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Why Project PLN?
The PLN is growing. Everyday, more and more teachers
are joining the conversation, it is exciting. Twitter, #edchat,
Facebook, blogs, and other social media outlets have
given teachers a chance to share their ideas with the
world. These teachers are making education better for
everyone. Project PLN wants to help bring these ideas
together in one place.
Once a month, Project PLN will collect some of the best
posts on a designated topic and produce a magazine. This
magazine will be available in PDF format as well as online.
Project PLN aims to spread the word about the wonderful
things happening in eduction and this first issue is
PLNs: Find What Works For You - Steven dedicated to all the wonderful people that make up the
PLN. This magazine is truly written by teachers, for
There is a big push in education for educators to form or to have
a personal learning network; a group of other professionals that There is no cost for creating Project PLN and there is no
you call upon for answers to our burning educational questions, charge for reading it. Ideas are free and we intend to keep
for mentoring and for just someone else to talk to about our it that way. We promise to provide the best posts out there
profession. Many times when we talk about PLNs, we talk about to help every teacher around the world. Feel free to forward
the digital one. I am a big user and advocate of Twitter. I think this link, download the PDF and email to your staff, link to
it is, hands-down, one of the best ways to connect with other your site, or whatever you want to do with Project PLN. This
educators from around the world and have some really deep and is your magazine.
meaningful conversations. But I wonder, are we pushing too
much the use of the digital PLN? Now, before you go thinking I Project PLN will be on the look out for great
am losing my mind I am not. I still believe that educators should posts and teachers to feature in the magazine,
use things like Twitter and other social networks to create, on our Facebook page, on Twitter and any other
communicate and collaborate with colleagues. But I just wonder, social media we can get our hands on. We think
what about the face-to-face relationships. Aren't those equally that there are many teachers out there with
as important? amazing things to say and our goal is to give
I have a great group of people in my school and district that I you to voices in the PLN you may not be familiar
am lucky I get to work with on a daily basis. I see these people with yet.
regularly and consider them valuable members of my PLN. There If you have any questions, please feel free to
are others that I know virtually that I feel equally about but contact us at, ProjectPLN10@gmail.com,
many I have never met face-to-face. In both of these situations @ProjectPLN or our Facebook page.
I feel like I get some major value out of my relationships.
Everyone I follow on Twitter adds value to my learning. Everyone Thanks for your support and we can't wait to hear what you
I retweet, mention, follow,and engage with adds value to me on have to say!
both a professional and a personal level. But on the flip side,
the face-2-face, professional relationships I have with Nick and Kelly
colleagues at school are meaningful and add value to my Project PLN
learning also. I find siting together, conversing, working through
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problems, also helps stretch my thinking, just like my digital PLN
10 Ways to Help Students
And then there is the argument about "knowing" who you are Develop a PLN - Edna Sackson
talking to. There was a very interesting post earlier this year
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from Scott McLeod about how you never really know that person There has been some discussion lately about the precise meaning of
sitting next to you at a conference. While you might think the term PLN. I m not sure why it matters actually. Like any other
someone is a rockstar they might really beat their kids or drink word in the dictionary (!), it has more than one definition and might
too much. Yeah, you might not really know that person sitting mean different things to different people
next to you. But. Isn't there some level of trust that we place in
the people we meet and get to "know" through social media? Is
that a good thing or a bad thing? I know there are certain people
in my PLN that if I need something, even if it is personal and in
no way educational, I can call upon. Can't the same be said
about face-2-face relationships. I am sure we all know a
situation where a person acted one way in school and you later
found out they weren't what you thought they were. That is the
nature of relationships, period. Unless you are married (and
maybe not even then) or related, you might not ever know
everything there is to know about a person. But are those
reasons enough to prefer one type of PLN over the other?
I just wonder...when we are talking to teachers about
collaborating and growing our network, are we jumping right in
and showing them Twitter or Nings or other social networks? Or
are we taking the time to tell them that they already have a
network of professional learners that they collaborate with
(hopefully) everyday? I love my digital PLN. The connections
there are some that I feel will last as long as my career. But I
love, too, my face-to-face relationships and the professional My PLN is my personal learning network . It comprises the people I
connections I make mean a lot to me. learn with and from, some face-to-face and others online,
As you are either starting to build your PLN or have a well share with me, support me and collaborate with me. They argue with
established one, I think it is important to find a good balance. me, question me and force me to clarify my ideas. Wherever they
The digital PLN is, I believe, crucial to the success of a modern are, whether I have met them in person or not, these people are part
day educator. But I also believe in the power of face-to-face, of my PLN.
professional relationships. Remember, your colleagues don't
have to be in your digital PLN. While I would love to have all my the old way to relinquish control and
teachers on Twitter or using other forms of social media I know allow kids to take responsibility for their own learning, students too
several just will not, and for me that is ok. However, they are
still very brilliant educators, that I can learn lots with and from boss of learning , students need the skills and
and they are definitely members of my face-to-face PLN. opportunities to learn from and with a wider network of people. How
do we help students develop their own PLN s? I think generally when
Bottom line, find what works for you, but, find something. people
are clearly great at developing such networks themselves! What
10 ways to support students in developing a PLN
1. Arrange the tables in groups.
Steven Anderson holds a Bachelors of Science in Middle Grades Mathematics and
Science Education from Western Carolina University and a Master of Arts In Provide opportunities for students to engage with their in-class PLN.
Education In Instructional Technology from East Carolina University. He is
currently persuing an Add-On Licsenure in Administration from Appalachian collaboration. Set tasks that allow students to construct meaning
State University. Steven began teaching in 2003 the Gateway Prep. Academy at together with their PLN.
the Kennedy Learning Center in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in
Winston-Salem, NC. There he worked with 7th and 8th grade students who were 2. Let them talk.
more than 2 years off of grade level in the hopes they could return to their
regular school to be successful. He then moved to Clemmons Middle School in Don t do all the talking. Don
the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools where he taught 7th and 8th grade directly to each other. Even if it s a frontal lesson where you need to
Science for 5 years. He was part of a pilot program that "looped" his 7th and 8th explain new material, allow 5 minutes here and there for them to talk
grade students. While at Clemmons he served as Team Leader, Grade-Level it through amongst themselves. Use thinking routines like Think, pair,
Chairman, Department Chairman, School Improvement Team Member and share .
School Improvement Team Chairman. He left Clemmons Middle to serve as the
District Instructional Technologist for Stokes County Schools. There, he was 3. Be part of their PLN.
responsible for all technology professional development programs in the district.
In January, 2010, he returned to Clemmons Middle School as the Instructional
Technologist, working with teachers and students on technology integration. He learning. Learn with and from your students. Don t pretend to know all
has been a presenter at several area technology conferences and meetings t
including NCTIES, North Carolina's largest educational technology conference. overplan. Explore and investigate with your students.
Most recently he was selected to be a panelist at the #140 Conference in Los
Angeles, organized by Vonage founder, Jeff Pulver, where he discusses the 4. Promote an out-of-class PLN.
impact of Twitter and other social media on education. As part of the conference
he was one of the first recipient NOW Award, recognizing the "Movers and
Let them work with students from other classes. Provide cross level
Shakers" in the world of Social Media. He will return to the #140 Conference in
opportunities. Arrange electives that allow collaboration across grade
2010 as a featured speaker, this time in New York City. Also in 2009 Steven was
levels. Organize learning experiences that involve other teachers.
Most Influential Tweeter Edublog awards
was a co-recipent of the Most Influential Series of Tweets for his part in helping
5. Flatten classroom walls.
to create #edchat, a weekly education discussion on Twitter that boosts over 500
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classes learning about the same issues to debate with on Skype.
teaching by forming a support group for First Year Teachers from around the 6. Learn from experts.
conferences, workshops and meetings around the state. In the Fall of 2008 he
Invite speakers from your local community. Bring in people from
joined the Classroom 2.0 Ning and joined Twitter in Feb. 2009 anywhere in the world via Skype. Encourage students to pursue their
as web20classroom where he continues everyday to grow as an educator and
build his PLN. He is currently working with staff at Clemmons Middle School on online.
a Personal Learning Network project where teachers, administrators, and other
school leaders are beginning to build their PLN's through the use of Social 7. Encourage conversation with family.
Invite parents to share in the learning, in person, or by commenting
and siblings. Send student questions and wonderings that haven t
21 Resources About Personal Learning been addressed in class, home for discussion.
Networks (PLNs)- Shelly Terrell 8. Learn through blogging.
For the past year, I have researched the what, who, when, how, and why of
Personal/Professional/Passionate Learning Networks (PLNs). We have seen the
other schools and in other countries to get their students to comment.
benefits of the people we choose to connect, collaborate, and problem solve
Get your kids to read and comment on other class blogs. Develop a
with through social media. The educators, subject matter experts (SMEs),
conversation. Develop a relationship.
authors, and mentors we choose to derive knowledge from help us self-reflect
on our methodologies and beliefs. They support us, remember our birthdays,
8. Focus on communication.
celebrate our accomplishments, and stir within us a passion to improve the
status quo. Many might argue we are an echo chamber, but I don t really believe
Whoever s in your PLN, you need to know how to communicate.
this. I know that within one year of connecting with a PLN I have jump started
Listening is just as important as speaking. Teach them that it isn t
so many projects at my own institute. A few examples include- my five-year-old
always about you. Model consideration and mutual respect within a
students have connected with others from other countries, we use technology
with the English language learners regularly at my institute, and we Skype. We
also have added many new courses and wikis along with these classes. We give
9. Define the student s PLN.
workshops about technology to parents and educators. The students love the
technology, are improving their English skills at faster rates, and are motivated
Increase awareness that learning doesn t belong only at
by using technology. I am excited, because I know that I am preparing them
school them to think about who they learn from and with. Get
adequately for their world of globalization and information and communication
them to create a mind-map showing their personal learning network.
technologies (ICTs). By preparing them I know I am actively making a difference
the network grows.
in the future. As an educator my goal is to send forth my students skilled and
armed with knowledge to better, not burden the world.
10. This one s yours!
A community raises a child! Yes, I do believe this, which is why I am passionate
about PLNs. My PLN helps me be a better educator and prepare my students How can we support our students in building a personal learning
daily. They feed me experience, knowledge, and support 24 hours a day/ 7 days network?
a week. Therefore, I hope you take time to bookmark these various resources,
share them with other educators through workshops and presentations, and
spread the message of PLNs.
Edna is a teacher and a learner in a PYP school,
Research about PLNs
work on her blog What Ed Said.
Below are several resources I have collected about the history of PLNs, how to
build a PLN, and the tools needed to build a PLN. Please scroll down and take a Clip Content | Comments (0)
look at these resources and see if they can be an addition to a future
We Connect Wiki- This wiki is full of videos, Wallwishers, Wikipedia articles, and
more that help educators find the resources to build a PLN. You will find all the
materials listed in this post there as well as at least 50 other links to video
tutorials, step-by-step guides, lists of people to follow, and more to help any
educator new or old to this concept build a PLN.
Wikipedia article about PLNs- This article explains the history and theory behind
PLNs. Do you know where the term developed, the theory behind PLNs, who are
the forerunners of the PLN movement?
Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by George Siemens- Siemens
is noted as one of the forerunners behind the PLN movement. In this article,
Siemens discusses the theory behind PLNs. This is one of the most important
articles behind the PLN movement.
Origins of the Term Personal Learning Network by Stephen Downes- Downes is
another forerunner of the PLN movement and connectivism. In this post, he
delineates the origins of the term. The People of a PLN - Kyle Pace
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A PLN, or Personal learning Network, is a great way to get
The Art & Technique of Personal Learning Networks by David Warlick- Warlick globally connected to thousands and thousands of
defines PLN in easily understood terms, explains how the process works, and educators all over the world. The medium used is Twitter
provides several articles for more information. and it never ceases to amaze me the learning and
collaboration that is happening 24/7/365. I've said it once,
PLN posts on Teacher Reboot Camp- Read several of my posts about PLNs and and I'll say it again, "You cannot buy this kind of
the type of learning they provide. You will also find posts like, PLNs, Where Do professional development." What's even better is that
We Begin?, to help you relate the concept to educators who have never there's something for everyone. Teachers, counselors,
experienced this before. administrators, instructional technology specialists, special
education teachers, , music teachers, ESL/ELL teachers;
you name it and you can find like minded educators to
connect with. However, this made me think of all the people
I have come to know as professionals. It's the people that
make this great. Plain and simple.
I have talked with many of you so many times via Twitter,
Google Docs, Skype, and email. We have collaborated
together, created together, and learned from each other.
It's so cool that I have been able to connect with so many
people over the last 2 1/2 years. There's been much
sharing, much humor, and much camaraderie. I am thankful
for every bit of it.
Video It's important not to forget the people side of having a PLN.
Whether we're using Twitter, a resource like The
Why Do We Connect? from Shelly Terrell on Vimeo. Educator's PLN, or connecting via one of the countless
other mediums, it's the people that make this work, not the
technology. Does the technology make it easier?
Absolutely! This is the real-time web! It's a living, breathing,
thriving force! Don't underestimate its potential to bring
change and be a true catalyst for a revolution in education
and professional development. However, it's the people
who will initiate it.
So, where do you start you ask? Well, get to Twitter.com
and get your account created of course! As a suggestion,
be sure to have a short bio and profile pic ready to go
when you create your account. So that way when you start
following others (whenever someone starts following you
receive an email notifying you) they can see 1) what you
look like and 2) know that you re an educator and are
building your PLN.
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So, who do I find people to follow you ask? Well I ll tell you
how I started. I can remember two of the very first people I
started following. I had seen both of these excellent
educational technology leaders present at workshops and
conferences. They are David Warlick and Tony Vincent. I
then began to think, well I know they have got to be
following some great people. This is another great thing
about Twitter. I could look at the list of educators that these
two gentlemen were following. This gave me loads more
people to begin my PLN journey.
My friend Beth Still has also put together a list she likes to
call Instant PLN . Be sure and check it out here. It s an
amazing list of people to follow if you are just beginning
your PLN journey. If you link your Twitter account to the
TweepML service, you can follow groups of people all at
once rather than visit each of their Twitter pages
individually and click the Follow button on each one. Quite
the handy tool!
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If you d like to find educators to connect with more
specifically by subject or grade level, be sure to check out
my friend Gina Hartman s wiki she created called
Twitter4Teachers. You can find other educators in virtually
How to build a PLN? from Elena Elliniadou on Vimeo.
every subject area. Just please pay it forward and add
your information as well to your specific content area.
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Needless to say, there are some amazing people to
connect with for professional development, collaboration,
and to extend the 4 walls of your classroom. As I said
earlier, though, it s these people and their amazing ability
as educators that make it worth my time. I think you should
make it worth yours too. If I can help you in any way please
do not hesitate to contact me via Twitter or the contact form
on my website.
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My full-time job is as an instructional technology specialist for a school
elementary school to now teaching teachers how to successfully
integrate technology into their instruction. I have experience with
internet safety, SMART Board interactive whiteboards, eInstruction s
Classroom Performance System, social networking such as Delicious,
Facebook, Twitter, web design, and many popular Web 2.0 Tools. I
want to help teachers move their teaching into the 21st century with
proven strategies that will engage today s 21st century student as well
as differentiate their instruction. I want to help teachers not feel
intimidated by technology, but to gradually embrace it and feel more
confident using it by providing continual support. I provide well-
planned, engaging professional development.
In January 2009, I entered a new venture when the book I co-
authored, Integrating Technology with Music Instruction (see right),
was published. Greg Foreman, my co-author, colleague, and friend
proposed the idea to me based on the close work I have done with the
music department in the school
book was published by Alfred Publishing in Van Nuys, CA.
Please be sure to check out my Curriculum Vitae to find out
Personal Learning Networks - the what, why and how from darren elliott on Vimeo. information about my current work experience. I can be reached via
my contact form if you have any other questions.
Connecting in a Globalized World through Social Media
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View more presentations from Shelly Terrell.
Constructing a PLN
View more presentations from Richard Byrne.
Twitter for your PLN Public on Prezi
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Creating a Personal Learning Network
View more presentations from Corinne Weisgerber.
built by John on March 16, 2010 17 posts so far
What my PLN means to me!
Created by @joevans
My PLN con
What a great idea! This will educational l
ransomtech says help me to better connect to pedagogy, t
my students! (whether they
Having a network of like- of educatio
like it or not!)
minded and not so like-minded Mar 16, 2010
professionals both supports me Mar 16, 2010
and challenges me like none Lynzee says amckiel says
other. Gr8 way to stay
informed...Your filter. I am learning about PLN .. very My PLN puts
interesting of my own ci
Mar 16, 2010
24/7 and has
Mar 16, 2010
LindaA says Mar 16, 2010
My network provides me with
a non-stop educational and My PLN includes people who
Steve M. say
social consciousness stream of are willing to disagree with
information, opinion and me. They help me to refine My PLN has all
resources. I can't imagine my ideas -- and sometimes to expand my le
learning without it. change my mind entirely. proportions.
Embed this Build your own wall
Mar 16, 2010 Mar 16, 2010 Mar 16, 2010
built by dlourcey on June 24, 2010 23 posts so far
Getting Started with a PLN
Provide a tip for principals, superintendents, and other leaders to create an
Steven A. says
Give it time and spend time
Find a men
From Tampa says doing it. It will not happen
overnight and you have to
Chiming in from Florida, Using with twitt
spend time cultivating it.
twitter with a quick #edtech questions a
Believe me, once it gets going
search will kickstart your PLN! discourage
it will be awesome!
Jun 25, 2010
to help or
Jun 24, 2010
Jun 24, 2010
Kathy N says
I started following one person
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who I knew was someone I Melissa s
respected and then followed
another person that she
followed who had great ideas is a great
and I'm up to 22... EKEndriss says
Jun 25, 2010 Search interests to find blogs otherwis
worth following. Subscribe to ideas.
their a sticky
feeds and follow links and
Embed this Build your own wall 201
subscribe to more feeds.
Shelly teaches English to children, teen, and adult
You can read more of Shelly's work on her blog Teacher Reboot Camp.
The Networked Teacher - Alec Couros
Sitting Next to the Smart Kids- Amanda
When people always ask me why I use Twitter or have a PLN my first response is
because it is like sitting next to the smart kids in class. m
talking about, there is always that group of smarties and sitting next to them
up I was the head cheerleader with
ADHD so people sat next to me for a whole different reason to socialize. But
by the end of high school I figured out if I was going to go to the private college
of my choice I
the smart kids, the ones that were not as cool, but I liked them, they taught me
only the smart kids.
my favorite year.
I still have that mindset, hang out with people you not only can have fun with
thing I am taking away with me from #ISTE10 is how important collaboration
really is. Last post was about creativity, but I think collaboration backs up the
quest to creatively produce something.
the teacher as well a push for doing more than just the bare minimum.
one session I
was bored to death so opened up the backchannel to a session I wished I had
chosen, I was learning from my PLN when not even
the backchannel was during the PLN session when people from all over the
country were participating in the conversation about their PLN.
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We talk so much about how important our PLN is to us. We use backchannels,
blogs, and twitter to share our ideas, but stop short from giving our students
are learning as they learn
t that what
takes on a whole new level when it is done with others.
Collaboration needs to be more than just group work even though working in
they share ideas
and thoughts at any time.
My biggest challenge I think will be setting up rules and procedures for this.
in any event in
MS kids can just be mean
I plan on using this different type of collaboration much more next
students need the opportunity to sit next to the smart kids or even better BE
THE SMART KID!
Amanda is a sixth grade teacher who is passionate about
Upside Down Education.
Next month: Best Practices
The start of the school year can be crazy for teachers, so we would like
everyone to share how they manage the start of school. These could be posts
about classroom organization and management or fun lessons that get the
students ready for the rest of the year. If you have a post you would like to see
published in the October issue of Project PLN, you can do so in a few ways.
You can tweet out your post using the hashtag #ProjectPLN, you can email it to
us directly at ProjectPLN10@gmail.com or you can post a link on our
Facebook page. The deadline for the October issue is Saturday October 2.
For those of you who like to plan ahead, the November issue is going to focus
on the Administration side of education. If you are an Administrator, we would
love to feature your posts. We will have more details in October. We look
forward to reading all about your best practices.
Would you like to comment?
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