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:
- How to find time to develop your PLN and embed simple practices into your routine
- Tips for building your PLN
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.
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!
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.
All I’m saying is my #PLN has done more for me as an educator than they will ever know! There are too many of you to tag! #edtech #fearlessedchat #piratePLN #leadership #flipgridfever pic.twitter.com/sT7313yZdn
— tisha poncio (@TxTechChick) July 26, 2018
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- Share your top tip. Leave a comment to share your tips that have helped get you started building a PLN without feeling overwhelmed.
- 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!
- 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.