PLN – Baby Steps Are The Way To Go

Establish your own PLN, and my heart skipped a beat and I didn’t know where to begin. Fast forward a year, and I I have one! My PLN is still in the baby-step phase but I have made progress, however I still have a long way still to go. My theory is, baby steps are better than no steps at all.

For me my PLN has offered me resources in my field that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Connecting me to educators halfway around the world so it seems like they are next door. It has given me names of people who are like minded and it has enabled me to follow them and learn from them, which for me has been my biggest takeaway. Yes, all of these are the benefits of having a PLN. The flip side to this is actually finding time to carve out from my day or week to ‘just read,’ to further develop and build this network. I find I refer to my PLN when I am looking for a particular resource or idea, versus just reading for the fun of either broadening my educational or personal interests. So because of this, I am truly only at the beginning phase of having an established PLN. Like anything, given time, wonderful things can happen!

I am part of two main networks. Firstly, Tweeting. I have tweeted a number of times on our monthly NESA Chat using tweetdeck. (Link to an article about the benefits of using tweetdeck) For me I like the idea of immediate feedback and hearing overseas colleagues perspective on a given topic. Some chats have challenged my thinking as to why certain things are done the way they are, or have made me rethink my perspective based on new information I heard or was directed to, to further my knowledge in that area. These chats also inspired me to write a tweet or two after I had read a good article, or found a resource which I thought others might like, as I realized how valuable other educator’s tips / resources / suggestions, had been to me. So I have just begun the process of giving back as I realize there is an audience out there that may find what I think or share, of interest to them.

Pinterest is my second network that I use all the time. Though the question arises as to whether this can be classified as part of my PLN? Edutopia defines a PLN as ‘ …a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources.’ However, in an article in US Today, the Pinterest CEO states it is not a social media. Therefore my question is, does Pinterest need to have all the features defined by Edutopia to be a PLN, or can it just have some characteristics? After further searching, my decision is to agree with wikipedia, right or wrong, and state Pinterest is part of my PLN as it provides a personalized media platform to share visual resources / articles. This is where I pin my most valuable resources , I have followers, and I follow others. There is a wealth of information being shared here, and I have even begin to create and post what I have created, so another big baby step for me! Sharing my work!!

So for me, my PLN is taking off. Like anything new, baby steps to begin, but overtime I hope these steps will develop into strong footprints.

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