Howard Rheingold’s article on personal learning networks does a great job at explaining things to keep in mind when building your PLN. If you want the lowdown on what exactly a PLN is, check out my previous post.
One tip that Rheingold shares is to be open to the information you find. Sometimes, you find what you are looking for when you least expect it! Or perhaps you found something you didn’t expect to find. I think that keeping an open mind is great advice.
Throughout the article, the author shares other tibits such as how to make effective searches, and proper etiquette for professional internet communication. One of the biggest takeaways I learned is that PLNs are supposed to evolve. You are in the drivers seat of your learning, and it’s okay to be picky about what you put in front of you. Make sure that the people you follow are right for your PLN!
Personal learning networks are wonderful tools. I think they are a positive way to utilize technology, and a way for teachers to stay up to date. I was ready to fully jump onto the PLN train…until I came across a tip Rheingold shared. “Engage the people you follow.”
Okay, wait a minute here…
I’m cool with expanding my knowledge, but now you’re telling me to have an effective PLN, I have to TALK TO PEOPLE?
If you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit of an introvert. Not just in real life, but behind a keyboard as well. I post the occasional update to social media when my cat does something funny, or to let family know I’m alive. Other than that, I’m your textbook internet lurker. I’m happy with reading about what others have to say. The thought of interacting with these educational professionals that are way more established and smarter than I could ever hope to be seems daunting. What if I say something to embarrass myself? What if I say something that gets take a totally different way than I intended?
I’m not saying that interaction in a PLN is wrong. It makes perfect sense in fact! I’m just begrudgingly accepting that I will have to move past my anxious hesitations and learn how to communicate my thoughts and ideas. I guess it’s time for me to put on my big girl pants and start adulting. If I want to be an effective teacher, it’s a skill I’m going to have to master.