This post is brought to you by content contributor Alissa DeVito. Read more about her on our "About Us" page and follow her on Twitter for more excellent educational content @alissa_devito.
If you’re just beginning to grow as a connected educator, you might hear a lot about PLNs. But what does that mean? PLN stands for Personal Learning Network, a self developed network of educators to learn, share, and grow along with. These networks can include your face-to-face colleagues, professional collaborations, and online connections.
Though it may take some time to build up your PLN, in the end it benefits both you and your students. Why?
Here are five reasons educators should build their Personal Learning Network:
1. Connect and Collaborate with teachers all over the world. Break down the walls of your classroom and interact with educators all over the country and the world. It often brings new and different perspectives on education standards. Maybe your students can find international pen pals from your connections, too!
2. Share ideas, resources, tools, and tips, Having a strong PLN can be better than Google when it comes to finding new ideas and tools. These tips are already classroom tested and teacher approved! Don’t forget to share your favorite resources as well Your knowledge and expertise will be valued and welcomed.
3. Develop a support network. Looking for some advice or inspiration? A PLN can be there for you with words of wisdom and a pick-me-up.
4. Engage and Learn about anything. Take the initiative to learn from other educators. Want to know more about project based learning or digital portfolios? Find it all! Ask questions! Grow!
5 .Impact your classroom instruction. At the end of the day, learning from your PLN will directly impact your classroom and students. The benefits for you as an educator trickle down as the benefits for your students. You’ll also be modeling life-long learning and positive digital citizenship!
Don’t be overwhelmed when putting an effort towards developing your personal learning network. Start small. Think about how you already collaborate within your school community. Are there teachers willing to have a lunch club to share ideas? Do you make time for collaboration during meetings? Working together is the key – it’s doesn’t have to be formal or time intensive.
Once you have established a way to work your PLN into your physical teaching community then consider branching out to the digital world. There are so many wonderful education blogs, like us here at The Snarky Schoolteacher, and social networks to join to connect with other teachers. Twitter is an especially wonderful tool of cultivating your PLN. You can follow me @alissa_devito for more content. and also make sure you are following hashtags #edchat or #edtech to see amazing educators around the world share and learn from one another. You can even join our Facebook community called Snarky Teachers to grow along with us.
What are you going to do today to help build your PLN? Comment below to share your ideas!
The Snarky Schoolteacher is an education and lifestyle blog run by dedicated educational professionals. Our goal is to bring you relevant and fun educational content with a side of sass. Read more about our team here. Thanks for visiting, and we hope you will find these ideas and resources helpful in your classrooms and in your lives.