I’ve been craving professional development. I guess this craving was fueled by my recent entry into the world of running. I find running incredibly motivating because 1) it challenges me, 2) it provides a continually growing list of new goals to reach, and 3) it has an encouraging and fun community. I would lie awake at night and think about running. I would fill my iPod with running podcasts. I was excited to share my experiences with those around me. And I realized that when I’ve been active in growing professionally I’ve also hit this moment of flow and real enjoyment.
I see a PLN as providing exactly the same benefits for me as running. Growing as a teacher means pushing yourself to stay active and on top of opportunities that allow you to learn new things. It takes time and commitment but, exactly like running, when it is something you enjoy it is easy to find the time and commitment becomes second nature. Still, the challenge is there because it does take work to get the ball rolling and to find ways to fit it into our lives amongst all the other priorities.
Being part of a PLN provides an incredible amount of inspiration. There is a lot of information being shared. So much information that I can’t even begin to keep track. Everything from articles, videos, websites, chats, conferences, books, webinars, tweets, podcasts, hash tags and so much more. And in amongst all this information are ideas. New things to try with your students such as blogs, movies, crafts, games as well as new ways to talk to students, involve students, understand, and inspire them.
There are so many people doing amazing things in their classes. Pushing themselves to try new things, to go with their instincts, and really connect with their students. And, at the same time, many of these people are also sharing their experience and expertise with the rest of us. Participating in an online community allows you to connect with great minds all over the world and in real time. Plus, in my very short time participating in a PLN, I’ve found them to be some of the nicest and most supportive people. A lot of them are pretty funny, too, and I’ve been caught laughing out loud at my computer screen a few times.
So, What do I hope to learn more about with respect to my PLN in the coming weeks?
I shared the same hopes as many people in the comments on PLN Challenge #2.
Barbara D’Elia says:
What I want to know is, well, a few things:
1) What is the best free stuff I can find and use to support making the online teaching environment come alive and connect our students. Not bells and whistles, but enlivenment and education.
2)How can I best organize the tools I come across? Would an eportfolio be the ticket, or a site about sites, or an ongoing blog with organized links, or…?
Yes, me too! I need a lot of help with organization. Not only in my digital world but also in my classroom. And I too want to use the resources available to us to enhance the learning experiences of my students and I think being part of a PLN will provide lots of ideas and tools for both these challenges.
How do some of the online edu-rock-stars DO the amazing things they do (Tweeting, blogging, meeting-up, webinar-ing, conference-attending, book-writing, curating, etc.)while maintaining balance in their personal lives?
This is a big one for me. I am coming late to the PLN scene too so I am quite impressed at how some people really seem to be doing it all and surviving! I have young children and as they grow things definitely get easier and easier but I still struggle with finding time for it all.
And Tech Teacher 803 sums it up well:
Tech Teacher 803 says:
Hi, I am looking for ways to share what I know with others. I also am looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.
I, too, want to share my experiences. I want to hear the experiences of others and I want to go grow and learn as part of a community while improving my teaching skills.
So, my desire for professional development is what led me to start working on developing my PLN. I stumbled on the PLN Challenge at just the right time and I look forward to learning with and from all of you! Already I’ve tracked down podcasts, reactivated my Twitter account (PLN Challenge #3), and jumped in on webinars at the last minute and it has only been a little over a week. Go PLN!