Before writing this blog, I had no clue what a PLN was. I Googled the acronym, and found that it stands for ‘Personal Learning Network’. A PLN is a network of people connected by social media that learn and communicate together.
- Personal: A PLN is used to make personal connections with teachers, principals, and educators alike around the globe. The relationships that you build can help you in your classroom and provide you with questions you may have.
- Learning: Having a PLN is all about learning from others as well as sharing your own ideas.
- Network: The whole point of the PLN is the network of people it provides to answer questions, share ideas, and develop new teaching. The building of one’s network takes time and effort, but the rewards you get from developing your PLN is worth it.
Basically, teachers build their PLN to build meaningful and helpful relationships with others around the world in the same field. It helps teachers share their thoughts and ideas with other teachers, and to get feedback on what works and what does not. Also, it can create opportunities for teachers to get connected with potential employers.
Twitter in the Classroom:
Many people think the only reason people use Twitter or other social media sites for entertainment or to stay up on current events. While this is true, Twitter can be used for much more than this. Today it’s used in many school classrooms for many reasons. A few of the main reasons are:
- Keeping students up to date on upcoming assignments and due dates
- Connecting with the community
- Engaging parents
These are just a few ways that teachers use Twitter for educational purposes. For a more extensive list, visit http://www.teachhub.com/50-ways-use-twitter-classroom.
One teacher, Mr. Huff (@MrHuff_PCHS) uses Twitter very effectively with his classes at my former high school, PCHS. He uses Twitter to remind students of assignments, post things they do in class, share funny memes, or post fun facts about topics they’re learning.
#APPsych– Great job today building neurons! I hope you enjoyed all of the endorphins that were released! http://t.co/Yn5jglxOgc—
Mr. Huff (@MrHuff_PCHS) September 16, 2014
Another teacher that I found is Mrs. Wiley (@MrsWileyArtRoom), an art teacher in North Canton, Ohio. Since she is an elementary school teacher and most of her students won’t have their own Twitter accounts, she uses it mainly to connect with parents.
I participated in the #21stedtech chat this past Sunday night. I really didn’t know what to expect, and I definitely did not think it would be as popular as it was. There was probably around 50 people actively tweeting in the chat, which provided for good conversation and interactions. I actually really enjoyed doing the Twitter chat; it was interesting to get to talk to people from all over the US. They seemed really excited that a future teacher was participating in the chat, and I got the opportunity to ask some questions and provide some answers. It was surprisingly easy to keep up with the Twitter chat. I was on it for about an hour, and just constantly refreshed my screen to see the new tweets pop up. I thought it was a great idea to have a moderator. She facilitated the discussion, and provided the questions to guide us.
Twitter in my Future Classroom
As a future Elementary school teacher, I think it would be wise for me to make a professional Twitter account. I would mainly use it to connect and engage the parents of my students. I think that in order to create a great classroom, a good amount of parent support is needed. Twitter will allow me to show the parents what their children are doing in class, as well as reminding them of things that are coming up. Also, by the time I become a teacher and with the increasing amount of people using social media, Twitter will probably be used by a majority of parents. To build my PLN, I would definitely use Twitter, as well as LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is a great way to build professional relationships and network. Unlike Twitter, I would use LinkedIn mainly to showcase my skills and experience as a teacher. While Twitter would be used to connect with parents, LinkedIn would be used to communicate with future employers.