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Welcome to second step in our free professional learning series on building your PLN.

In the first step, we unpacked the definition of a PLN and looked at the benefits of being a connected educator.

You may now be wondering how to begin building your own PLN.

The aim of this step is to:

  1. Offer an overview of how to build a PLN
  2. Provide a snapshot of some tools educators use to connect with their PLN
  3. Share tips for connecting with educators from around the globe
  4. Discuss barriers to building a PLN

The Networked Teacher

Around a decade ago, Alec Couros created two diagrams that have been shared thousands of times.

This first diagram demonstrates how a teacher would traditionally connect and learn.

Image by Alec Couros, CC CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This diagram of “The Networked Teacher” demonstrates just some of the ways that educators can connect now that technology is at their fingertips. Note, the “old” ways of connecting are still there.

The Networked Teacher diagram by Alec Couros showing the different media that educators can connect with -- blogs, social bookmarking, chat etc.
Image by Alec Couros (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Alec’s brother George reminds us that the arrows go back and forth and it’s not only about what you consume but what you create. You can give as well as receive.

What Tools Are Used?

Teachers from all over the globe are online and learning together, but where exactly do you find these teachers and develop working relationships with them?

In a 2016 study called “Together we are better: Professional Learning Networks For Teachers”, K-12 teachers were asked how they use PLNs.

The most popular tool in the sample was Twitter with 53% of participants indicating that they used this tool to connect with others.

Other popular tools listed in the survey included blogs, Edmodo, Google+, Facebook, Discovery Education Network, and Pinterest.

84% of survey participants indicated that they use more than one medium or site.

How Are Teachers Connecting On Online Platforms?

Teachers use social media and other online spaces in a variety of ways to connect with their PLN.

Here are ten examples:

  1. Twitter — Educators follow people they’re interested in, ranging from “thought leaders” to everyday teachers in a similar subject area or age group. Teachers also use hashtags to follow topics of interest, and join Twitter chats to discuss ideas in real time. Be sure to follow Edublogs and CampusPress on Twitter. The next step in this series will explain how to start using Twitter.
  2. Facebook — Educators follow pages and profiles of people and businesses involved in education. They also join Facebook groups to post questions, ask for feedback, and respond to others. Visit our Edublogs Facebook page and Facebook for Education to start learning something new.
  3. Instagram — You can follow educators to get new ideas for lessons, activities, learning spaces and more. Hashtags make it easy to search for topics you’re interested in. Check out Tony Vincent’s Guide to Instagram For Teachers.
  4. Pinterest — Pinterest is becoming a go-to for many educators looking for fresh ideas, resources, and connections. Explore 37 Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest by Teach Thought. Be sure to follow Edublogs on Pinterest too!
  5. Google+ — There are all sorts of Google+ communities for educators where you connect, learn, and share. Google Hangouts is also a useful tool, similar to Skype. Check out Mark Anderson’s Beginner’s Guide to Google+ For Teachers.  
  6. Blogs — Blogs play an important role in most educators’ PLNs. This might include reading blogs from a variety of different people or writing your own blog. Visit Step Five of this series for more information.
  7. Email newsletters — There might be an educator, thought leader, or blogger who you really enjoy following. Chances are, they have an email newsletter that you can subscribe to for free to have curated news and contented delivered straight to inbox!
  8. Voxer — This walkie-talkie like tool can be used as an app on your mobile device or on your computer. Educators can engage in both synchronous and asynchronous conversations about their professional practice. Learn more in this article on Voxer by Amy Heavin.
  9. YouTube — Video is a powerful medium. Many teachers enjoy following a selection of YouTube channels to keep up to date with a variety of topics. Check out Kasey Bell’s 20 YouTube Channels for Educators to find some channels that might interest you.
  10. LinkedIn — Considered a “professional” social networking platform, educators can connect with a large community of professionals on LinkedIn. Explore this collection of 25 LinkedIn groups for networking teachers via Fractus Learning.

Feel free to share this graphic on your blog or with your colleagues.

Popular ways educators are learning with their PLN Edublogs Teacher Challenge

Tips For Developing Relationships

PLNs are all about relationships! Here are a few tips to consider as you begin to build your PLN.

  1. Invest some time in building your PLN. Set aside even 15 or 20 minutes a day and you’ll build momentum in no time.
  2. PLNs work both ways. Remember, the more you share, the more you’ll find you receive in return.
  3. Try different tools. There are so many different forms of social media, online tools, and ways to connect. Dip your toes in and see how educators are using various tools.
  4. Find tools that work best for you. While it’s definitely worth giving things a try, not every platform is for everyone. Choose to dedicate time to the tools you enjoy and find the most rewarding.
  5. Follow up with people. If someone connects with you whether it’s through a tweet, blog comment, Facebook group, or any platform, thank them, ask a question, and get to know them. These are the building blocks of forming a relationship.
  6. Ask for help. If you find someone who already has a number of connections (on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or wherever) ask them to introduce you to others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re figuring out how various platforms work either.
  7. Curate wisely. If you want to share interesting resources with people in your PLN, make sure you read beyond a headline and share things you think will be truly useful.
  8. Diversify. Try to connect with people with diverse opinions and points of view. It’s easy for “birds of a feather to flock together”, however, sometimes there is more to gain from communicating with a range of people from different backgrounds.
  9. Involve your students. Once you get to know a few educators, you might start to think about ways you can connect your students. Check out our Edublogger’s Guide To Global Collaboration for lots of ideas.
  10. Spread the word. As you begin to explore PLNs and online communities, share this information with others in your school or district. Maybe they don’t realize this wonderful virtual opportunity exists!

Barriers To Creating A PLN

In our first step, we looked at many of the advantages of building a PLN. If the benefits of being a connected educator are clear, what holds so many teachers back from building their own PLN?

Perhaps the first obstacle is that many teachers simply don’t know about PLNs. They don’t know there are thousands of educators from around the world who are online connecting, collaborating, and learning together.

Furthermore, Tom Whitby has outlined three deterrents to educators using PLNs as a tool for ongoing learning.

The PLN is a mindset, not the outcome of a workshop or the PD offered annually by many school districts. It is not a one-shot fix.

Teachers have learned through the “sit and get” model for generations. This mindset shift where you need to realize that you are responsible for your own learning and you can take control can be difficult to adapt to.

Additionally, prioritizing the investment in time that building a PLN requires would certainly be an obstacle for some. Step seven in this series offers some tips on finding time to invest in your PLN.

Successful users of PLNs overwhelm the uninitiated with techno-babble.

Hopefully, the future steps in this course can break down any overwhelming “techno-babble”.

You will probably find that many teachers who are regular uses of online technologies proclaim that they are “not very tech savvy”. Even George Couros who has a Twitter following of 224,000+ has said, “I’m not that good with technology and you probably aren’t either“.

It requires, at least at first, digital literacy beyond a Google search.

It is certainly essential that educators develop their digital literacy. As Silvia Tolisano has pointed out, our notion of what it means to be literate or illustrate calls for an update. 

... merely reading and writing in text form and on analog platforms is simply not enough to call yourself literate. The skills and abilities MUST include reading and writing in various media forms and on multiple platforms INCLUDING digital spaces. We can’t continue to differentiate between our analog and digital world. We live in ONE world after all.

If you feel like you need to improve your own digital literacy skills, don’t despair! You don’t need to learn everything before you embark on building your PLN. We will provide you with the essential tips and skills throughout this course and you can learn as you go.

If you feel like your skills need updating in other areas, such as blogging and online tools, we have other free courses you can work through at your own pace too.

Conclusion

Becoming a connected educator is something that takes work but has enormous advantages for both you and your students. In fact, many educators would say that it’s an essential responsibility of teachers to connect and commit to lifelong learning.

As George Couros has said, “Isolation is now a choice educators make“.

There are so many ways to free yourself from isolation. The following steps in this series breaks down three powerful avenues to becoming a connected educator — Twitter, blogs, and content curation.

Your Task

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation on building your own PLN by undertaking one or more of the following challenges:

  1. Preferences: We all enjoy connecting in different ways. Write a post or comment on this post about how you plan to connect with other educators. What sites or tools do you think you’d prefer to use to make connections. Why?
  2. Relationship tips: Revise our list of tips for developing working relationships with other educators. What resonates most with you? Do you have any ideas to add? Tell us in a comment.
  3. Barriers: We have identified some common barriers to building a PLN. Leave a comment and tell us what the biggest barrier has been for you (or others you know). Share your thoughts on how this obstacle can be overcome.

Also feel free to leave a comment to ask any questions or share your tips.

How to leave a comment: Scroll down to find the comment box. Write your comment, then enter your name and email address (email addresses are not published). Enter the anti-spam word. Press submit and we will moderate your comment ASAP.

54 Comments

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  1. I would say some the barriers of starting a PLN for educators is not knowing what it is or where to start. Educators are used to accustomed way of doing things and this also the issue with professional development. We as educators need to step out of the box in order to broaden our spectrum of new age PD.

    • Thanks for sharing your reflections, Bridgette. Hopefully you can help tell a couple of teachers who have no idea about PLNs what opportunities exist for them!

      • Kathleen Morris
  2. I am most comfortable with facebook. I have used twitter a few times so this is another avenue I would be able to use. I would like to use Pinterest and learn Google+. I am stressing about how to “put together” my PLN. Where is my PLN “housed”? I’m just not seeing the end product at this point.

    • Hi Lynn,
      I’m currently working on updating the third step in this series on Twitter. Hopefully it will be done later this week and it will make Twitter a lot clearer for you!
      That’s a good question about putting together your PLN. I have always sort of housed it in my head, in a similar way that you organize your offline contacts and friendship networks or colleagues. However, I’m all for writing things down too. Some people like to make lists of key people to follow. For example, Erin Fisher has put together a short Google doc here. She calls it here cheat sheet.

      • Kathleen Morris
  3. I’m nervous to jump into collaboration in the digital world, but I know it will be so worthwhile in the end! This challenge has provided a lot of tools, ideas, and websites to help me begin the process. I’m planning on starting simple with Twitter and continuing to utilize Diigo, but I’m hoping to start a classroom blog in the near future. I’m always browsing teaching blogs and wishing to have one of my own; now, it’s just about making the time for that dream to be a reality!

  4. Now that the semester is coming to a close, I am able to reflect on what I have learned through my instructional technology course. I was unaware of all that was available for educators, literally at the touch of our hands! I plan on connecting with other educators through programs such Twitter and Classroom 2.0. I use to view Twitter as only a social media app for irresponsible teenagers to complain about their math teacher giving them homework on a Friday, but now my view has changed. Twitter seems to always be up to date with the latest information, regardless of what the topic is. I hope to collaborate with other educators on what technological advances are out there in our world. I want to engage with other educators and work together to ensure that we are giving our students the most in their education.

    • Love this reflection, Sam. Thanks for sharing!

      • Kathleen Morris
  5. After a semester of taking an Instructional Technology class, I have built a larger PLN group than I could have imagined. Using tools such as Twitter, Diigo, and Classroom 2.0 has broadened my network to more than just local teachers. I feel that Twitter may come in the most handy while growing my network. It is such a universal tool that is recognized my most anyone, and it seems that there is a lot of helpful chats to get involved in. Before this class I did not have a Twitter account but will for sure continue to have one. I also plan on using Diigo with fellow teachers to a wealth of bookmarked ideas for teaching.

    • Hi Ted, this is a great to hear! Isn’t Twitter great? I feel like there are still so many teachers who really don’t understand the potential. Great to hear you’re using Diigo too. I used to use it a lot but haven’t been as much lately. I should get back into it. It was very handy! 🙂
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  6. 1. After dabbling in sites like Classroom 2.0 and even other “social media”-type platforms, I think that just have sharing websites are the most helpful. From what I’ve reviewed in my Instructional Technology class, using sites like WordPress, Pinterest, and even Twitter can really help connect with educators around the world and share ideas, personal experiences, and even advice to new or struggling educators.
    2. For my Instructional Technology class, I started an academic blog on WordPress and I’ve found it to be very helpful. I like being able to search up what specifically I’m curious about and find people reviewing articles, sharing external links, or just blogging about their take or experience with the matter. It’s all been very informational and hopefully helpful in the future!

    • Terrific reflection, Erica! So great to hear you’re finding blogging helpful too. I agree there is a lot to be learnt through blogging.

      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  7. When starting this PLN process i was surprised to see what the possibilities were on different sites. Starting with Twitter, i assumed it was mostly for people to just chat and use for social media, however there are a lot of professionals who actively use it for work purposes. Classroom 2.0 on the other hand seems to be very good as a platform for one who wants to connect with others for the sake of their careers solely.

    I’ll personally try to use both and take what i can whenever it is available to me. Twitter seemed to be easier to connect with others since it is more open and more people use it. Classroom 2.0 seemed to be for more serious people so i would use this to build strong connections rather than 1 off tweets.

    I found this 10 step PLN process very helpful and i would definitely recommend it to others who are serious about building a network for their benefit.

    • Hi Ahmed,

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. We are so pleased to hear you found the 10 step PLN process helpful.

      I agree about Twitter. Long ago, before I got involved I assumed it was a place for people to chat or talk about what they’re eating for breakfast etc. Boy was I wrong. Twitter is pretty much my number one source for learning and connecting on the topic of education now! I love your thoughts on Classroom 2.0 too.

      Thanks!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  8. I will connect with other educators through blogs and Classroom 2.0, both of which I found to be very helpful in connecting my with other educators across the nation and world. In this, I will be able to bring new ideas and ways of teaching into my classroom, which will allow for a more interactive, wholesome experience for my students.

    • Sounds like a great approach, Sylvie. Connecting with others sure is powerful.

      • Kathleen Morris
  9. I feel comfortable using the technology I have to share ideas and post things that I think such as Twitter or Facebook in a way to connect with others through my network.

    • Mattie Bennett
  10. I had a great time learning throughout this challenge and feel more confident in reaching out to others through twitter, blogs, and soon Classroom 2.0. Since I am very new to all of this, I prefer lurking, but I know in order to rally connect,I have to share as well. I think as I become more comfortable with technology and using these tools, I will feel more confident and connect more frequently with others, to share ideas, reflect,and to learn.

    • Mary Ellen Mulderrig
  11. Thank you so much for the great ideas and tips, for suggesting to put ourselves out there. I liked a lot of your ideas and even if I think that it is a little intimidating at first I think that the reaching out to a global community will make it not only fun but very informative. Even having a Twitter account, is not easy for me to really write things on it or reach out, I think that I will give this a try. Also, now that I joined Classroom 2.0 and Diigo, I am planning to be collaborating more actively. I even have a blog now that I will try to keep up with. Thank you so much for all the information, encouragement, and ideas.

  12. Thank you for your insight on making connections. Usually I am skeptical about social media, but the collaborative projects you mentioned are excellent examples of the power of technology and communication. I can see students of all ages and backgrounds getting engaged by this type of work.

  13. Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and great ideas in this! I usually think of making connections as teacher to teacher connections but I really love that you mentioned how you tied in both blogs and twitter chats to actual conversation you were having with your students. What a great way to engage them! As a huge supporter of multiculturalism and multicultural education, I also really appreciate the ways in which connections, like you mentioned, can reach other teachers and students globally.

  14. I think the best and easiest way to make connections with other teachers around the world is on Twitter. Because a PLN is a network, it is easy for one tweet to travel its way to exactly the person who needs to see it and can help with it! I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with others through my PLN on service learning projects and curriculum.

  15. One thing that I have always struggled with in connecting with people on twitter, is making the initial connection. I am always fearful of what to say or who to say it to. You made a good point when you said to just put yourself out there. I have the desire to connect, professionally, with people on twitter, and the only way that I will make that goal happen is to make the first step and actually talk to someone. I can’t expect to make any meaningful connections if I don’t try. Worst case scenario is that they don’t respond, and that isn’t that bad. Thanks for this post, and the tips on what to do if someone actually does respond!

  16. Wow, I have gained so many great ideas from just a short article with information, First of all I love the “quad-blogging”. I can see so many applications for this with my students. But the best application would definitely be in a Geography classroom. This would be something that could greatly not only enhance their learning, but also their desire to study the discipline.

    In the “5 tips” the one that strikes me is “Be Prepared to Collaborate” It is not enough to just “watch” collaboration but to participate and get involved to experience them. I am more excited now than ever to get involved and put this into action.

    • Donna Ferguson
  17. Thank you for sharing! You brought up a lot of different platforms for making connections with other educators. Twitter seems to be brought up a lot, but I appreciated you mentioning some of the other options. Personally, I think Skype sounds a little intimidating but it was nice to see all the different ways educators can connect and what they can accomplish when they actually do!

    I also appreciated your reminder to follow up with people. I am always so encouraged when people write a comment on one of my posts so it is certainly good practice to engage in these conversations with people we are connecting with. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  18. Thank you for sharing your personal educational learning experiences, Shawn! Your emphasis on collaboration and knowledge sharing is an area that intimidates me quite a bit, but is huge to being a life-long learner. When you were connecting with other teachers, I really liked your example of quad blogging. This is the first time I have heard of it, and I really like the idea of extending the educational network to a global scale that involves students in classrooms. I am still entering the realm of PLN, but Skype and Twitter are two platforms that I feel I would prefer using to make connections.

  19. Hi, I plan to connect my PLN by using sites like Yammer, which is a WV education collaboration site of teacher helping teachers in WV. I also intend to use Twitter. I am new at this and have as of yet still looking. Though as I was looking around I did find some civic sites, 1Civics.org that looks promising.

  20. Something that this blog post really emphasized for me is that a PLN is all about reciprocal relationships. It was interesting to read about the impact it has when you reach out to, and then follow up with someone. It can lead to awesome global partnerships, which does nothing but improve students’ classroom experience!

  21. Making connections is such an important part of being a great educator. At this point in my schooling, I typically only collaborate with fellow classmates and professors. In a few years when I am a teacher, I will need to broaden my horizons to make more meaningful connections. I plan on using Pinterest for classroom ideas and google for help with specific questions or problems I may have. I am not on board the twitter train yet, but having heard so many educators benefit from twitter, I may have to jump on the bandwagon if it comes down to it. However, I believe that collaborating with fellow educators in the school district that I find myself working at will be very meaningful as well.

  22. I found many useful ideas through reading this page! I have used ideas from Pinterest in order to figure out lessons and projects other teachers have used in their classrooms. I plan to use Twitter to generate more ideas for my future classroom. I am going to use this year to make my Twitter more useful for me in education.

  23. Thank you very much for this information about making connections. I have trouble making these kind of connections because of my personality, but I think I could really like using Twitter as a way of making connections as well as other sites. It will take a great deal of work for me to really get comfortable not only making connections but also using them. One thing I really appreciated is the way you gave very specific examples and ways that you as a teacher can change it up to best suit the classroom, such as with the family feud version of skyping. Differentiating these great resources really help with keeping student interest and promoting their learning.

  24. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but educational blogs provide a large base for learning and sharing teaching strategies. Even Twitter and Pinterest are often used as a storage place to help others find links to blog pages. It is an interesting idea to expose students to a blog to respond to as a class. This could be a great way to teach netiquette skills such as how to respectfully communicate online and for students to learn from others in a way that they can replicate outside the classroom. Thanks for all your great ideas on developing a PLN!

  25. Making connections by simply relying on personal interactions with other professionals can severely limit the range of knowledge one can take in about their passions and concerns. By using twitter, pinterest, and facebook as ways of chatting with and sharing ideas with other educators broadens and provides deeper knowledge to be gained. I plan to use twitter as a means of chatting with other educators. I also plan to use pinterest as a way of finding ideas and posting my own ideas.

  26. I really appreciate that it has been stated many times throughout this learning series that the only way to develop a PLN is to ‘simply start’. One of the hesitations that I have regarding beginning on Twitter or attempting to expand my PLN is that once I am started that I need to have everything flushed out and thought through when in actuality (as stated in this article) all it takes is the desire to begin! That is both encouraging and exciting! Thank you so much for your insight!

  27. I prefer twitter as a way to connect with other educators because it appears to be the least maintenance. Twitter has a word limit and that in and of itself is very attractive. I have so little free time that in order to effectively use a PLN, it would have to be something that doesn’t require a ton of time. Also twitter seems to me like the best way to hear from many different people. Searching a hashtag will offer me a ton of comments faster than searching through blogs or any of the other options on here. I also am more familiar with twitter so the fact that I already know how to use it makes it a more appealing choice.

  28. So far, I have utilized Pinterest as a tool to get ideas for my classroom. Due to this professional development, I also created a Twitter account and a Flipboard account for professional development purposes. Thus far, I have only used these sites for lurking and have not posted any original material. I definitely see myself using Pinterest as a way to share my projects and ideas with other educators. I love to integrate the arts in my first grade classroom and could easily photograph our projects and share them on Pinterest. It would be gratifying to inspire other teachers!

    • Mary Beth Kulin
  29. My best experience in communicating with other educators has been at Journey to Learn conferences. I have been able to make a great number of connections with similar subject teachers in the surrounding school districts and bounce ideas back and forth and absorb a lot of great information. I realize this project has largely focused on web-based technologies that can be used to build a PLN, but very little can beat the immediacy and connectivity of direct conversation. As a young educator I am growing like a tree; expanding my reach in many directions over time and garnering new relationships along with new information.

    • Daniel Surovchak
  30. Thank you for the persuasion I needed to go and ask some questions!

    I am not a fan of the “networking” culture, where people become contacts for an individual’s self-advancement, with not investment given without an expected return. But this seems quite different to the whole “Here’s my LinkedIn”, or “we should get coffee because you might no someone who’s willing to hire me”. So “making connections” had a callous feel to it before reading the page, tainted by that whole deal.

    This sounds more like social networking where the intention is to share and share alike, and to by all means get to know someone better over time. There is a friendliness about it, and common goals that extend far beyond the individual.
    It is a little daunting to start conversations with people over the internet, especially if I feel I am asking out of a moderate curiosity and the responder may go all out, putting a lot of their time aside for my sake. Educators are notoriously generous with the little time they have. I can imagine spending some time “lurking” before I felt I’d have something to ask that couldn’t be answered by Google.

    I feel like blogs are perhaps the most approachable format, to my thinking. Anything I made a blog entry about I would know enough about to answer any curious passer-by, compared to a few dropped names or terms in a comment somewhere.
    Equally it feels less personal to leave a comment on a blog – the author can choose to leave it be, unlike a more personal message directly to the author, which demands a response.

  31. Shawn,
    Thank you for the insightful post. It’s encouraging to hear how many helpful teaching ideas you’ve been able to gain through networking. However, I do have a question. You mention being innovative in making connections. My concern is the time that this takes. Is new technology worth the effort if it takes away from instructional time, or time that could be spent planning for instruction? Especially for those of us who are not incredibly technologically savvy, what makes something like “Family Feud Skyping” more beneficial than traditional Skype?My other question is how you’ve been able to find all of these resources.. Where do you find out about new technology such as “Family Feud Skyping?”, or specific chat rooms? I have never heard of many of the things you mentioned in your post. I do like many of your ideas for gaining information specifically for your subject area or grade level, or for specific things you want to develop in as an educator. Quad-blogging sounds very beneficial, as do many of the specific Twitter chats. It’s neat to hear how you can personalize your PLN to suite your needs. Thank you for your post!

  32. Wow! It is hard to believe that a month has gone by and I have learned so much by participating in the Edublogs PLN Teacher Challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel like my steps are baby steps. But overall, it has been quite an eye opener revealing all the possibilities as I continue to build my PLN and learn to build my blog as well.

    My favorites so far have been Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest. But I was already somewhat familiar with all of those except for Twitter. In addition, I am loving Scoop-It! to curate great up to the latest information. My plan is to continue to use Weebly for a book study this year for our teacher cohort and of course, utlilize the terrific resources Edublogs has to offer. Thank you for all the fabulous educators and resources I have been able to add to my PLN through the Edublogs PLN Teacher Challenge!

  33. This past summer, I was in Calgary at SMART’s World Headquarters for a SMART Educators Summit. I ran into another educator I follow on Twitter. I look at her tweets to discover new ways of integrating technology into classrooms. She recognized me, knew we followed each other, and asked what happened. Why haven’t I posted lately any new ideas for technology integration? I needed to get back into blogging and tweeting my ideas because she loved to read them. That struck me. I always looked at Twitter as a means to get ideas but never thought anyone actually looked at my ideas. So I would say Twitter has become the biggest way I connect with other educators.

    • Hi Dan, thanks for sharing the feedback from your Twitter follower. It is great when you meet someone and they share stories of how you’ve helped them as we don’t always appreciate this aspect unless they let us know.

  34. I really enjoyed viewing the GOODBYE MR RILEY video and I thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.
    I am waiting until I commence a new job as Senior Teacher Librarian (Australia) to see what PLN collaborate sites best suits my learning and sharing needs. In the meantime, I shall be exploring links to save onto Diigo and connecting with the oztl.net forum. It seems always that one is chasing time to explore and because of this we need the PLN connections even more. It seems it is careful curation of tools that best suit us that will direct out pathway and increase our presence online. I am sure as I become more familiar with the tools, I will be amazed at the ease with which I shall connect like a ripple effect. Here goes…Thanks for inspiring….

  35. My favorite collaborative project that I feel helped me make connections with other educators would have to be Twitter Chats. I did three last week and enjoyed them all, created a larger PLN, and came away with good ideas. This teacher challenge has been a great tool for enlarging my PLN, and letting me know what’s out there for educators. Glad I chose to take this challenge!

  36. Hello Shawn

    I’ve recently set up edublogs for my Year 10 Physics students (Victoria, Australia). Your 30 day challenge is beginning today for me. Your 5 tips will be front and centre to the approach I’ll try to adopt. I’ll let you know how I get on.
    The collaborative communication that ICT gives us was the biggest reason I got involved in teaching with technology nearly 20 years ago. We are now seeing the potential of the medium really starting to be realised.
    Thanks for your good work.
    Kevin Sharkey

  37. Pingback: PLN Challenge #10: Making Connections : Teacher Challenge | Connectivism and Networked Learning | Scoop.it

  38. This post gave me a lot of great ideas about building a PLN! It’s easy to want one but not know how to go about doing it. I never thought about being prepared to collaborate and moving conversations into the classroom when it came to building a PLN. Any specific advice for pre-service teachers looking to build their PLN?

    • Priscilla,

      I’m glad you were able to gather some ideas from this post!

      Building a PLN can definitely seem like a daunting task. There are so many different sites out there.

      I’ve seen a couple of great ways for pre-service teachers to build their PLN. I can’t emphasize Twitter enough. It’s really become a go-to site for educators to collaborate and share ideas with others. I build some amazing connections that way.

      Another way is to create your own blog to share ideas that you have. This is an example of a great one, http://ashleyazzopardi.wordpress.com/. I can tell that she’s made a lot of connections by putting her ideas out there in the form of a blog. With this, you’re able to receive comments and create conversation which is such an important part of a PLN.

      I hope this helps!

      Sincerely,
      Shawn Avery

  39. Pingback: My very rational #FF (and cool twitter tools) | A journée in language

  40. Hello Shawn
    A question: I have been slowly working up to collaborating with the people I follow on Twitter instead of lurking. During the semester year,, I have 70 or more blogs to respond to as part of my classroom blog network…that leaves me with little energy to post in different sites.
    How do you balance everything you do in order to collaborate so much?

    • Hi Ellen,

      That’s a great question. One of the tough parts about a PLN is balancing everything. I can’t possibly imagine trying to respond to 70+ blogs! I have about 10 or so that I visit and comment on regularly. Occasionally I will comment on others. I find that it can certainly take up an extraordinary amount of time if you try to comment on a lot. By commenting on a lesser amount of blogs, I feel I build a better relationship with them and I save myself some time to be able to join other networks as well! I hope this helps!

      Shawn

    • Mrs. Schmidt,

      Thank you so much for sharing! I think this is a great forum for anyone to share some of their different projects. There are so many great ones out there for educators to become a part of. I hope this post was able to introduce you to even more!

      Thank you again.

      Shawn

  41. Pingback: PLN Challenge #10: Making Connections : Teacher Challenge | Personal Learning Networks for Librarians | Scoop.it

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