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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, 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 ultimately a ‘discovery engine’ and is becoming a go-to for many educators looking for fresh ideas, resources, and connections. Be sure to follow Edublogs on Pinterest!
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

125 Comments

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  1. I think I would have to overcome two barriers when making connections through PLN. The first would be my personal digital literacy. I am not a very tech savvy person so for me I believe I would have to search for different ways to find online tools instead of just asking google. The other would be reaching out to other teachers or people through online platforms just because I don’t know how they are like.

    • Elke Hernandez
  2. I think the biggest barrier for me is that it’s by no means “natural” for me to start conversations with people that I don’t know in real life. For whatever reason, holding down a conversation–even a more formal one–with online personalities which seem more akin to cultivated abstractions of human beings rather than “real people” in and of themselves is just weird for me. Admittedly, this is ostensibly a pretty minor barrier, but it nonetheless prevents me from reaching out so it nonetheless has a pretty major impact on my capacity to build a PLN.

  3. I plan on connecting with other educators through Twitter. I find Twitter to be the most efficient and easily curated social media platform for the purpose of professional growth and connecting with others. It’s easy to customize the type of content you see on your feed, and it doesn’t require a large time commitment. Because tweets are so brief, you can peruse a lot of content at once, and only decide to read the things that really interest you more carefully.

  4. As a beginning teacher there are so many PLN opportunities to explore that the tip to set aside 15-20 minutes each day, for developing relationships on these networks, certainly will be a needed investment. I’m most curious about Voxer given that I have heard from several teachers online how helpful it is. Specifically, Jennifer Gonzalez, from the Cult of Pedagogy site, mentions her use of Voxer in Educator Masterminds (https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/episode-72/), which are akin to support groups that meet every week to share about the experiences each member is having in being a teacher. As a beginning teacher, I see my own need for involvement to learn from other teachers and acknowledge that, while I may be inexperienced, my experiences are still valid and can add to the greater conversations going on in these groups.

    • Matthew Kitchen
  5. Never used Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram until January 2019, when I started my page on Instagram. Now I’m also in few teacher communities on Facebook, learning from others. I keep on collaborating f2f with local educators.

    I have started @shkolapedagoganovatora on Instagram and plan to build my PLN with it. Mostly I focus on Russian-speaking teachers, sharing with them the information I learn from foreign collegues, as I have an advantage of speaking English 🙂

    • Nadia Matveyeva
  6. I have had a twitter for years but never use it. I have changed my name to @labrarylady and am making a commitment to visit daily

    • Tammi Lynne Cooke
  7. I already connect with fellow educators via Facebook, Instagram, and blogs. I plan on starting to connect with educators through twitter. I did not realize how popular twitter was for connecting.

  8. Preferences:
    I plan to connect with others primarily through groups in social media (Twitter, FB, and academic sites) as well as interact face-to-face with other educators and instructors. I believe doing so will help facilitate my growth as both an individual and as a teacher myself. It might take me a moment to be able to do it all, especially keeping the first year in mind, but I will get there nonetheless.
    Relationship tips:
    I haven’t given much thought to my own tips and tricks, and looking of the list above I think they certainly cover many bases. I would, however, like to include the idea of taking the ideas of students, as I will be a teacher, and having them find resources they believe are creditable and having them start to share it among themselves. Getting them started young would be a great way to have them begin to be familiar with these networks.

    Barriers:
    I flat out didn’t know about a PLN. I didn’t know what it was or what went into it. I think that this unknowing of the concept is definitely one of the biggest contributors to being able to access, and access correctly, a PLN. Sharing and communicating and introducing the idea of a PLN is the first step to overcoming the blind eye many, including myself, may have had towards it.

    • Hi Hope,

      It sounds like you have a great plan moving forward. Great idea involving your students as well.

      I’m so glad we helped you understand more about the power of a PLN!

      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager
      @kathleen_morris

      • Kathleen Morris
  9. I plan to connect with other educators through the school in which I work at and also by using different technological resource. The sites or tools that I would prefer to use to make connections would include social media such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest. I would prefer to make connections with other educators through these sites as I have grown up using these different forms of social media. I am used to connecting with others through social media and I feel as if I would enjoy connecting with other educators in that way as well.
    The tips that resonate most with me include try different tools, find tools that work best for you, ask for help, and involve your students. These four tips resonate with me most as I am excited to find and try different tools other than just social media sources that I am familiar with. I want to be able to find and try different tools that will allow me to connect with other educators through different tools other than just social media that I am already familiar with. Through trying these different tools, it will allow me to find which tools work the best for me and help me the most. I will most likely enjoy using social media tools as those are what I am familiar with but with trying different tools I will find other tools that I will also enjoy using and will be very rewarding to me. When finding these new tools, I will be able to connect with other educators on certain challenges I may have in my classroom and ask them for help. When finding other educators to help me with such challenges I will be able to start forming relationships that will allow me to go back to them time and time again for more help. Once I form relationships with other educators, I will be able to involve and connect my students in the process as well. The biggest barrier for me has been learning to how to become involved in networks other than social media to become connected with other educators. As I have grown up with social media that is what I know how to use best in order to connect with other educators. I have struggled with finding things such as blogs or other networks to connect with educators. I believe I can overcome this by finding someone through the social media network first, who may have some more experience as a connected educator that may be involved in some different blogs or other networks themselves.

  10. I love using platforms like Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers and Instagram, but only follow some blogs. I hope to expand and gain the use of other platforms as well though. I definitely think it’s important to play to your strengths though! I am not someone who can just put on a podcast and listen to it on my way to work or school because I have a hard time paying attention to them since I am focused on driving and usually thinking about other things as well. My biggest barrier is probably that I just don’t prioritize it as much as I should to get the most benefit out of it.

  11. I think using what works for you is important, because not everything works best for everyone. I love using Twitter and Pinterest, but I do not like blogging. I think it’s better to play to your strengths while also trying new things.

    • Samantha Kneer
  12. I prefer to use pinterest and Teacher pay Teacher platform because they offer good ideas on how to teach different concepts in fun ways for students to learn. Furthermore in developing my PLN I plan to uses these resources as well as youtube to follow other educators and continue to learn to improve my practice. Some of the barriers that I face in forming a PLN are that the social media app that I have are very little because those are thing that I am no very into. But I am realizing now that I need to be more connected with other educator in order to be able to learn and grow as an educator myself.

    • Myra Martinez
    • Hi Myra,
      I definitely agree there are ideas galore on Pinterest and TpT. Good idea considering how you can use other platforms to not just discover ideas but connect with other educators as well. This can be a true asset when you have people to call on to ask for advice or connect your class with etc.
      Good luck!
      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager
      @kathleen_morris

      • Kathleen Morris
  13. I plan to utilize social media more to connect with educators because right now I don’t use my facebook or instagram for those purposes. However, i do feel that social media can connect with people all around the world, which helps with learning different useful methods that works with different areas.

    • DeKimia Hosken
  14. As a preference, I would like to explore following educators on YouTube. It is a platform I am already familiar with, and am interested in looking into the recommendations for people to connect with. I already use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as ways to follow educators and influencers, but I am willing to expand!

    • Savannah Hodges
  15. Becoming an efficient connected educator is a goal of mine. I think Pinterest is a great way to make connections with other teachers. I prefer this website/app because it offers so many ideas and insight on various techniques to help a classroom run smoother. The ideas and activities on Pinterest are creative and practical. You can find information on classroom behavior management, layouts, transition techniques, and more! I definitely think it is a valuable resource to use as an educator.

    • Akira Vaughan
  16. My current social and digital media preferences in regards to learning from and connecting with other educators are Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and education blogs. When developing my PLN, I plan to continue to use these tools; however, I would like to expand my horizons and explore different sites and tools to interact with others. As mentioned before, not all tools work for everyone and that’s okay. I believe in the importance of trying something new (and stepping out of your comfort zone) and if it doesn’t work out, there are plenty of other tools available!

  17. I definitely prefer Pinterest over other platforms. I’m much more of a lurker so Pinterest allows me to pick up some fantastic ideas without having to directly interact with anyone. I’m slowly getting more used to Twitter but I’m not sure if I am at a place where I feel comfortable tweeting yet!

  18. One of my personal barriers to building a PLN is finding the time to devote to working on it. However, remembering that PLN’s are not built overnight helps to put things into perspective. PLN’s develop overtime and naturally become more complex.

    • I know what you mean, Anna. Definitely, start small! You can get so much out of even making just a couple of connections.

      • Kathleen Morris
  19. I think that I will enjoy Pinterest the most. In the past, I have found a lot of great ideas on there for my day care classroom and I think that I will be able to find great ideas for my future elementary classroom

    • Hayley Rosson
    • Pinterest sure is useful! I hope you find lots of inspiration!

      • Kathleen Morris
  20. My favorite place to connect with educators and get ideas is on Pinterest. No matter what the lesson topic is that I am looking for, I can always find ideas here to enhance my lessons.

    • Margaret LaFrancois
  21. I must admit that my current online preferences are still more “sit and get” than interactive. I follow several blogs and I do one-off Pinterest searches, but I rarely comment on blog posts (unless I am taking a class), and I never pin. I need to make more of an effort to comment on blog posts. In fact, I can imagine that becoming one of my preferred ways to make connections, probably because it feels more one-on-one. I am still not really sold on Pinterest for anything beyond searches, but I am willing to be convinced. (Your link for “37 Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest” does not work, but perhaps you could recommend a similar article.) What I am most interested in trying out is Twitter. I will have to develop a new mindset to restrict myself to 280 characters, but once I have mastered that, it is a good fit time-wise.

    • Hi Kat,
      Thanks for pointing out that the Pinterest link is not working. I have removed it and reached out to the Teach Thought staff and see if it has moved.
      I enjoy the connections you can make in blog comments too, even though commenting is not as popular as it used to be across the board. In the past, I have found commenting conversations have even inspired my future blog posts.
      Perhaps you would like Twitter. I especially enjoying hearing diverse perspectives and ideas that I would not have sought out myself. It can be a great way to learn and connect!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
      • Hi Kathleen,
        Thank you for the encouragement!
        FYI there is another link that does not appear to work – Matt Miller’s Youtube video (in the Step 3 links). The link gets an error message that the video is “unavailable”.
        -Kat

        • Oh thank you, Kat! That was working when we went through all the links a few months back but things changed quickly. I have reached out to Matt. 🙂

          • Kathleen Morris
          • All fixed now and the video is back. Thanks again!

            • Kathleen Morris
  22. I plan to use Twitter and blogging as ways to grow my PLN. I do follow some education Facebook pages, but I do not really interact with them other than reading posts. I seem to be more active on Twitter.

    • Tracy Vogelgesang
  23. One barrier I’ve found as I’ve started working on growing my PLN, particularly on Twitter, is that it’s hard to break into some of the “cliques” out there. I’ve discovered some really cool groups that have a hashtag, but when you ask what it means or how to get involved in the community they are promoting…crickets. Maybe the next lesson on Twitter will cover this, but it would be really helpful to know what hashtags particularly relate to different education areas. For example, I’m a student who wants to teach Jr High Math. What hashtags would best connect me with others who might be posting about that kind of content? I’ve discovered some thanks to people I’ve followed through the blogging course on edublogs, and others through my EdTech class this semester, but some extra help in this area would be great!!

    • Hi Angie,

      That’s disappointing that you’ve had trouble connecting. Sometimes I think it’s just that people who follow a lot of people have such a busy feed that they don’t see everything? Maybe you could try reaching out to a few people via DM who you are particularly interested in connecting with. You could ask them about the best hashtags to follow etc?

      Maybe others will have some tips to share too!

      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager
      @kathleen_morris

      • Kathleen Morris
  24. I already use Twitter and Facebook frequently to reach out to others. I play on using blogs as an additional tool for my “PLN”

  25. Google Hangouts. Instagram. Blog. Google Website.

  26. As a visual learner, Instagram is my social media of choice. I’m comfortable with the app and follow a good many educators there already. I enjoy seeing what others are doing and getting ideas for my own classroom. I do not use Twitter currently, but know there is a wealth of knowledge there to be had. I need to work on including this platform into my PLN.

    • Debra Dele Crews
  27. I have feared social media since I became a teacher because the students want to be my friend on it. I have realized this year that I have been hurting myself by not using these powerful resources to my advantage.

  28. One of the tools I plan to be more active with is Twitter. I set up a Twitter account last year, but have not really used it. As a teacher librarian, it is a great way to follow authors and other teaching professionals. Often times, authors will give away free books!

  29. Actually, my blog has connected me to educators in the UK and Australia! I really like learning about education in other countries. Twitter is my PLN method of choice. I recently joined a couple of Facebook librarian groups and it is too overwhelming. For me my FB is more about pictures of kids and dogs. . .not work. I am not a big Pinterest person either. . . I find that hashtagging really helps. I would like to expand the hashtags I use currently.

  30. I have always been updated with most educational materials, sites, and networks. I follow tons of educators on different media platforms. What I really learned today is that the PLN works both ways. I have not communicated directly with other educators. I have only transferred the knoweledge to people in my circle and that is why I created my blog. I can’t wait to communicate with the rest of the world.

  31. I use several different types of PLN’s, all for different purposes. When connecting with my staff I utilize Facebook and Instagram. If I need to find policies or new protocols I use Corporates National Email Group. I had never thought of using social media to educate my staff, this is definitely something that I will do as I believe it will cause more of them to become more involved and learn while having fun.

    • Melissa Barnhill
  32. I connect with great educators on MOOC forums like EDX and use Twitter, FB, internal forums of each MOOC platform. I used also platforms like https://www.presencing.org/ and consider Education 4.0 of Otto Scharmer a revolutionary concept.

    • sorinel balan
  33. Personally, I’d prefer using WhatsApp as my platform for connecting with educators because it’s arguably the most accessible form of communication among educators in Nigeria. Though there’s a large presence of Educators on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, WhatsApp is by far the easiest way to communicate with Educators in this part of the world because it’s simple and easy to operate or maintain.

    With this mindset I have created and building a PLN to engage and collaborate with Educators in Nigeria and to encourage PD among them. We’ve just started and we’re making progress gradually, and I believe that by the end of 2019 it’d have grown beyond our shores.

    • stephenobasun
    • How interesting to hear how popular WhatsApp is in Nigeria. I’ve only used it with friends and didn’t realise it’s being used in the education community. It sounds like you have a good goal for 2019!

      • Kathleen Morris
      • Thank you Kathleen for the encouraging words. We are geared to making PD a priority among educators in Nigeria, and we’ll welcome ideas and suggestions from the outside world on how we can accelerate the process. Thanks

        • stephenobasun
  34. My number one preference is Twitter. There are some twitter chats that I participate in on Sundays and Wednesdays. I find that when I participate in them I become more connected and I have been able to build some relationships with the people with whom I communicate.
    I have an instagram teacher account but I rarely use it. Posting pictures all the time is not always possible for me. Plus I have to step out of my comfort zone with that. I guess that is something I can work on this year.

    Bridget

  35. Task 1: Preferences

    I think one of my favorite ways to connect with other educators is using Instagram. There are some really incredible ideas in the land of education, and pictures speak them loudly. I also think Twitter is an incredible tool. Not only does it give you ideas for the classroom, but also professional learning opportunities and resources. It is also a great go to for questions. Twitter is also useful for making connections for your classroom. Educational blogs are another favorite of mine.

    Task 2: Relationship tips

    This is a fantastic tips list for building a PLN. I think my favorites are #2 and #5. It really easy to just stand on the sidelines and take ideas, but it is important to give back to the community you are getting help from. I think this can be scary. Also, don’t forget to respond back!

    Task 3: Barriers

    I think a barrier for me goes along with tip #2, sharing. It’s not always comfortable to share. It can be scary, what will people think? I always try to remind myself that I expect my students to put themselves out there, so I need to do the same.

    Amber

    • You’re right about sharing being scary, Amber. It can definitely feel that way! But as you say, this is what we expect from our students so it’s good to do the same.
      Thanks for pointing out how useful Instagram can be too. It seems like the community of teachers on Instagram is growing all the time and I know how appealing the visual aspect of it is too.
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  36. I plan to continue using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for connecting with my PLN. I do use LinkedIn as well, but too a lessor extent. So far, my favourite vehicle for connecting is Twitter because it is so immediate and I can scan a lot of information in a very short time. I also like Instagram because it is so visual.

    I’m hoping to increase the amount of sharing I do this year. I’m still not exactly sure how I’ll do this but my blog is probably a good place to start.

    • I feel the same way about Linkedin, Kirsty. I only get on there very occasionally but it does look like some people do use it really well to connect, share, and learn. I guess you just can’t use everything!

      • Kathleen Morris
  37. I’m leaning toward using Twitter and YouTube for communicating. I’ll be looking into tools, perhaps Hootsuite, to help me organize.
    The biggest barrier is a mental one. Initially I thought “how will I possibly keep up with all the tweets that go flying by on the screen each day?” Doing the reading related to this chapter makes me realize, I don’t have to keep up with all the daily tweets. In fact, it’s not possible. What I need to do is dedicate some time each day to learning something new and making/maintaining connections.
    I plan to use and follow hashtags to help focus my learning.

    • I complete relate with your concern regarding keeping up with all the information – there is so much out there! I’m going to try to schedule regular times to connect but the challenge will be during school term!

  38. I am very interested in OER for medical education. However, it is still very difficult to find good quality ressources. Google search did not really work fine.
    About a month ago, I started to use Twitter. Now, I get more and more information – sometimes even too much information, so I don’t have enough time to follow all links. Most information I found on education itself – to date not so much medical education. But this inspires me to generate medical didactics ressources on my own.
    Most intersting is, to get to communicate with other people which are intestetd in the same subjects.
    I also consume Pinterest a lot – also very inspiring. But to date I have not found the right tool to create own Pinterests 🙁

    • Bernd Romeike
    • Hi there, I know it can be difficult to find too much information and not have enough time to read it all. You might be interested in a tool like Pocket. It lets you save web articles you come across to read later. https://getpocket.com/
      I agree, connecting with others who have the same interests can bring the most benefits!

      • Kathleen Morris
      • Hi Kathleen Morris,
        thank you very much for your comment and advise. I will try Pocket. It seems promising.

        • Bernd Romeike
  39. I feel for me a barrier to building a PLN is being overwhelmed! There is so much out there that I don’t know but I do love the idea of being in control of my own learning. As I work thru this course I do believe I will find the place to start and just get going with it. Also my Principal is willing to help and I will definitely take her up on it.

    • Michalle Keiser
  40. My preference for building my PLN is definitely Twitter. Last year we did some training on this platform for our school and I feel most comfortable with it. I don’t have a Facebook account but am thinking of getting one so I might also use this for PLN’s.

    • Michalle Keiser
    • You must be at a great school if they’re training you in Twitter, Michalle!

      • Kathleen Morris
  41. I plan on using my blog and facebook to get connected to educators.
    I rarely use my twitter account so I guess I’ll have to brush up my skills and get over there.

    • Good luck making new connections!

      • Kathleen Morris