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


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

599 thoughts on “Step 7: Making Time To Build Your PLN

  1. The first thing I would like to do is create a twitter account that is not my personal one. I would use this account to follow accounts such as TED-talk, fellow colleagues, professors, etc.

  2. My goal is to get a bit more comfortable using tech and get into a PLN with phonic instructors as well as upper elementary edu professionals. I plan to get more involved with Twitter.

  3. One thing I would like to do to expand my PLN is to comment and communicate more. I tend to be more of an observer, so my goal is to participate and be more active in the communities I’m already in so I can grow them.

  4. I think I would like to get more used to Twitter since it is very popular and widely used across the nation. It will be interesting to follow different networks and educators who have lots of different resources.

  5. I will make time for PLN by spending less time on my phone scrolling through TikTok and more time working on developing tips for my classroom. I will also make a routine when I get home from school that I look through some piece of PLN for at least 15 to 20 minutes. I will cut down on the time spent on tasks that do not always improve my learning. I can also spend a few minutes looking at it in the morning before I get up. I can make time to look at educational material by cutting back on my time on social media does not always further my education.

  6. My goal is to familiarize myself and start using the platforms that were showcased throughout this course. That way that I have more resources available and can use them effectively in teaching. My goal is to basically just find more resources to help encourage the learning environment

  7. The first thing I want to focus on is curating content by setting up a LiveBinders. One of the things I find most challenging as an educator is the sheer amount of information and resources that are available. I feel a strange sense of guilt that I’m not able to utilize everything all at once. Selecting and organizing the things that are most beneficial to me will be a good, manageable first step in starting a PLN.

  8. Modeling autonomy to your students by providing them with your carefully constructed PLN is a worthy educational lesson.

  9. I think one of the best tips I got from this experience is to do what is best for you. Ultamiltey it is up to you how you want to do your PLN and it’s okay to start small! Don’t overwork yourself!

  10. My ultimate goal from completing this training is to apply the knowledge and to get on platforms like twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and to start making connections with teachers from across the country and the world who share common goals in professional development, growth within the classroom and who share common “frustrations” that we just need a good sounding board from. We know that after Covid-19 hi the United States the educational system was hit hard from the lack of individuals who wanted to step into a classroom again for a variety of reasons. We also know that school safety has become a hot topic across the world but especially here in the United States as we have seen the news the hurt that occurs when students bring violence into he buildings and go after their own peers, teachers, and other adult support systems. It would be nice to use a PLN to bound together and to support teachers who see the aftermath and to be the support they need as their colleague.

  11. As I already spend a lot of my time online, to make time for my PLN, I will try to set aside some of that social media time for strictly educational purposes! I could do this by simply following and engaging with educational media on websites that I already regularly use, like Twitter, so that everyday I am engaging with my PLN whenever I go on my phone.

  12. I’m still in school in a graduate program to become a teacher. According to the instructions of my course teachers and I understood how much it is needed for my future career in the field of education as an ed-tech teacher. However, I think PLN will help me in my professional development and the effective use of resources for my students. To build my own PLN, I have decided to invest time in it like as a credit course. Furthermore, I believe, it is the apex time to be prepared for a future career and PLN must incorporate with the field.

  13. As often as I check social media, I can make time in my schedule to dedicate to my PLN. I hope to expand my educator circle to continue to learn and grow from others. I’m looking forward to implementing these ideas into creating my own PLN!

  14. The aspects of my PLN that I would like to focus on first are the content I want to focus on with either learning more about reading comprehension or showing expertise in classroom strategies and being culturally responsive. With that being said, I want to take time to subscribe to blogs and follow hashtags specifically in reading comprehension, technology integration within the classroom and social studies lessons for student projects. When it comes specifically to task performance, my goal is to set a routine in place for me to invest in PLN as I do with social media.

  15. I can spend about 15 to 20 minutes a couple times a week on social media to intentionally connect and see new ideas. I can also reduce distractions during that time to allow me to focus on the topic. If I see building and using my PLN as a benefit to myself not just for work then I will be more likely to put time into it outside of school hours. Creating a PLN is a mindset change that can benefit anyone in the long run.

  16. When it comes to creating post online, be intentional. Make sure that it is not something that is just made up. If you share post ensure that it is what you want to do and you want others to see it. I also advise not putting political views or controversial or debatable topic on twitter unless it pertains to bettering the education system.

  17. I think that doing this challenge has encouraged me to make social media work for me in a brand new way. I think that creating my PLN is going to be a game changer for me in my professional life. I look forward to using my Twitter account and getting great information from Flipboard.

  18. Most of us spend more time on social media than we realize, so adding doses of building or interacting with your PLN during that time helps build it up without feeling overwhelmed. Having separation from your personal and professional social media is important, so try to keep the two in their own realms; however, sharing some of your favorite follows from your professional to your personal can keep you interested.

  19. My goals are to become more familiar with the other networks that are out there other than the ones I’m always on. It was nice learning more about PLN.

  20. Prompt #1- A goal that I have is to be more active online with other educators to expand my personal learning network and become a stronger and more knowledgeable educator.

  21. My personal PLN goal is to use more of my social media outlets to gain more following with other educators. This will help me learn more and be able to have others to bounce ideas off of and get some community.

  22. My first goal is to organize a specific social media platform to designate as my PLN or to create a separate work account. I have followed quite a few teachers and content creators through my personal accounts, but I think I would like to set a work-life boundary there by having them separated. That way it is also easier for me to differentiate when I’m working on my PLN and when I am just browsing things online for my me-time.

  23. After completing these articles and steps, my goals are seemingly clear. I would first like to expand my PLN. I hope to expand my PLN with educators, focusing on both general educators and US History teachers. Another goal of mine is to take use of Twitter Chats. I think this will be a great way to hear from a wide variety of people on several different topics. And finally my final goal is to expand my use of the sites listed throughout this blog. All of these sites serve a great purpose in, hopefully, allowing me to be a successful educator. I hope that if I continue my use of them, my knowledge will expand and allow me to be the best teacher I can be.

  24. After completing this course it makes me want to start my PLN sooner than later. It will help me to connect with other teachers all over the world and learn from them. This will allow me to enhance my future classroom in many ways.

  25. I really want to get better about using Twitter. I have used it frequently in the past in a casual sense, but developing a professional one would be good for me. I think exposing myself to leading researchers and organizations devoted to education would be useful! As a result, the thing I want to get good at first is using TweetDeck as a hub of information that I can draw upon.

  26. I see myself working on my own PLN very soon and I’m interested in starting that journey through some tools like Pinterest, Twitter spaces, and online communities. I currently use Pinterest to find ideas for lesson plans and activities. I’m really excited to get to see where these tools and networks take me in the near future.

  27. My goal is to begin my PLN by focusing on creating a Twitter account and becoming a part of a good educational community. I also would like to continue to add to my Flipboard by exploring the topics that interest me and sharing what resonates with me. I will definitely be investing in my PLN now that I am aware of its significance, especially as a future educator and hopefully it can be a beneficial resource that will help shape my both personal and professional career.

  28. I’m still in school to become a teacher, however, it’s never too early to start my PLN. I think having a PLN will benefit me a lot and help me adjust to being a new teacher. To make time to build my PLN, I will make sure I set some time aside each week to work on it. Even if that’s for 30min. I will also ask how others built their PLNs, get inspiration, and even learn about new sites and educators!

  29. I online browse all the time so I would use less of that time and put more time into my PLN and looking into those resources.

  30. After learning about what a PLN is and how to manage and create it. I’m interested to learn even more and excited to start my own. My goal with the PLN is to branch out and learn about other programs that I can use in my PLN and how to network with other educators on social media platforms that I don’t currently use for that reason.

  31. I would have to say that my goals within PLN have to be to begin to expand my network. This is easily done through some of the social media tools available today. To expand on this I would like to start connecting with people I have met in person and then asking them for their social media handles. This would be great because in my field of study I have met a lot of people who would be willing to help me when I begin my career. The downside to this is even if they give me their phone number it feels awkward to stay in touch. Developing an online network will allow me to be remembered more easily and also give me an easier more relaxed form of communication.

  32. I would like to begin creating my PLN through Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. There dare also a lot of teacher videos on TikTok that would be great place to start as well. These are the main apps that I use on a daily and believe that I can begin making connections through these apps and really expand my experiences and opportunities

  33. My goal right now is to gather resources and connect with others on social media sites. I’ve enjoyed Twitter so far and would like to keep up with that. Additionally, I want to create a teacher account on my Instagram. I know that Instagram would be the place I am most likely to actually share content and chat with others. I’ve been successful chatting with people I’ve never met in person on Instagram and TikTok. That’s another place I need to start following educational content creators. People on TikTok are so willing to share information, I think because of the relatively laid back nature of the platform. Because I am new to teaching, I’m not yet convinced about blogging. Perhaps it would be a neat idea to blog about my experiences as a grad student, but I am also concerned about the time, dedication, and hard work that goes into creating and maintaining a blog and that traditional url personal blogs have greatly decreased in popularity.

  34. My personal PLN goal I hope to get involved with Facebook and Twitter in the teaching community more since I feel like a lot of teachers are connected through those two social media apps. From there I would like to observe first before I start building my PLN.

  35. In order to make time to develop a PLN for my development as a teacher, I will have to look at the weekly screen time usage on my phone. I know I spend a certain amount of time playing games on my phone when I have some downtime, I could cut that time in half and be productive when I using screen time on my phone. I also can structure time into my week on Mondays and Thursdays when I do not have classes or meetings after school.

  36. Prompt 2: How do you plan on making time to build your PLN? I definitely plan on taking the advice of starting small when developing a PLN since I know I will get overwhelmed if I try to do it all at once. I generally spend a few hours after school on the internet to decompress and I could easily shift some of that time to developing a PLN. I may start out devoting 10 minutes a day, a few times a week. Over time, this will help me build a solid PLN.

  37. My PLN goal is to find more blogs to follow. I really enjoy them because I feel like it is more personal and educational. I already use social media a ton, so that is an easy part of PLN. I would also like to make a blog to post my progression as a professional and help others in the same profession as me!

  38. My PLN goal is to find teachers on twitter who provide articles on all things teaching. I want to learn more about social emotional development in children, how to create a positive environment for my students, and more. I want to learn as much as I can to benefit my students.

  39. I use Twitter all of the time throughout the day. I can make time to build my PLN by using my leisure time on Twitter to actually use it as a resource for my PLN. I can take more time to search for hashtags and profiles that will help me with my career in my future as a physical and health education educator. To do this, I need to remove the time I use on twitter looking at funny posts and sports content, and structure my twitter to where more useful posts come up on my feed to help me build my PLN.

  40. One of the aspects that I want to focus on first when building my PLN is finding people who might be interested in joining it, people who I believe have good ideas and will share what they think so that I can learn from their point of view and expand the way that I think about things. I think this is an important step to prioritize in the beginning because the members of your PLN are a significant part of what goes into making it efficient, so making sure that there are good members in it is an important thing in my opinion. Another aspect of my PLN that I want to focus on first is finding sources online that I can check in on to find ideas and information that I can utilize when developing my lessons and engaging with students in the classroom. Whether it’s lesson plans from blogs, information about environmental issues from government sites that I can use to help teach students about a topic, or information from twitter about a natural issue that’s topic which I can use to connect with my students, I think there are a lot of great sources of information out there that I can use to develop my PLN and help in my potential future as a teacher.

  41. By creating a PLN on a social media platform, I think it’s a helpful and easy way to discover new ideas for activities and assignments for teachers. By using and setting up an account to use twitter for a PLN, I think it is extremely time efficient and can help anyone who also may be in a rush to find something to do. By staying connected with others, it allows you to have so many opportunities to build off each other’s ideas to create better ones. It’s so easy!

  42. I think the first thing I want to focus on is to use Twitter to find more history teachers to talk with and bounce around different ideas of how we can teach history to our students.

  43. I hope to find more educators who are interested in promoting bilingualism and dual-language schools. There’s so much for me to learn, and part of the challenge is that the area where I live doesn’t have an established commitment to the type of educational model I’d like to work in and develop.

  44. My personal PLN goal is to become more active on Facebook. I will also begin to search for informative resources on Twitter and take steps to begin posting information to share with others.

  45. I recently started a twitter account so the parents can see what my kindergarteners are up to and see fun things we’ve worked on in class to “grow our brains”! The parents love it, I just don’t always have the time to post every day. With all that’s going on I won’t be creating a PLN in the near future, but once I do, it will consist of helpful hints for teachers, free downloadable worksheets, activities that were a hit in the classroom, and other best practice resources for educators.

  46. My PLN goal is to get more information and discovering more resources I can use in my future classroom. There is always something to learn as an educator. I plan on using my twitter and Pinterest account to post things educational and as well as view things that are educational.

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