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

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

In this step you will explore:

  1. How to find time to develop your PLN and embed simple practices into your routine
  2. Tips for building your PLN

Overview

Throughout this series, we’ve looked at different ways that educators enjoy building a PLN and connecting with their networks.

While we mainly focused on Twitter, blogs, and curation tools, remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many other ways that educators connect with others and we encourage you to explore anything that looks interesting to you.

Popular ways educators are learning with their PLN Edublogs Teacher Challenge

Whatever tools you use, you want it to be sustainable. The real benefits of having a PLN emerge once you get to know people and as we’ve said throughout this series, the more you put in, the more you’ll get back.

Tips For Building Your PLN

Here are some tips for building your PLN and making the time to be a ‘connected educator’ without feeling overwhelmed.

Do what works best for you

How do you like to learn and connect best? Do you prefer reading and text based materials? Are you a keen writer? Maybe you like audio and enjoy learning via podcasts. Videos are also a popular way for people to learn and share information.

Follow your natural learning style and think about ways you can become a connected educator by doing what you’re comfortable with. Not every tool or service is for everyone!

Start small

Put your blinkers on. You really don’t need to use all the tools that are out there. Trying to keep up with many people and many tools is a recipe for feeling overwhelmed.

Some educators have built up a great network just by reading a handful of blogs and following a small number of people on Twitter. Remember, it’s quality over quantity.

Set a goal and commit

Set yourself one goal of something you’re going to commit to trying.

Maybe your goal will be to join Twitter and find 10 people to follow. Then challenge yourself to check in every day for a month and see what your followers are tweeting about. If this works for you, you can build on it. If not, you can always try something new!

Set a routine

You probably already have a number of online routines in place. Maybe you’re in the routine of checking your emails in the morning, or perhaps browsing Facebook when you sit down after dinner.

Create a routine for your PLN too.

This doesn’t have to involve a big chunk of time. A few minutes here and there to read a blog post, browse through Feedly or Flipboard, or scroll through Twitter can be all you need to get on your way.

Consider becoming more productive

We all know how easy it is for time to whittle away while browsing online. Whether it’s YouTube videos or Instagram photos, maybe some of your online browsing experiences can be redirected to building your PLN.

Of course, we all need downtime but this is something for you to ponder!

Don’t be shy

Most people in the educational community are remarkably friendly. Don’t be shy about following people you don’t know, leaving a stranger a comment, or responding to someone’s tweet.

You’ll probably be glad you did and you never know where one small interaction can take you!

Don’t give up

It’s so common to try something new and feel a great sense of discomfort. You might feel confused and overwhelmed but don’t give up! Once you get over the initial learning curve, it will all pay off. We promise!

Maybe you’ll end up like Tisha Poncio who gave this inspiring shout out to her PLN on Twitter.

 

 “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Edublogs PLN Challenge

Your Task

PLNs 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. What are your goals? Leave a comment on this post to tell us what aspects of your PLN you want to focus on first. Maybe you want to join Twitter and find some fellow teacher-librarians or history teachers. Or maybe you want to add all your favorite blogs to a Feedly account. Tell us about it!
  2. Making time. Leave a comment on this post to share your ideas on how you will make time to build your PLN. Remember to consider if there is anything you can remove from your online browsing routine to free up time for building your PLN.
  3. Share your top tip. Leave a comment to share your tips that have helped get you started building a PLN without feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Pay it forward. Remember that a barrier to developing a PLN is simply not knowing what’s out there. Why not ‘pay it forward’ and tell a friend or colleague about this series? Encourage them to take part and learn about building their own PLN!
  5. Write a post about PLNs. If you have a blog, now could be the perfect time to write about PLNs. Put all the pieces together from what you’ve learned in this series and share your own insights or goals. You never know, you might just help someone else get started! Please include @edublogs if you tweet your post so we can share it with our network. Leave a comment with a link to your post so we can read it!

Also feel free to leave a comment to ask any questions you still have about building a PLN. We may be able to help!

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.


PLN Course Certificate

Have you completed each of the 7 steps in this course AND left a comment on each post? Maybe you’d like a certificate to show that you’ve completed the PLN Teacher Challenge course!

Fill out the form below to receive your certificate via email. Alternatively, click here to open the form in a new tab.

If you don’t receive your certificate, please look in your junk/spam folder.

Claim Your Badge!

If you’ve completed the PLN challenge, feel free to proudly display this badge on the sidebar of your blog. Alternatively, you might like to add it to your About page to demonstrate your professional learning.

Simply right click on the image and save it to your computer. Then add it to your sidebar by following these instructions.

We’re so happy to have you as part of our Teacher Challenge community!

PLN Teacher Challenge badge Edublogs

230 Comments

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  1. I plan to Tweet about this series, including @edublogs in my post, to pay it forward. Thank you!

    • Serena Scalzi
  2. I have joined Twitter and am currently a “lurker.” I’m hoping to, at least at the beginning, try out some of the tips I find from people’s tweets. I am especially looking for tips on how to be a better remote teacher. I think I will be given lots of opportunities to learn and now just need to find and make the time to learn!

    • Cara Anderman
  3. Very excited to make a edublog. Connecting with staff is very important in my school.

    • ELisabet Kennedy
  4. My goal for my PLN is to find a community for teachers teaching in poverty and possibly mathematics specifically.

  5. My main goal is to be more active on Twitter. After learning about how effective it can be, I think I could really get a lot out of it. I have also heard different teacher around the state talk about how Twitter has been a great resource for them. As a future educator, I want to be able to be as connected as possible, and I think Twitter is a good place to start. As I grow as a teacher, my goal is to find other inspiring educators to follow and chat with.

  6. I have joined Twitter and already have found so many ideas that I want to use. Slip and Slide is the first that I am going to explore. The importance of PLNs is top, we truly need each other. Its an ever changing world and we as educator need to stay up to date with it.

  7. My goal is to be more active on twitter and connect with more educators

  8. My goal for my PLN is to use the tools and resources provided in this course to begin making connections, to comment more and enter into constructive and supportive dialog with other educators. I plan on getting into Twitter and working with hashtags.

    • I have a twitter but do not use it as much as I should. We need to connect on there. @afspitzer

  9. I am sending this series of courses to my recently graduated student teachers as well as my teacher friends who are also struggling to build PLNs. For my discussion board this week in my graduate course I am going to link to this series and discuss the challenges and triumphs I had .

    • Vanessa Christine Boryenace
  10. I have enjoyed learning more about PLNs. My goal is to build my twitter. I follow a few other educators but I would really like to explore and follow more that can help me as a teacher. My teaching world has become so much more digital recently and I think it is more important now, more than ever, to continue to build my PLN.

    • Caitlin Slinkerd
  11. I have learned so much from this course! Before taking the course, I was not really clear or saw the benefit in being a connected educator; as I have been successful thus far without all the tools mentioned. However, because we live in a digital world; made more clear by the current state of our world because of COVID-19, I now understand the importance of integrating technology in the classroom and being a connected educator. I have set up my own blog which I plan to use and share with my colleagues. I have updated my Twitter account and found other educators and feeds to follow. I am truly on the road to being a connected educator and I can see how my students will benefit from my newly acquired knowledge!

    • pleasebmore20
  12. I want to set a goal to continue using my blog that I am doing for class and possibly post on it one very two weeks.

  13. My goal is to spend more time curating my PLN to work for myself and my interests.

  14. My goal for my PLN, is to comment more, share more, and build relationships with other educators. I plan to look further into blogging and I think about creating one.

    • Deihjzia Fountain
  15. my goal is to build my PLN society with teachers and educators to exchange knowledge and experience and to interact with them as much as I can to develop my teaching and technology skills. I would like to dig more on different platforms that would widen my experience.

    • lubna m othman
  16. My goal for my PLN is to eventually create a blog. I typically lurk, but I want to start talking and sharing more. I think having a blog eventually would be really fun.

  17. A tip I resonate with and would recommend it to do what works best for me. I am very picky about my blog choices and how certain platforms work. Therefore, I will only choose to particpate on a platform that I think is beneficial to me and my prefernces (Twitter.)

  18. My goals moving forward:
    1. I have created a Twitter account, so now I want to find other educators to connect with. I have started small, with a few I already know and have also added a few from the resources listed within the course. There are so many people with amazing ideas, who are willing to share them!
    2. I want to make a second attempt at participating in a Twitter chat. The first attempt seemed a bit chaotic. I think I have some new tips from this series that will make the second attempt more efficient.

  19. My goal for my PLN is to build up the courage to be more than a lurker. I want to focus on finding teachers that encourage others to share their thoughts. I also want to find teachers that have compassionate approaches to learning. Another area I want to get more insight into is librarians and special ed. I’m going to continue using Twitter and Pinterest to find sources of inspiration.

  20. This is what my plan is. I plan to first sit down with my family and explain PLN. This can help them in there careers as well. But most importantly it will help me practice how to inform my friends and new colleagues on how to use these tools. PLNs are out there for all of us to use. Time to start.

  21. For my PLN, a goal of mine is to be more active and to not be shy. I want to comment on more tweet, blogs, etc. and participate in things like twitter chats. I plan on setting side times, especially when I’m a teacher, in my busy schedule to explore my PLN to connect with other educators. The one piece of advice I have to give is to just be open to trying new things. At first I was unsure about creating a professional twitter or pietist aside from my personal ones, but I think it’s important for professional growth.

  22. For my PLN, I want to focus on staying involved with twitter first. I eventually want to make a professional instagram as well as a blog. I want to feel comfortable with starting my blog by the time I have my own classroom. So, my goal is to continue learning and lurking until I am ready to start sharing on my own.

    • Brooke Flowers
  23. My goal is to use other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. I already use Pinterest and read different blogs. Another goal I have is to use #edchat to read about different topics in education. I will use these resources to help me build my PLN.

  24. Now that I got a Twitter dedicated to following other educators, I feel like it will be another social media site/app that will get checked daily. Right now, I use my personal Instagram account to follow other educators, although I am considering on making just a “teacher account” so I can separate the two. I don’t typically post many pictures on Instagram, so I haven’t made a separate account, but it will be something I consider as I continue to work on my PLN. I really do like the idea of Twitter, so I will continue to use that and start small. It may transform into something more, and that is okay!

    • Linda Sengdara
  25. My PLN goal is to utilize more sites and tools to further my knowledge. I already use Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and love how I can easily access and find resources. I hope to read more blogs about topics that are of interest to me. Another goal of mine is to not only receive information, but give as well.

  26. My goal for my PLN would be to research through trial and error with students based on what works for me in my classroom and to make sure that the things that I choose fit the needs of my students. The best first step for me would be to follow different influential educators on social media and pinterest to see what works for them and to see what things i might like to use.

  27. My PLN goal is to use different social networking sites, as well as, platforms such as blogs to develop new ideas in relation to education and the teaching profession. I want to learn form other educators, as well as, develop a platform to share my ideas in relation to education.

    • Aubrey Desmet
  28. My goal is to use different platforms and tools to further my educational knowledge. I would also use these tools to connect with other educators to learn and gain idea from. I am looking forward to using my “teacher twitter” to do so!

  29. Making time to build my PLN will be my biggest challenge. I feel that my best place to begin is replacing internet research time with building a PLN. I can start small and find a few pages or people to follow and add or delete them based on my needs as I go.

    • Kristi Tataleba
  30. Making time. Leave a comment on this post to share your ideas on how you will make time to build your PLN. Remember to consider if there is anything you can remove from your online browsing routine to free up time for building your PLN. When I become a teacher I plan to make my own PLN. I would like to start off by having my own classroom website then go from there.

    • Alyssa McGhee
  31. Making time for my PLN will be challenging at first because there is only so much time in a day! I think that the first step that I would take would be to follow 20 educators on Twitter, and check in once a day for 30 minutes to see what they are posting about! I might set another goal that I have to comment on one post per 30 minutes that I spend checking in! If someone replies to me, or something that I have posted, I will make it a priority to respond to them in a timely manner! I think this is a good start to helping me to start becoming involved in a PLN.

  32. My goal is to learn more and continue to research resources that will help my professional growth. I want to connect to other educators and learn more from them and their classroom experiences. I am looking forward to using platforms, such as Word Press, to share the knowledge and information I gain from PLNs, allowing me to help other teachers as well.

    • Casey Leigh Essinger
  33. My PLN goal is to utilize the numerous tools available to connect with other teachers who have ideas that can positively impact my classroom. I hope to use many of the resources discussed on this blog and others I find to help me do more research, share my ideas, and organize them in a way that makes them easy to find when I’m looking for a specific thing.