Not everyone relishes a professional development seminar. We need to play a proactive part to ensure that we grow in the areas that are most important for what we face in our classroom every day. You might not realize it, but there is an untapped wealth of resources and instructional strategies just waiting for you. Finding those materials though can take quite a bit of time randomly searching on the Internet. A much more efficient means would be to develop your own personal learning network, or “PLN,” of professionals who either most closely face the challenges that you do.
- Edublogs Teacher Challenges: Building Your PLN
One of the questions you might ask is “when do I have the time for this?” To me, it’s not a question of creating more time, but a matter of adjusting time spent on social media. Switching time spent on your own personal social media, such as Facebook, to Twitter is a good start. Educational professionals find Twitter and educational blog portals the place to connect and share with others with similar interests.
As I began to develop my own personal learning network, I felt a bit intimidated. It turned out that it was easy to find professionals who provide many useful resources, articles, and ideas to a large network. Wasted time can easily be converted into time in which I am reading about how a literacy specialist is engaging her ELL’s in the mainstream classroom, or math resources that can be used to push the advanced students or support those needing greater assistance. I follow 235 Twitter accounts, roughly 200 of which are educational professionals. To be honest, I cannot keep up with the amount of useful content shared there.
My advice for making use of your PLN in your own situation is to not use it as a means for solving an immediate problem. Skimming through posts and saving useful ideas for further reading will be the best method. For example, it was near the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year that I ran into a post by Dwight Nelson in which he shared a PDF of a book (Steps to Personal Revival) that became the morning devotional for our school’s faculty worship time. Another time, I found a nifty app, “Genius Scan,” that has effectively replaced my need for physical scanner machines. The usefulness and the variety of professional development topics cannot be quantified. When developed to meet your own needs, a PLN can help with the simple tasks while providing a window into the cutting educational research at your fingertips.
Call to Action:
There is no need to wait—you can start right at this moment. Login into or create a Twitter account. Select the search option at the bottom of your Twitter APP to find professionals to “follow.” Here are links that I would advise going to so as to follow the professionals whom you can relate to.
Who to Follow
- Spectrum Magazine’s Top Adventists on Twitter
- teachSDA: A learning community for Seventh-day Adventist educators
- Adventist CIRCLE’s Twitter Account
- Mr. KemoNZ’s Top 30 Educators to Follow on Twitter
Resources to Help Grow Your Personal Learning Network
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- Having your Own “PLN” for Professional Development - August 30, 2018