A PLN is a “Personal Learning Network.” A PLN is a learning network where people can connect with others who share common interests and ideas. My PLN consists of Twitter, Diigo, Blogger, and Facebook. My PLN will help me as a teacher by allowing me to connect and share ideas with others in my grade level and subject area.
I have just begun using Twitter as a part of my PLN. In addition to following the members of class 422, I am also now following a few people from NTchat (New Teacher chat), as well as a couple from SpedChat (Special Education chat). I liked the ideas shared by those in NTchat, and I want to start participating in SpedChat. Tonight I participated in the NTchat on July 25 at 5:00pm. It was the first chat I have seen. The topic of the chat was planning for the school year. It started out slow at first, with people just saying hello. I did go out on a limb and post a couple of updates. I wanted to post a link, but I wrote the comment without the link, and had to redo it, so that was a little embarrassing. There were moments where 5 or 6 tweets would update at the same time, so it would be hard to follow. I also was trying to piece together comments from one person to another. I felt happy when a couple of people retweeted me. It was nice to see that other people shared my same thoughts and ideas on teaching.
Another tool I have been using as a part of my PLN is Diigo, a free social bookmarking, research, and knowledge sharing tool created to mimic the ease of taking notes while providing a network for sharing and discovering information. In order to locate people to add to my network, I searched specifically for autism, since that is the type of class that I teach. I found several groups that focused on autism. I selected the individuals who were the most active, or generated the greatest number of posts. Two of them in turn started following me. I tag relevant articles posted by the people I follow as “PLN” so I can refer to them later.
I joined The Educator’s PLN, the personal learning network for educators. I added the badge to my blog. I then read a post called “Why we shouldn’t treat schools like factories, even if it is more cost effective...” In this post, the author compared schools to assembly line factories. It was very clever the way he used the assembly line as a metaphor for the way schools should not be run. I agree with the statement “every child can and will make a difference.”