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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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  1. I want to use my PLN to learn innovative ways of using technology in my classroom

  2. In the coming weeks, I hope to learn how to efficiently teach my students and allow them to thrive in the schools environment.

  3. I would like to become more comfortable with the technology aspect of teaching/learning.

    • catherine ellsworth
  4. I hope to learn new and effective ways to help my students learn better and retain information.

  5. I want to learn to use a PLN to help connect with more teacher nationally to get connected and help enhance my teaching skills.
    2. No one has ever mentioned in my school of connecting through twitter. My school has always been weird about social media links when really it can be a very powerful tool when used professionally and correctly.

  6. I want to learn how to personalise my PLN so that I can get the best out of using the network to aid in my becoming of a teacher.

  7. Id like to be build my PLN by connected with special education educators for ideas and information.

    • ellen wernert
    • Hi Ellen

      Thanks for participating in the Teacher Challenge series and I’ve left the following comment on your blog.

      Have you also looked at using twitter to connect with other Special education teachers? If you use the hashtag #specialeducation you will probably find educators from your field to network with – https://twitter.com/search?q=%23specialeducation&src=typd

      Hope this helped and please let us know if you need any help.


      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  8. How do special education teacher most effectively use PLNs?

  9. Hmm, I guess what I would want to know more about is connecting with other educators who use Project Based Learning in their classroom to compare notes about how they conduct their classrooms and what projects they’ve worked on.

  10. I would like learn more about performance assessments for career development students in middle grades.
    I would like to learn more about standards based assessments.

  11. I’m very new to the whole idea of Twitter, blogs, etc. and have a very long way to go before I am comfortable using these technology tools. Hopefully this training will give me some confidence in connecting with other middle school choral directors.

    • Zabette Millsaps
  12. I’ve blogged or tweeted but I am interested in connecting with fellow Middle School Physical Educators to continue to make our program better! Anybody out there in cyberspace?

    • Hi Ben, the best way to connect with fellow Middle School Physical Educators is for me to ask my twitter followers if they can recommend any to follow you. Would you like me to ask?

      Please send a tweet @suewwaters if you do.

  13. I am a middle school math teacher and would love to learn some fun and different types of math core activities to use in the classroom to motivate and excite the unmotivated student and fun and creative ways to differentiate instruction in the classroom.

    • Marleigh Whiteman
    • Hi Marleigh, I’ll send out a tweet to my twitter followers to see if they will share ideas of maths activities.

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

    I hope to learn how to connect, collaborate and share engaging lessons with other physical science teachers.

    • Hi LaChaka, the best way to connect with physical science teachers is to use Twitter. Are you using Twitter? Please send me a tweet @suewaters if you would like me to ask for physical science teachers to connect with you on Twitter.

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  18. I’m reasonably behind on these posts, as well, and I agree that it’s better to comment late as opposed to never. Much like Claire (above) I’m starting to build and organise my PLN and there’s just so much information out there. While I’m not new to blogging, I’ve just recently set up a blog specifically dedicated to my teaching and learning experiences and after speaking to my school’s Ultranet coach have re-discovered the usefulness of Twitter in terms of finding and locating like-minded individuals and delighting in the resources that are being shared.

    I’ll admit to quite a bit of lurking, but I would imagine that at this stage that’s probably the best thing for me to do (although I am hoping to become ambitious in the next little while).

    At this stage, just reading other people’s comments and questions have been fantastic and have answered some of my own questions in the progress. I am hoping to now get back on track with this challenge over the holidays. I just wanted to step in for a quick moment to say a big thank you for all the advice and suggestions that I’ve been reading about. It really is fantastic.

  19. I’m a little bit behind with these posts, but better late than never. I am slowly but surely organising my PLN. Well I think I am. Started a blog, on twitter and now trying to get a website together. Is that a PLN? My problem though, which is not really a complaint, is that I am overloaded with information. I am getting so many website links from twitter, reading fantastic blogs. So where do I start. Trying to make things as simple as possible to get started. Thank you for all your advice, much appreciated.

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  21. Thanks everyone so far for sharing what you are hoping to learn and what advice you would give others.

    I’ve spent the last few days visiting everyone’s posts and reflecting on everyone’s feedback!

  22. Pingback: PLN Challenge #’s 1, 2, & 3 | New School ELT

  23. Hi, I am looking for ways to share what I know with others. I also am looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.

    • Tech Teacher 803
  24. Lots of the above posts have asked or answered some of my ever growing questions. I suppose for me, being new to twitter, I followed people who had a similar class level or interest to me.

    I am passionate about literacy and some of the people I follow are educators who are also mad about reading and writing. I follow who they follow, who they follow, who they follow etc ….. BUT then I got to thinking…

    This is all well and good to watch out for their tweets (and believe me just reading some of the tweets has been the most powerful PD for me ever!) But I wished I could be part of the conversation or ask a question to learn more. So recently I just jumped in and started asking, collaborating and talking through Replies, @mentions, DM and RT.

    I think there needs to be more of this collaboration/conversation going on with Twitter as often I see us all tweeting madly, but how do we reflect or know who/where the audience is or what the purpose of these tweets are,or even if anyone cares what I have to tweet?? I would like to learn how to form a PLN that collaborates and enters in professional dialogue that is practice enriching and engaging through #edchat, @mention, #FF, RT, DM, R, etc. What do others think???

    Food for thought.


    • Hi Jasmine, it’s definitely worth taking the time to be part of the conversation on Twitter.

      Watching how people like Michael (@mgraffin), Kathleen (@Kathleen_morris), Jo (@johart) and Phil (@Philhart) do it are great ways to see how you can become more involved.

      You’ll see that like a f2f conversation there is a certain amount of small talk, casual conversation, mixed with helping each other and connecting with others.

      The stronger the relationships the better your interactions become.

  25. So many more things I could add to my post after reading all of these comments! Nice to see so many people feeling and thinking the same way.

    My blog post for this challenge can be found at:


  26. I want to share and learn more about best practices and resources that have helped teachers implement them. I am also looking forward to just having good educational conversation.

    Because I am new to blogging and twitter, I wish I had known more about setting up a blog and all this twitter lingo. I’m learning though:)

  27. I hope to become more tech savvy and I want to get really familiar with twitter. I had an account when it first started getting popular but I just lost interest because I wasn’t familiar with all I could do and how to do it. I hope that I can also use the valuable resources that I learn about to get my classroom inspired to learn.

    I also want to figure out how to organize everything and how to I search to find educators on my grade level, I am new to fourth grade this year.

  28. Like others who have responded, I feel a bit late to the party, as well. I’ve been dabbling in blogging and tweeting for a while, but finding time is an issue.

    I’m just beginning to form a number of connections, but most are people in regular education classrooms – while I work with kids on the autism spectrum. So finding others in special education would be nice.

    Lastly, the question was already asked about how to organize all the resources we do encounter. And a couple of folks already gave some suggestions. Thanks!

  29. Hi Barbara,

    Your first comment sums up what I would like to do – make the online education become alive.

    Something that students and staff look forward to logging into on a daily basis to see what is new and of interest.


  30. Hi everyone!

    I would like to learn how to become connected with other teachers around the world rather than still feel that I am on my only lonely.

    There is a great community of teachers here in Victoria sharing on Edulists.

    I have been using blogs and wikis with my classes on pretty much a local basis.

    I would love to see this be expanded to other classes around the world.

    You can follow my attempts to do this 30 day challenge on my blog. And please visit the class blog and leave a message for us to get started with joining up with other classes around the world.


  31. Syd said what I have to say perfectly. How do we organize ourselves with our already busy schedule in order to set up a PLN? I know need to network, but do not know how to narrow down the possibilities.

    I have been blogging since the first TEacher Challenge and just starting Tweeting, hoping to build a network. Many people are following me and I feel I have nothing to offer…yet.

    I maintain three class blogs for adults and university students, the most active being http://teachingknowledge.wordpress.com. I also maintain the local chapter blog for MEXTESOL, the Mexican version of TESOL.

    • Hi Ellen, agreed. Syd said it perfectly. Just work out what works best for you. I think many of us feel we don’t have much to offer. Collectively we do. Sometimes the best parts of twitter are the random conversations we have which are just as important and the ones we have to help and share.

  32. I love sharing resources on Twitter- been doing it for over a year now and I’ve done a good job filtering out the noise. I’ve learned so much from those I follow and my students have definitely benefitted from what they’ve shared.

    However, I feel as though I’ve come late to the party. Everyone seems deeply connected to already-established PLNs.

    Where have people found the time to build connections the way it seems they’ve done? It’s hard enough finding time for friends and family while building a program that’s meaningful to students. How do some of the online edu-rock-stars DO the amazing things they do (Tweeting, blogging, meeting-up, webinar-ing, conference-attending, book-writing, curating, etc.)while maintaining balance in their personal lives?

    In the past year, it’s been really hard for me to find time to be consistent enough to maintain a blog or build meaningful connections on the various edu-sites I’m a part of. I’d like to change that, but I need to know how others find the time considering they must be just as busy as I am simply being a teacher. :o)

    • Oh, geesh. Methinks my emoticon went rogue and is being flirty. Apologies. Can’t take her anywhere…

      • Syd
        Loved your ramble and to some extent this is where I sit. I do blog and follow Twitter but only as I find the time, which as you say as a teacher it can be difficult.

        • I agree — I teach full time and am Technology Coordinator. I twitter and blog as I can…this is as it should be, I think.

    • Hi Syd, the key is really to fit is as Sheri says. Do it when it can and when it suits you. That is why PLN’s are personal — it’s about what works for you.

      • Thank goodness for all your comments. I feel so guilty sometimes at not having enough time to be as deeply involved as others are. The point is that every you blog or tweet you build up your skills.

  33. What I want to know is, well, a few things:

    1) What is the best free stuff I can find and use to support making the online teaching environment come alive and connect our students. Not bells and whistles, but enlivenment and education.
    2)How can I best organize the tools I come across? Would an eportfolio be the ticket, or a site about sites, or an ongoing blog with organized links, or…?
    Looking forward to learning, and to coming up with new questions!

    • Barbara D'Elia
    • Symbaloo EDU is a great website to organize your favorite tools…it is awesome! It has an app-like feature where you can customize all of your favorites onto one page. You can also make it for your homepage. This has saved me. Also check out http://www.go2web20.net for free online tools. Hope this helps!

    • Barbara,
      Depends if you want the tools for teachers or students. I run grade 6/7 ICT at my school and I have a class blog. In the header at the top of the blog are pages to links I recommend to my students. This includes websites on topics we cover, websites students have recommended as well as tools for students to try out. Check it out at this link.

  34. Before beginning my PLN adventure, I wish someone had told me the vital signs to look for in the Twitter profiles of people I might consider or NOT… following: review their tweets, check # of followers and who they are and bio. But still the best thing I’ve done professional in a VERY Long time, hands down!

    • Sherri Powers
    • Thanks Sherri and totally agree. For me the main things are check their bio and if in doubt check their most recent tweets.

      Great advice!

  35. How do I get connected to other Social Studies teachers?

    • Thomas Thompson