A PLN is a “personalized learning network” made up of many professionals and resources that help a teacher become the best teacher they can be. (https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-1-what-the-heck-is-a-pln/) Tom Whitby provides this clear, concise definition of the personalized learning network in his blog titled How Do I Get a PLN?, ” A PLN is a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources.” (https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby)
PLN has its origin in the connectivism theory and it is based on the sharing of resources, ideas, experiences and supports through media and personal relationships with professionals. Teachers, school administrators, university professors, and experts in education around the world can be a part of a PLN. These personal relationships can offer information that can help teachers learn how to improve their teaching. These personal relationships can built through distance, for instance, your PLN may include a university professor from Atlanta even though you may live in Nebraska. There are other benefits to acquiring these professional relationships, than just the obvious learning benefits. For example, sometimes these relationships are essential for teachers just to have someone to talk to too and vent with. Teachers need emotional support, that way they can be there emotionally for their students.
Personal relationships are only a small piece of a PLN. Media and online sources are the other essential element in a PLN. The best part of social media and online resources is that the information and support can be completely individualized to the teacher’s personal needs. For example, if the teacher needed information specifically on classroom management during transitions, the teacher would be able to find that individualized information and opt out of receiving other non-essential information. Twitter, Facebooks, blogs, academic journals, research, and many other resources are available to teachers 24/7 through the use of digital devices. (http://www.teachhub.com/what-pln-why-do-i-need-one)
It is imperative that teachers stay up to date with all the new data and information about education. Teachers need to made aware of what is working in classrooms around the world, and what is failing in classrooms around the world, if they are expecting their classroom to be successful. There are several steps that I am taking to build my PLN. I have made a twitter account with main focus of following educators and important people in the educational world. I have also started a blog feed made up of professionals in education and data and research teams. I have been trying to interact more with the people dominating the education field through social media, but my nerves get the best of me. However, this week I will conquer the challenge I will comment on a blog post by an educator that I have admired from afar. My next step is to join an educational chat group and to add professionals in education to my Google+ account. (https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby)