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PLN: Looking Forward and Back

The PLN Challenge continues!  The Teacher Challenge blog asked us to answer two questions:

1. What do you hope to learn more about with respect to your PLN in the coming weeks?

In every form of professional development – in-service provided by the county, conferences, PLNs – I have a habit of getting very excited about all the new ideas to try, and then filing the ideas away for later.  Later rarely comes, of course.  I’m looking forward to finding out how other people manage all of the exciting news that comes their way with their PLNs.  There are great blog posts, lesson plans, and communities out there.  How do people organize the immense amount of information they encounter every day?  How can I do likewise, and then put these ideas into practice rather than letting them lie fallow?

2. What have you learned with creating your PLN that you wish that someone had told you before and what tips do you have to share?

Relax. This is the big tip I have for past-me and for everyone else building a PLN.  Information moves quickly.  The point of a PLN is not to be that dreaded “one more thing” teachers are always talking about having put on their plate.  It’s to energize and excite.  To improve.  But it’s your thing, which means you get to figure out how best to use your time.  I’m the kind of person who reads a magazine cover-to-cover, starts novel series with the first book, and will read six years’ worth of blog archives all at one blog.  A completist, if you will.

That’s not how PLNs work.  If I were to spend all of my time catching up on my Twitter stream, I’d get nothing else done.  So I need to relax.  You might, too.  The PLN is there when we need it.  It’s a resource, not an obligation.  Sometimes we’ll be able to help others in our PLN and sometimes we’ll need their help.  We can jump in or out as time allows.

What about you?  What do you want to learn about PLNs?  What advice can you give?

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  1. Hi Kimberly,

    I like how you stated that relaxing is a big plus when building a PLN. There is so much information out there and it’s moving so fast, but you don’t need to move as fast as the information. Move at your pace and take/save the information you are most interested in.
    Something I’d like to do this summer is actually join one of the chats that happen weekly. #edchat happens every Monday evening 7-8pm Central time. I can’t seem to get there during that time yet, but it’s my plan to try!
    Thanks for the thoughtful post!
    Theresa

    • Thanks for coming by, Theresa! I haven’t been able to be on Twitter at the right time for #edchat either, yet, but I do follow it carefully. That’s one of the beautiful things about the PLN – it’s there whenever you need it.

  2. Hi Kimberly! I’m also participating in the PLN Challenge! I think you summed up how I feel very accurately in your response to the first question. I too am impressed and motivated by all the information out there but I find that actually putting all those ideas into practice challenging. Obviously some will fall by the wayside but there are some that I really want to hold on to and actually use some day. Right now, at the end of the year, I have a ton of ideas for next year but how to retain them, put them aside, and get them back for next year?!

    I also really appreciate your point about relaxing. I get easily sucked in and spend too much time on my PLN and I think that actually ends up being detrimental not only for my family but also because the brain can’t possibly process all that information! Perhaps that accounts for some of my issues above! I’ve been playing around with Diigo today and enjoying how easy it is to bookmark information and categorize for easy reference later.

    I’ve had a chance to particpate in #eltchat and I found it really fun and exciting! I hope both you and Theresa manage to do a live #edchat some time!

    Great post! Sarah

    • Thanks for coming by, Sarah! I love what I see on #edchat when there’s not a live chat going on, so I’m sure it’ll be even better when I do catch one.

  3. I agree with Sarah and Theresa, very nice post, especially the part about relaxing and joining in as needed. If I get some good ideas in the time I’m on, I try also to share something too. As far as organization is concerned, I wrote about my strategy here:
    PLN: How do I organize?

    There’s so much learn and apply! Organization of what I want to return to helps. Sheri

  4. Hi Kimberly,

    I like your tips in your post! You are doing a great job building your PLN. What i’ve appreciated most from you is your transparency to be real and contribute in unforced ways. It’s meaningful conversation and that is the most important way to connect with others and build PLN!

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

  5. Sheri, thanks for sharing your organization! This is a topic I think the world needs to hear about more often.

    Thanks for coming by, Tracy! I think being ourselves and contributing as we are able is essential to building a strong PLN.