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

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

  1. I think that will twitter is my PLN platform . I look twitter is good platform networking ,sharing and conecting to every people in word.

  2. I think that I will use twitter as my PLN platform. I look forward to networking with other teacher candidates.

  3. Going through the seven steps to build the PLN has been a rich learning experience for me. I find that the steps presented are very practical, and have given me the essential tools to start my PLN. While all of this was overwhelming to me, I was able to get the gist, and I will refer to these valuable resources throughout the build process.
    Since I already have a Twitter account, I want to start by making time every day to explore and develop it for this purpose. Then, even if I have not yet built my own blog, although it is part of my objectives, I will now take the time to discover others, provide comments which will help me in the creation of mine.
    PLN will become a reality if only daily work is done on it. Knowing that, I’m going to set time in my calendar to be able to respect this commitment.

  4. My goal is to create and build a blog to share my thoughts and experiences in education with teachers. I want to grow a PLN to help teachers find peace and joy in their jobs in the midst of chaos.

  5. My goal is to become more invested with my PLN by making more time for it as well as incorporating into my routine. I also want to be more connected by following blogs that will help me become a better educator.

  6. I think an attainable goal would be to spend 15 minutes a day building my PLN. I already catch myself scrolling on social media when I don’t need to be, so I might as well make that time educational. Setting aside 15 minutes could be just scrolling through teacher tik toks for cute activities or great strategies for teaching math. I already have a lot of videos like that saved, so I should use some of that time seeing when I could try those strategies (especially the math ones).

  7. My goal is to make my filler web-browsing/twitter time more productive by putting it toward building my PLN. My most typical browsing times are during breakfast and lunch. I typically have my phone or computer open just looking at current events or twitter. I plan to transition to using that time to looking at educator communities on twitter or other PLN building activities instead.
    I also want to start a Diigo account in order to organize all the resources I find. Hopefully that will make this otherwise wasteful browsing time more useful.

  8. My goal moving forward will be to start using Twitter more than I currently do, which shouldn’t be hard as I just started. I am not much of a social media person, but you can follow fellow educators and discuss numerous ideas quickly and easily. I will start by following more politically focused people and organizations as well as other government and social science educators in general. Finding other experts on the curriculum or course I teach will bring forward new ideas and strategies I can implement in my classroom. I will also begin to follow more blogs and broaden the groups and organizations I currently follow to build up my PLN.

  9. I would like to focus on Twitter to build my PLN. I feel like this would be the best way for me to start. I already have an account and follow a few educational people, but I would like to do some more research and find quality people and groups. My school has upgraded our math curriculum this year. Finding some experts with out new curriculum would be a good place for me to start and be very helpful.

  10. One of my goals is to use twitter a little more. I don’t see myself conversing with other via twitter but I can really see the value in curating and benefiting from other people’s curation. I think another goal would be actually setting up time to create a more substantial PLN. Like everything in an educator’s day, it takes time. As we know stuff starts to add up quickly for teachers. I need to carve out, even an hour a week, to focus on not only more tech integration but just setting up a PLN. I know a PLN isn’t something you can build in a day, I should say a strong PLN. This will definitely take a few years to build a strong PLN but I think a little dedication toward doing it will have great results.

  11. My goal is to start with one hour a week on a Thursday evening to build my PLN. Time management is definitely the biggest challenge for me. I want to start with getting comfortable with Twitter since that is the platform educators say they use the most. I would like to find other Lutheran teachers, other high school teachers, other English teachers, and other instructors teaching World Literature and British Literature. I also am starting a Writing Lab this year so I will be on the hunt for tips and tricks on how to successfully operate a writing lab in a high school setting.

  12. Building a PLN doesn’t have to be difficult. Over this course, I’ve learned about multiple tools that are simple and easy to use. I’ve started using Flipboard and Tweetdeck and both have excellent resources. I plan on taking some time to look through these resources more over the next week before school starts again!

  13. Building a PLN is so valuable! I find that the best time to build my PLN, as a teacher, is over the summer. I have more time to delve into blogs and comments that have been made on posts to gain valuable information on topics I am interested in. It can get overwhelming, so I suggest building your PLN on platforms that you are comfortable with, sticking with those and keep building your network from there. Do lots of searches and click on suggestions that others make to see if they are appealing to you. It can get overwhelming, so sometimes you just have to take what you’ve learned and step back for a while as you implement things you’ve learned and come back when you’re ready for more!

  14. Making time to build a PLN and use it daily is a big challenge. Although I understand the value of having a PLN, the additional minutes on a device make it difficult to cut back on my screen time. I walk for about an hour a day. I thought this would be a good time to listen podcast.

  15. I will definitely start making time for my PLN by scheduling in a set time during the week to spend going through blogs and Twitter account in order to grow my PLN.

Leave a Reply to Felicia Simmons Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *