLN. Post about your experiences of participating in the webinars – especially whether you have gained anything with respect to your PLN. Leave a comment or comments about this below and the link to your post or posts.

3. Check out some of the webinar overviews on my blog choose two with topics that interest you. It would be good if one is a Serendipity and the other a FineFocus as they are very different in style. Follow the recording links and view the webinars (try not to get too frustrated because you can’t join in). Post your thoughts about the webinars (including the links to the overview blog posts for them) – did you see/hear activities happening in those sessions that would increase/strengthen participant PLNs about your experiences on your blog. Leave a comment or comments about this below and the link to your post or posts.

About the Author

Jo pic for profiles Jo Hart is a lecturer in Literacy and Numeracy (with some IT) in the public Vocational Education and Training sector (TAFE) in Western Australia.  She has extensive experience working online with regional and remote students.

She is also the driving force behind the free weekly Edublogs Serendipity and Fine Focus online webinars.

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PLN Challenge #7: Using Diigo as part of your PLN

This guest post was written by Keith Ozsvath self-professed techie who is passionate about helping others. This is post #7 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

So now that you’ve started building your PLN, we’re going to look at how educators use Diigo as part of their PLNs.

In this activity you will explore:

  1. What is Diigo?
  2. How to get started
  3. Joining and creating a Diigo group
  4. Ideas for using Diigo

What is Diigo

DiigoDiigo is a free social bookmarking tool that allows users to share online resources like websites and web 2.0 tools in a private or public group format.

There are tons of different groups on Diigo, many for professional and educational use. Diigo has also evolved into a place where you can store all your bookmarks, pictures, and notes too.

The main features of Diigo we will focus on are research, sharing, and collaborating.

The power of Diigo lies within the groups feature. A user can create both public and private groups for professional development purposes or perhaps a graduate class, study group, or classroom research project. Anyone with access to a group, has access to all bookmarks, plus special features like tagging and commenting on links.

As a music educator, I am interested in education technology, as well as music.

On Diigo, I have joined public groups that interest me like:

  1. Classroom 2.0
  2. Cool Tools for Educators
  3. Educators
  4. Teaching Music

Diigo was a powerful tool in my quest to create and build my PLN 1 ½ years ago. It is a tremendous way to share and collaborate with fellow educators.

I have also created private groups for students and teachers.

When my middle school bands were participating in a Lewis & Clark Expedition Cross-Curricular Unit, I created a private group of bookmarked websites pertaining to the Lewis & Clark Expedition. I was able to share the private group with my 2 colleagues so we could collaborate using the same websites and resources that were bookmarked in the group. Commenting and tagging these links were also very useful for our planning.

How to Get Started

1. Set-up an account and click on the link in the confirmation email to activate your account.

Signing up for Diigo

2. After activation, you will be directed to the My Library page.

If there are bookmarks you would like to start adding from your Delicious account or computer, go ahead and begin.

Importing existing bookmarks

If not, click on the My Groups tab at the top of the screen.

Creating groups

How to Join a Group

To create and develop your PLN, you need to join some groups.

Diigo’s groups open a world of learning and professional development for the educator. There are so many groups to choose from. From Social Studies to ESL to Ed. Tech., there are bound to be groups that will interest you.

Click on the My Groups tab at the top of the screen. In the search box, look for groups that will help you build your PLN.

Exploring Diigo groups

It may also be helpful to view the categories on the right side of the screen to guide your search.

Diigo categories

I recommend finding 3-4 groups to join.

Once you find your first group, click on the group name.

Joining a groupIf it is a public group, apply to join the group by clicking on the right side of the screen.

  • If the group you selected is a private group, you will not be able to join it.
  • Private groups are by invite only.

When you apply to join a group, you can also choose to be notified via email when new bookmarks are added. This feature makes it really easy to stay-up-to-date when new bookmarks are added.

More nice features on the group pages are the Most Active Members and Top 10 Tags.

How to Create your own Group

Perhaps you have already thought of creating your own group on Diigo.

Go for it!

Click on the My Groups tab at the top of the screen.

On the right side of the screen, follow the steps to create your group.

Creating a new group

Second, follow the instructions on the next page. Set-up details like group name, description, category name, who can view, and public/private.

Adding your group details

After you set-up all of the details, you will be prompted to invite others. Congratulations!

You have created your first group.

Begin adding bookmarks you wish to share with group members.

Ideas for Use

Here’s some ideas how you can use:

  1. Create a group for your department or team to access and share bookmarks
  2. Create a private group for your students to get bookmarks for a project or unit
  3. Join a public group to create your own professional development and grow your PLN

Your Challenge

We’d like you to add your ideas to our ongoing conversation about PLNs by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. If you haven’t joined Diigo yet, head over to Diigo and sign up. Leave a comment on this post with your Diigo name so we can follow you.
  2. Join some Diigo groups and/or create your own group(s).  Write a post (or leave a comment) about your initial impressions of Diigo. You could include – what you see as obstacles to taking part in Diigo, what you have learnt from using Diigo, or who you have connected with via Diigo. Don’t forget to leave a comment here with the link to your post.
  3. Your tips for using Diigo.

About the Author

Keith Ozsvath is a self-professed techie and my blog, Teaching & Technology in Music, provides practical technology-infused teaching tips for music educators.

He has conducted numerous professional development classes for fellow educators on creating a PLN, educational technology, podcasting, blogging, and using social media as a professional development tool.

He currently team teach 6th-8th grade band, direct the Jazz Ensemble and serve as music department chair at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, Illinois.

He has presented for the Illinois Music Educators’ Association and National Middle School Association and continue to be an active judge, adjudicator, and clinician in the Chicago area. You can check-out his program’s blog at Rotolo M.S. 8th Grade Band and follow him on Twitter @band_techie.

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PLN Challenge #6: iGoogle – A PLE hub for your PLN wheel

This guest post was written by Jo Hart who is passionate helping others to use technology with students.   This is post #6 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

Now you know what a PLN is, and you’ve started to build your PLN, we’re going to show you how to use a personalised homepage like iGoogle to minimize information overload.

Introduction

Once your PLN starts to “take off” you may well reach the stage where you are just getting “too much information”.

This certainly happened to me!

I started very slowly and deliberately avoided seeking to build a huge Twitter stream or follow masses of blogs. However it didn’t seem to be long before I was beginning to wonder how I could handle all the new “stuff” that I was finding out. The watershed for me was when I started Tweetdeck in the mornings and there were too many overnight tweets for them all to appear in the columns. Then I realised I was going to have to do something about managing not so much the tweets themselves but all of the other flows across my desktop that were resulting from an expanding PLN.

I was very lucky in that I already knew about a good tool for the job, having been introduced to iGoogle as a collection point for lots of inflows by Sue Waters (the Edublogger) at a project start-up workshop, long before I had ever heard of a PLN!

iGoogleDoYou

At that time I got an iGoogle page – played with it bit – but just couldn’t see how I would ever use it “for real”. So when I realised I was hitting the information overload point I dusted off my old iGoogle page extended and refurbished it as a central point – a Personal/Professional Learning Environment where I could collect incoming feeds and access all the parts of my PLN from one place.

Before I go any further I will say as I often do when writing posts – this is my personal “take” on the PLE hub that works for me.

I hope that, whether you choose to use iGoogle or find something else that works better for you, this post will help you to think about managing all that precious information and learning that comes from your PLN.

How to get going with iGoogle as a hub

1. If you already have an iGoogle page you might want to just sign in and skip the rest of this section. Getting an initial iGoogle page is really easy just go to the “Sign in” or “Get started” page.

FirstStepsResize

Creating the basic page really does take only about 30 seconds.

However that basic page will be the “Google take” on what you may like.

The next step is to delete some or all of the “gadgets” and add those of your own choice using “Add gadgets”.

You can also add more pages using “Add a Tab” (dropdown menu from your currently active Tab).

I have done this to make things easier to find as I hate scrolling down very long pages to reach the gadget that I want to use. You can personalise the look of each page in “iGoogle Settings” a drop down from the “gear” symbol in the top right of the screen.

AddingGadgetsResize

Once you have made changes you will at some point need to sign in or sign up in order to save the changes to your page.

2. Trying to get all my PLN strands to meet in one place was quite a big ask, to some extent because of the number of connections but also because of the different types of links and inputs that I wanted to draw together. I see all of these as an interconnected web that can’t really be represented in two dimensions.

PLEResize

This didn’t translate easily into a more linear structure that works on an iGoogle page. However this diagram really helped me get my head around how I could manage all the information inputs and also have other useful gadgets to help me keep track of my life and work. This diagram is a work in progress and will never be complete because my PLN is a dynamic constantly changing entity. Some of my strands don’t have a direct input in the form of feeds into iGoogle,  either because  there isn’t a gadget that enables it or because they themselves are not sufficiently dynamic to need very frequent updates. Where this occurs I have used links. The next addition to my diagram and to my iGoogle will be Google+ which I am currently exploring and hopefully as it is a Google product someone will build a gadget to allow it to feed in.

To transform my PLN inputs into something that I could access through iGoogle I split the strands into three main groups (I have minimised the gadgets in these pics) each of which has a separate page:

a) Things I like to access from my desk (calendar, to do, weather, translation and maps)

iGoogleHomeResize

b) Feeds (gadgets for RSS, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and news)

iGoogleFeeds

This page is for me the heart of my PLE because all the “live stuff” comes straight here, and this is what mine looked like a few days ago!

FeedsPageResize

c) Links – I have a several link gadgets. Enhanced bookmarks (those I want with one click), Google bookmarks (categorised), My delicious, and Visual bookmarks that I use for Diigo.

iGoogleLinksResize

I have three extra pages for personal interests that are not directly related to teaching and learning.

While iGoogle is not perfect as a PLN/PLE Hub it works well for me at the moment because I can get to everything I want from any computer with Internet access just by logging in to my iGoogle page.

Once you have created your page and added your gadgets the next challenge is of course to make sure that you use it. I go there first thing in the morning and that page then stays open until I shut down the computer and go to bed.

You can make iGoogle your Homepage.

However although I have done so on my laptop I haven’t done this on my home computer and can’t do so at work.

I did need to make a conscious effort to remember to log-in at first but it very soon became as much part of my computer start-up routine as opening my home or work email client.

Conclusion

iGoogle is not the only way I keep up with my PLN but it is a great summariser as it enables me to check everything out all in one place and then choose to move elsewhere to see more.

For example I use Tweetdeck for most of my Twitter interaction because you can just do so many things with it.

In contrast I keep up with blog posts and comments using the Google Reader gadget on iGoogle and almost never accessing Google Reader directly for my RSS feeds. I love this as I can scan a list of titles and authors rather than scrolling through all of the feed contents.

Your Challenge

Choose one or more challenge activities and complete it/them. Give yourself a deadline.  Leave a comment below (or even better write a blog post and link to it from the comment) about what you have done and how you think it will work / is working for you.

  1. Draw your own PLN/PLE web and share it with us
  2. If you already have an iGoogle page and are using it as a PLE ie a hub for your PLN please tell us about how it works for you.
  3. If you already have an iGoogle page but are not using it as a PLN hub then EITHER give it a try and tell us about what you have done and how you think it will work for you, OR tell us why you feel it isn’t the right solution for you
  4. If you already use a different strategy or hub to manage all that information then please tell us what you use / how you do it
  5. If you don’t have an iGoogle page or a way of managing the information flows from your PLN then give it a try:
    • Set up your page or pages
    • Find some gadgets that enable you to gather your PLN strands together
    • Tell us about one or more of the gadgets that you think will be most useful to you
  6. Use iGoogle for three weeks and then let us know:
    • How easy it was to remember to use it and develop the habit of logging in every time you start up your computer
    • Whether you have found it helpful in managing information flows
    • How you might make better use of it to manage information flows from your PLN

Happy PLN’ing we look forward to seeing your posts and comments :)

About the Author

Jo Hart is a lecturer in Literacy and Numeracy (with some IT) in the public Vocational Education and Training sector (TAFE) in Western Australia.  She has extensive experience working online with regional and remote students.

She is also the driving force behind the free weekly Edublogs Serendipity and Fine Focus online webinars.

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PLN Challenge #5: Using Blogs as Part of Your PLN

Blogs play an important role in most educator’s PLNs.

And for most it’s a lot more than publishing blog posts.

So now that you’ve started building your PLN, we’re going to look at how blogs are used as part of PLNs.

Overview

Blogging as part of your PLNI’m sure that lots of people who are very glad I’m a blogger would be totally surprised by the fact that initially I really struggled with the concept of blogging — ‘Why anyone would blog and why others read their blogs?’

It took almost a year from being shown what a blog was to becoming a blogger.

The online tools I used before blogging were excellent for sharing information.  But blogging gave me what they lacked; the ability to reflect, collaborate, exchange ideas and connect with other people.

Ultimately blogging completely changed my life; it’s the reason why I’m now employed to do the work I do and helped me build a strong PLN.

So what are the key components to making blogs part of your PLN?

It’s really simple:

  1. Other blogs – read and comment on other people’s blog posts
  2. Your blog – reflect periodically by writing posts about your thoughts, ideas and/or to share resources.

It’s also important to remember that not everyone who makes blogs part of their PLN are bloggers.   It’s really up to you!  Some prefer to just read and comment on other people’s posts while others have their own personal blog.

Like all other aspects of building a PLN — what you get back is directly related to what you put in!

And like everything, there are tips that’ll both save you time and make you more effective.

Here are my tips:

#1 Keeping up with reading blog posts

Reading other bloggers’ posts is an important part of connecting with them.

One of the easiest ways to keep updated with posts from your favourite blogs is to subscribe to their RSS feed using Google Reader (here’s how to set up Google Reader).

Another option, for iPad users, is to use Flipboard.  You can read more about the different ways educators can use Flipboard here.

Check out the Edublog Awards lists if you’re looking for more blogs to subscribe to.

#2 Becoming an effective commenter

Your commenting skills and how you engage in comments with others on blogs posts is one of the most important, and often over looked aspects, of using blogs as part of your PLN.

Key aspects that’ll help include:

1.  Approve comments quickly

If someone leaves a comment on your post, make sure you approve the comment quickly (if you moderate comments)

There’s nothing more annoying to a reader to see that their comments haven’t been published.

2.  Always respond back to readers on your own posts.

If readers have made time to comment on your posts the very minimum you should do is respond back to your readers (ideally each reader) in the comments on your post.

This is very important for building your blog’s community; it demonstrates that you value your readers and their input.

Tip:

  • Enable threaded comments if it is an option!
  • It’ll allow you and your readers to respond easily to individual comments.

Using Threaded comments

3.  Enable Subscribe to Comments

If your blog has an option to allow readers to subscribe to comments by email — make sure you enable it!

This means anyone can choose to be notified of new comments and makes it easier for them to quickly respond back to new comments — if they want.

Enable Subscribe to comments

4.  Use the Subscribe to Comments option

If a blogger provides a subscribe to comment option, then make sure you select this option when leaving a comment, so you’re notified of all new comments.

It’ll make your life easier :)

Subscribe to comments by email

#3 Becoming an effective blogger

The more you learn about being a blogger, and writing effective posts,  the better you’ll connect with others.

Our Kicking starting your blogging series will help if you’re new to blogging, or want to set up your own blog.

You’ll also find Writing Better Blog Posts: What You NEED to Know helpful!

Check out this tips for First Time Bloggers voicethread, created by Nancy Carroll, and add your own tips!

Your Challenge Task

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about PLNs by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. Leave a comment on the “Advice to First Time Bloggers” Voicethread
  2. Write a post or write a comment on this post to share your tips for building a PLN using blogs
  3. Leave a comment on this post! Ask us a question.  Join the conversation!
  4. Leave a link to your blog in a comment on this post if you are participating in our Whole new PLN series so the other participants can easily subscribe to your blog.
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PLN Challenge #4: Making Time To Build Your PLN

This guest post was written by Sarah Poling who is passionate about finding and using technology as a motivator and time saver. This is post #4 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

Now you know what a PLN is, and how people use Twitter to build one, we’re going to discuss ways of making time to build your PLN.

In this activity you will explore:

  1. How PLN development can be overwhelming.
  2. Get some tips for building your PLN and avoiding being overwhelmed
  3. Challenge task start your PLN: take your own baby steps and share them…

Overview

For the past six months, I’ve been learning best practices in educational technology to share with pre-service elementary teachers.

When I started, I just wanted to quit!

It was completely overwhelming to know where and how to start.

A family member and fellow educator said the most important thing to teach new teachers is to create a PLN.

So as any good educator does, I set out to figure out the best ways to create a PLN. Even that was overwhelming, so many choices, and all seemed so new, I started with twitter, perhaps the livefeed was part of my problem- my first tweet, tweets came so fast I couldn’t follow ANY threads of conversation.

Every time I started, I quickly found myself overwhelmed and closing my laptop. In some ways it felt like reading in a foreign language.

But as a lifelong learner, I knew I couldn’t just throw in the towel. I decided I needed a better plan to cope with being a digital immigrant who will be teaching digital natives.

fifteen minutes

I remembered reading, if you do anything for 15 minutes a day, you will be a leading expert in a few years. So I decided that would be my approach. (Perhaps my inner teenager remembered the movie “What about Bob?” and the ‘babysteps’ theory)

I started with what I knew!

I emailed the one educational blog author that I had been reading in my daily inbox for one month, and asked her for help. She told me NOT to be overwhelmed that the information was coming at me like a firehose of information, and that no one can keep up with it, so just jump in and enjoy what I can gain, use and share. She also told me that twitter had hashtag chats, invited me to join #edchat or #ntchat, and to try and attend an online conference that weekend.

I attended a session on twitter and the presenter said he’s only been an active tweeter for 6 months, thus confirming my suspicion. I could do this in small bites and I could even know enough in a few months to TEACH it. I think that was my real fear, that not only did I want to develop my own PLN, but I wanted to be able to train others in all things social media. But as I took small steps, I was hooked. I would just do a few minutes a few times a week when I could find the time. I also wasn’t going to let anything new intimidate me.

One tool at a timeFrom there I just took one tool at a time. I started by reading more blogs and looking for people to follow on twitter. These went hand in hand, many great bloggers, tweet!.

Through my twitter friends and chats, I learned about edublog and the 30 day challenges. I also found the list of the top blogs from 2010, and saw when I tried to set up my own blog, I could see how new other people were to blogging.

I also had a theory that if I could just find people that have time to specialize in different areas and follow them, I would save myself tons of time, by finding people, like I do in real life who are kindred spirits but also ‘experts’ in things I can’t claim to be an expert in. I was amazed at how many experts there are out there, how fast I learned lingo, and how helpful everyone was.

This perhaps was my best ‘aha’ moment. I want to be the best at all that I do, but in this area, I could just look for the best, and use their ideas until I’m ready to share something great, I’m okay learning from others and appreciating their work.

My Tips for Building your PLN

Here are some tips for building your PLN while avoiding being overwhelmed:

#1 Learning styles and personal preferences

Think about your learning styles, your natural preferences or comforts in the options of social media, and start with what you know. You already have parts of a PLN both in face to face life and on the Internet. Look for similar people, styles on the cloud.

#2 Set a goal

I wrote myself a note and sent it to myself at the close of my academic semester using futureme.org. I included my goals and my game-plan to accomplish them.

#3 Set a routine

Choose a time to do this daily or a few times a week. For me it was after the kids were in bed while DH and I were watching DVR and I could multitask where if I became absorbed in the media on the cloud, I could focus and if it was too much, I could just stop for the day and go back to watching my show.

#4 Find Resources that Help

Find resources to help you organize and that will help you stretch. I joined the edublog 30 day challenge, on my newly created blog, I listed my reasons for blogging and my ed tech goals. I found livebinder and put the button in my toolbar to save resources I loved and wanted to be able to use. I also started a googlereader file and learned I could ‘google’ just in my reader so I never had to be afraid of not finding a great blog again. I didn these as they were comfortable to me, I did not overcommit, I jumped in little by little.

#5 Decide what works best for you!

Realize not everything is going to work for you at once.I joined the blog challenge, but my blog is not one that I use yet, instead I focused on finding other established blogs, and trying to determine a niche or angle for my blog that will be helpful to me and others in my PLN. I admitted I’m not going to be the foremost resource on free tech for teachers, or which apps are the best for the ipad. I also realized that I don’t need to be. I have expertise to offer in different ways. Use trial and error to find the tools that fit you and help you grow.

#6 Don’t force it

Be grateful for the help you are finding, don’t try and give back at first, just thank those who are sharing with you with a comment on their blog, a reply tweet, or an email complimenting their work. Soon enough you will be able to add to the conversation with strength, but don’t force it.

Your Challenge

Leave a comment below and answer one (or more) of the following:

  1. Stop and think what type of PLN do you already have, for me it was money saving blogs and christian life blogs that I ‘went to’ automatically every day. I already had a facebook feed that showcased some of the people I wanted to learn from. Figure out which areas are you drawn to: following the person on twitter, reading a facebook status, looking at a blog each day, or reading email every day.
  2. Choose one or two ways that are natural to you like reading statuses, or linking to livebinders, twitter, and then look for new blogs, people, or groups to follow in your favorite mode.
  3. As you build habits of reading and sharing via your favorite tools, add in a new resources to test like twitter or an e-zine. Learn about the new tools in your comfort zone. Set a goal.
  4. Figure out what is the best time to commit to your PLN development. I learned that I couldn’t do my late night research on twitter and things that were brand new to me. I had to try the new stuff when I wasn’t dead tired. New things I tackled for 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning or as a mid day break.
  5. Share what ideas you have for taking to grow or start your PLN. What are your top tips that helps you not be overwhelmed and get you going?

Even better than leaving a comment would be to write your response in a blog post and leave a link to it in the comments :)

Challenge on!

About the Author

Sarah PolingSarah Poling is a lifelong learner and new idea person. She loves to read, and is passionate about finding and using technology as a motivator and time saver. She is a Christ follower and is passionate about educating kids in ALL areas of their lives.

Teaching Bio: Teacher trainer at Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, Iowa. Her main responsibilities include : supervising student teachers and teaching about: assessment, management, technology use, children’s’ ministry, and special needs.

@sarahpoling

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PLN Challenge #3: Using Twitter to Build Your PLN

This guest post was written by Kathleen Morris, a grade two teacher and blogger from Victoria, Australia. This is post #3 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

Now you know what a PLN is, we’re going to look at ways to build one.

Most teachers who are using Twitter would probably agree that it is their number one way they build and connect with their PLN.

twitter

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you to send out short messages called tweets. Tweets are limited to 140 characters but can also contain media like photos or videos.

Twitter is a place that you can just lurk, by reading others’ tweets, or contribute to, by sending out your own tweets. Obviously the latter is what you work towards as the more you put in, the more you get out!

One of the great things about Twitter is that it is accessible via regular computers and mobile devices like iPads, iPhones and other smartphones. There is even a function to access Twitter via SMS.

Twitter is used by people in nearly every country around the world. For teachers, this means you have access to thousands of teachers around the world with rich backgrounds and experiences that can contribute to your professional growth.

Think you’re not interested in Twitter? Think again!

Twitter is more than just “another social networking tool”. It differs from Facebook in that it isn’t just about reconnecting with people you know or sharing what you’re cooking for dinner; Twitter is about connecting with like minded educators for personalised and ongoing professional development.

There are millions of tweets flying around in the Twittervese 24-7 but the good thing is you can use Twitter as your time and inclination permits!

I like Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s analogy of Twitter being like a river. The river keeps flowing but sometimes you might just walk past and have a quick look, sometimes you might hang around and dip your toes in, other times you might spend hours swimming around.

What will you get out of building a Twitter PLN?

I find Twitter to be like a virtual staffroom where I can catch up with my PLN. It is a place where I can find advice, give advice, find great links, share my work and engage in general musings about education.

Want examples?

In this post, Chris Betcher describes what he got out of tweeting for just 10 minutes.

Similarly, in this post Edna Sackson describes what she got out of 30 minutes on Twitter one morning.

Effective teaching and learning doesn’t occur in a vacuum. To be the best teacher you can be, you need a diverse and innovative network. Traditionally, the staff at your school was your only network of teachers to collaborate with. This network may not be diverse or innovative. With Twitter, the barriers of distance and access are broken down and the world is at your fingertips!

Five Steps to Building Your PLN via Twitter

1. Join

To sign up for Twitter, simply go to www.twitter.com and create a username. Don’t make your username too long and make it something that identifies you, like your name, rather than a complex nickname.

Compete your bio so people know who you are, and add an image. Personally, I like real photos much better than cartoon avatars. It helps you to build your relationship with your PLN. When you can’t build trust by meeting people face to face, things like bios and photos hold a lot of weight.

If you need more detailed information about setting up your Twitter account, check out this comprehensive post by Sue Waters - A Twitterholics Guide to Tweets, Hashtags and all Things Twitter.

2. Follow people

There are thousands of teachers around the world on Twitter, you just have to know where to find them! No ideas? Start with some people from the Edublogs community like @edublogs @suewaters @ronnieburt @tasteach @mgraffin @murcha @mr_avery and me, @kathleen_morris

Once you have a few people to follow, look at who they are following and you will start to build up your PLN.

You can also adopt some Twitter regulars as your mentors and ask them to put a tweet out to encourage their followers to follow you (I am happy to do that, just tweet me – @kathleen_morris)

3. Lurk

You’ll need to spend some time checking out the stream of tweets and getting the hang of tweeting, retweeting, direct messaging and hashtags. Click here for an overview. Many people say Twitter isn’t as intuitive as other web tools but it doesn’t take long for it to make sense.

Most people who use Twitter don’t actually use the Twitter website. There are a lot of more user-friendly Twitter clients out there. I like TweetDeck on my laptop and Echofon on my iPad. Find out more about Twitter clients here.

5. Contribute

Remember, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Don’t be afraid to start replying to people, retweeting tweets, asking questions and striking up conversations. Most teachers on Twitter are very friendly and always happy to help newbies find their feet!

5. Stick with it!

It took me a few attempts to get going with Twitter and I know I’m not the only one! Sticking with it is so important. Make yourself check in to Twitter daily for a month before you make any decisions about whether it is for you.

It takes time to build rapports with people. When you do, you’ll find your professional world will be so enlightened and your students will be better for it!

Your Task Challenge – Jump on the Twitter Bandwagon

  1. If you haven’t joined Twitter yet, head over to www.twitter.com and sign up. Leave a comment on this post with your Twitter name so we can follow you.
  2. Write a blog post about your initial impressions of Twitter. You could include – what you see as obstacles to taking part in Twitter, what you have learnt from being on Twitter, or who you have connected with via Twitter. Don’t forget to leave a comment here with the link to your post.
  3. Check out this list of nominees from the 2010 Edublog Awards – Best Individual Tweeter. Choose some tweeters who appeal to you to follow.
  4. Send out a tweet pointing people to this post!

About the Author

MORRISKathleen teaches grade two at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia.

2011 is the fourth year she has blogged with her students. Her class blog is a big part of her daily curriculum.

Kathleen writes a blog for educators about technology integration, educational blogging and global collaboration.

She also writes a free fortnightly e-newsletter for educators called Tech Tools for Teachers. Click here to sign up.

Find Kathleen on Twitter @kathleen_morris


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PLN Challenge #2: What is it that YOU want to know?

A few days ago, we launched the latest challenge in our free professional development series here on the Teacher Challenge blog. If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out, What the heck is a PLN?

previewWe have many great posts and activities lined up to share over the coming month or so, but wanted to first take the opportunity to do a little bit of informal pre-assessment with everyone participating.

So, this particular activity might be the shortest in the series, but it also might just be the most important.

Your Challenge

Leave a comment below and answer one (or both) of the following:

1. What do you hope to learn more about with respect to your PLN in the coming weeks?

2. What have you learned with creating your PLN that you wish that someone had told you before and what tips do you have to share?

Even better than leaving a comment would be to write your response in a blog post and leave a link to it in the comments :)

Challenge on!

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PLN Challenge #1: What the heck is a PLN?

Welcome to the Teacher Challenge!

  • Are you a new teacher, feeling isolated and alone?
  • Are you an experienced teacher looking for new ideas and inspiration?
  • Are you interested in sharing ideas and collaborating with other teachers?
  • Are you tired of falling asleep in boring professional learning seminars?
  • Have you heard about Personal Learning Networks or PLNs? Feeling lost, confused, wondering where to start?

If you’ve answered YES to any of these questions, then read on!

The “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge is for YOU!

Challenge Overview

Over the next month or so, we’ll be publishing a new post about setting up, enhancing, and participating in your very own personal learning network.

We’ll have 2 or 3 posts each week – and we encourage as much collaboration, participation, and fun as you can possibly have!

Make sure that you have either subscribed to this blog (form on the left), liked Edublogs on Facebook, or follow Edublogs on Twitter to keep up with each new post as they are published.

Want to contribute a guest post to the series, contact us and let us know! You don’t need to be an edublogs user to participate!

This guest post was written by Michael Graffin, a second year relief/substitute teacher and blogger from Western Australia. This is post #1 in the “30 Days to a Whole New PLN” challenge!

So, what is a PLN?

The word “PLN” stands for “Personal Learning Network”, and it has its origins in connectivism theory (Siemens, G. & Downes, S., 2005).

Why you should begin your own PLN —Ashley Azzopardi (@ashleyazzopardi)

Why you should begin your own PLN —Ashley Azzopardi (@ashleyazzopardi)

Let’s take this a little further…

The Personal:
Having a PLN is about making connections and building personal relationships with teachers, school administrators, university professors, and experts around the world. No matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone online available to answer questions, share their expertise, and simply chat about what’s happening in their lives and classrooms.

The Learning:
Having a PLN is about sharing ideas and resources, collaboration, and learning. We may share our learning, ideas and expertise in different ways; using different media and tools, but the essence is the same: the PLN is simply the best professional development you will ever participate in – and it’s available 24/7.

The Network:
The defining feature of the PLN is that it is a global learning network, enabling people to tap into and share diverse, global perspectives on teaching strategies, educational issues, and technologies. If takes time and effort to build these connections, but it’s well worth the effort.

Why a PLN? – “From little things, big things grow”

I’m a second year teacher, and a relative newcomer to the online education community. When I become an active social-media (Twitter™) user late last year, one of the first questions I asked myself was “What the heck is a PLN?”

Now, a mere six months later, I have come to realise that developing a Personal Learning Network is an empowering, transformational process, which fundamentally transforms your professional learning and teaching approach. And my experience is hardly unique

Real People, Real Teachers – Why we have a PLN

How can I get started?

Well, this is what the Teacher Challenge is all about. Over the next four weeks, the Teacher Challenge team, and a wide variety of guest bloggers will be exploring the various tools and media which you can use to build, expand, and improve your very own PLN.

For now, here’s an introduction to some of the topics we’ll be covering:

How to build a PLN? from Elena Elliniadou on Vimeo.

You can also check out my original “What the heck is a PLN” post here.

Your Task Challenge – Join the Conversation!

Personal Learning Networks are all about sharing, collaborating, and learning from each-other. So here’s your chance to ask a question, comment, and get involved!

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about PLNs by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. Leave a comment on the “Real People, Real Teachers” Voicethread (You might like to watch the embedded “We Connect Video” by Shelly Terrell first).
  2. Write a blog post sharing your experiences with building and engaging with your Personal Learning Network (don’t forget to leave a link in the comments below).
  3. Leave a comment on this post! Ask us a question. Join the conversation!
  4. If you know of a good website, blog post, or wiki about PLNs, please add a link to the “Building a PLN – Essential Reading” Google Doc.

About the Author

michaelMichael Graffin is a second year relief / substitute teacher working in Perth, Western Australia.

Michael is a reflective edublogger, and an active member of the online teacher community on Twitter. He is passionately interested in literacy teaching, ICT integration, and forging authentic global connections through the use of Web 2.0 tools in education.

He is consistently amazed and inspired by the people in his Personal Learning Network, and enjoys connecting with new and experienced educators around the world.

Blog: A Relief Teacher’s Journey
Twitter: @mgraffin
Wikis: My Web 2.0 Adventures & Global Classroom 2011
LinkedIn: Michael Graffin

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