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

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

  1. My goal is to connect with talented teachers and learn from their experiences through platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and pinterest.

  2. My plan to implement PLN is by actively searching for blogs or social media posts to help encourage me as a teacher. These tools can also help me in becoming a better educator in the classroom. I plan to also use some of my strategies and techniques on my social media sites such as instagram and twitter. I am not much of a blogger myself put I can make small posts that might encourage someone else.

  3. My first step is to develop a solid PLN group that teaches the same subjects that I teach. I will set a schedule to communicate with this group on a regular basis. I will also schedule 15-20 minutes daily to read blogs that I am interested in. I want to set realistic goals starting out and add other things once I have established a routine.

  4. My goal to establish a PLN is to improve my classroom management skills, add new ideas into lesson plans to help engage the students, and learn about new technology advances to help with student accommodations. I plan to access Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Freebly at least once daily to check for updates in these fields and incorporate those items into my lesson plans and classroom. To be a great educator, it is best to not only teach but learn daily.

  5. My plan is to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I will designate 10-15 minutes a day to reading blogs, education Instagrams, and/or things saved to pocket. I will work first on PD, and as I grow, work on giving back by becoming more than a consumer.

  6. My primary goal for establish a PLN is for networking and resources that can be provided. Learning is a continued process throughout life, and I believe LinkIn, Twitter, and Pinterest would be great without being easily distracted. I want to be able to access these PLN easily and at anytime. The more sources I use the more information I can give and receive.

  7. My personal goal for my PLN, Is to add to my Twitter and Facebook. These are apps I use every day. I like to use it to follow veteran Special Education Teachers of all grade levels and also other elementary teachers to help me see new stratgeies I may not know. I would also follow educational news to keep up with any new updates in the state of Georgia.

  8. My first goal is to start small. The information overload from this challenge has been dizzying. It is crazy to think that this is just the tip of the iceberg. For me, starting small will be joining twitter and setting aside 15 minutes a day to develop my PLN. I think that will be easy because when I signed up, I found myself engrossed in lurking for over an hour. So fascinating!!

  9. For my PLN goal, I will continue to use Facebook and Pinterest, but also use Twitter to gain knowledge, find ideas, and connect with other teachers. I want to start my own page on TikTok with classroom management and organization skills as well as pep talks when I get into my own classroom. I plan to get more familiar with Twitter and using hashtags to find content that would be beneficial to me. I have a goal to scroll these platforms daily and search certain topics when I new ideas.

  10. My personal goal is to become more involved in my PLN communities. I was already following multiple groups on Facebook and Instagram, however, I am typically just an observer. I want to start participating more by commenting, sharing, and asking questions.

  11. My Goal For My PLN, Is to add it to my twitter App. This is because this is something I use everyday anyways. Id like to use it to follow veteran Special Education Teachers as well as High School Teachers to help me get a feel for high school level teaching methods that I may not be familiar with since I am doing Elementary School Right now.

  12. My personal goal is to use as many PLN platforms as I can. I want to be able to interact with many educators for not only my benefit, but also my students. I want to use Twitter to follow hashtags and accounts that will help me reach my goal. I want to use Pinterest to promote and seek out opportunities to make lessons a little more creative. I want to use facebook to connect with those who do not have a Twitter or Pinterest. I could go on and on, but I will leave it at this– I want to be able to grow where I am at right now in life. Life is moving towards more technology-centered every day life, so I will be growing in that aspect. PLNs are perfect for now and the future.

  13. I plan on using my favored outlet of Facebook and podcasts to interact with the larger education community. I will listen to podcasts about music education to and from work and follow pages on all of my favored platforms to see what the latest trends and topics are in my field. I now am inspired to comment and ask questions to see what kind of contribution i can make to my community.

  14. My goal is to use Instagram to build my PLN so I can easily collaborate with other teachers. I can also use this to gain better information, so I can become a better teacher.

  15. My ultimate goal is to begin building and growing my PLN through whatever platforms that I find to be the most beneficial. I hope to grow my Instagram, Twitter, etc. into a space where I can interact with other teachers. I hope to be able to learn from my people in my PLN and eventually have something to offer to others. I plan on dedicating time to building my network each week.

  16. My plan is to use Twitter as a PLN, following education-related pages where I can get ideas and insight about teaching.

  17. My goal is to use Facebook and Pinterest to grow my PLN more. I think that if I used the time that I would normally just scroll through my social media to actually go through different resources in education, I would learn a lot and be able to become a better teacher. I think that listening to some education podcasts or watching videos on YouTube would also help me as well.

  18. My goal is to take time at least once a week to use social media or a blog to look deeper into a question or an issue I came upon during the week of teaching. This could be through Twitter, a blog, or other social media.

  19. My PLN goal is to dedicate a portion of the the time I spend scrolling through social media to working on my PLN. Since I am already on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram regularly, I will be following more educational accounts and looking at them more closely. Another goal I have is to post more often so I can grow my PLN. My goal will be to post on one platform at least once a week.

  20. My goal is to use Twitter as a way to follow other upper grades literacy teachers–specifically veteran teachers. I plan to take time throughout the week to grow ideas based off of their strategies.

  21. My plan is to use instagram, facebook, and pinterest to develop my PLN. My goal is to replace the time I typically spend on social media looking at entertaining posts with time spent looking at educational, productive profiles. I can do this by following more educational organizations, teachers, and educational bloggers. I will also start sharing more of my own experiences and interacting with posts that I find beneficial and enlightening.

  22. My goal for my PLN is to create an Instagram page for my future classroom. I want to share content-related resources to help others. By creating a page, it will help me know other educators and gain more ideas from them. I really enjoyed all the different ways to share information and look up different resources. I will continue to grow my PLN and always be looking for new ways to share the new things of education.

  23. My PLN goal is to use Twitter more often and connect with others to learn more about education. Also, I plan to read more blogs to keep up with new teaching methods and learn more about the profession.

  24. I plan to use Twitter and various educational podcasts to create my PLN and stay up to date on all things education.

  25. My goal is to start using Twitter to help build my PLN as an educator. I also want to find educating podcasts on Spotify that are up-to-date on the newest educational research. I already use Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook so I hope to continue using those platforms to help develop my PLN.

  26. I plan to start using Twitter to learn more and grow professionally through a PLN. I think I will make the effort to use some of the time I would normally spend each day scrolling through Instagram or Facebook instead to look the abundance of useful resources coming through my Twitter feed. I also really like the idea of getting into some education related podcasts to be able to learn more.

  27. My PLN goal is to use my twitter account to interact with others for educational purposes more! I feel that this is a good cite that can be used for even greater educational purposes! I want to follow more accounts that can better my knowledge and build my “teacher toolbox”. Additionally, I will continue to use Pinterest for my classroom ideas and other creative avenues!

  28. My goals are to find blogs about education and to build my PLNs like everything else it will take time to do. I plan on chunking the information to not get overwhelmed because as I’m typing this, I feel information overload. I expect to find and share information that i think would be helpful for language educators like myself.

  29. My goals for building my PLN is to start with Twitter. I am going to start small (follow 6 people) so I don’t get overwhelmed. I am going to try to commit to checking in on it every other day, as well as commenting on at least on Tweet every time I check in. I also am going to try to commit to either tweeting or retweeting something of interest at least once a week.

  30. My goal is to create A PLN of my own to start connecting with others to gain wonderful tips and ideas from other educators. One of my main goals is to begin using my Twitter to follow many of the educational hashtag groups listed from this course!

  31. My goals are to start incorporating all these wonderful resources and websites this blog post has pointed me to. I plan to use the hashtag Twitter feature, my Feedly account, my Pinterest account, for searching and following reputable sites/people. I have learned so much from this blog session and I feel much more equipped to teach/instruct as a LMS (Library Media Specialist).

  32. Making Time: I usually do my graduate HW Tues-Thurs. for about 45 mins. to an hour. Take a break to exercise, walk, laundry, etc.

    Goals: My initial goal is to become comfortable with blogging, Twitter/Feedly. The 2 aspects of focus for me are to connect with cohorts in other countries to see how they have pivoted in this pandemic personally and professionally: what is the hobby/activity you did before the pandemic, what “new talent” you have developed during the pandemic and what is / are the things you will leave behind ( or continue) once the pandemic is “over”.

  33. My goal is to jump from the comfort and protection of being mainly a “lurker” in my PLN into more of a sharing contributor. I realize that the whole process is meant for sharing and collaboration and I have been shortchanging colleagues by not adding my input. Another goal is to set aside a specific amount of time each day to devote to professional learning through Twitter.

  34. My goals are to find blogs that associate with teaching skills and tips on becoming a better teacher. I would want to follow up on those tips before working on anything else.

  35. My goal is to focus more on starting small and making one change. That change could be following more educated people on social media or taking time out of my day to search for how I can improve my teaching instead of sitting on my phone mindlessly.

  36. Making time is the most important piece to creating a PLN for me. I’m not a person who spends a lot of time online browsing. I really only browse when I have a moment of down time and I don’t have a book to read. I’m still a bit old school when it comes to creating PLNs. I like to meet people and share ideas through traditional professional development avenues. I do, however, feel like some things will benefit me. As mentioned, I like the Pocket app and the Free Tech for Teachers site. I am also a blogger, so creating another one for educational purposes is a great idea.

  37. Now is a good time to start making accounts on different social medias if you haven’t yet and become familiar with how to use them. I think it is important in today’s day-in-age to use social media for professional interests and hobbies, which I have been doing for the past couple years now.

  38. I personally think I have time now to make time to create a PLN right before I student teach next semester. I find myself spending a lot of time on technology like my phone and computer which at the same time I could use the applications we talked about earlier to start my PLN. As long as it is on the pace I feel that it would work out very well for me.

  39. Goals: I was hesitant to join Twitter and other social media sites because of time consumption and how it can be unhealthy for some people. However, after completing this course, I am much more inclined to start a PLN and look for educators who provide valuable resources. My plan would be to start small, perhaps following a handful of insightful teachers. As my PLN grows, I may try to curate content or share my own thoughts with the world.

  40. My goal is to put the knowledge that I learned here to good use, and not forget it after this assignment is completed. I will do this by using the resources and logins that I made during this module, and regularly check those websites.

  41. My goals is to be a great future teacher and try to use as many resources as I can for my students. I wanna be able to help others. I will definitely be using twitter more in the future after reading. I could use all the tips that I can get. I will definitely spend more time on twitter now and see what else it has to offer.

  42. 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.

    I know it can be hard to make time for a new skill but I think integrating time during planning, or before or after school would be a good way to be in a focused environment in order to work on your PLN.

  43. My goal for my PLN is to concretely set it up so it’s something that I can access anytime, anywhere no matter what device or account I’m on. I also plan to research a lot more education blogs and sites in order to gain more connections and create more opportunities for growth and learning. I plan to continue to use a lot of social media to connect and learn from other educators world-wide as well as learn about amazing educators near me. I’m excited to continue to build this through my career and see all of the amazing opportunities and information it provides me.

  44. I would like to look on Pinterest more for ideas on little things like conversation starters for morning meetings so the beginning of our day is more exciting and welcoming. I also would like to get into Twitter. I have never had a Twitter but I think it would be useful for me as an educator. My goal is to stay up to date and find new ways to improve my teaching for the students and social media platforms are a great way to achieve that.

  45. My one tip to starting your PLM is talking to fellow teachers. Ask them for recommendations for who they love to follow. Once you find one person you love, look at who they follow and follow those people too. Look up hashtags about things that are important to you like art in the classroom or music, etc. The more you use your platform for things like this, the more your platform will recognize what you are interested in and it will do all the work for you by showing you things you would love.

  46. I am going to add my professional account to my twitter app, that way when I wake up and check twitter or when I am on twitter in the evening I can easily switch to my professional account and interact with my PLN.

  47. I am going to ask and discuss with my practicum placement teacher what type of PLN she may have. I would like to pick her mind about tips and tricks on how to keep myself from getting overwhelmed, worry, or even take on too much. I will also log on to my newly created Twitter account and reach out to new groups and chats to explore educational opportunities. 

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