Oh The Adventures You Will Have If Only…


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Leadership Day 2009 sponsored by Scott McLeodDid you know that educational technologies will soon be the norm? Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and internet technologies means several educators are connecting to thousands at a time. Consider the crumbling economy and the amount of teachers being laid off. More than ever teachers need to be connected in order to make a difference in their fields and be relevant in their fields. As states continue to pass legislation, which increase the use of educational technologies in the classroom, teachers will have to prove they know how to use these technologies to help their students problem solve, evaluate, analyze, debate, critically think, and so forth. However, several educators feel intimidated by the various technologies. Don’t worry your Personal Learning Network (PLN) is here. Your PLN consists of the people you choose to provide you with knowledge and advice in becoming the best educator that you can be. You may be surprised to learn that you can establish relationships with these people and will begin to wonder how you ever survived without them!

ShellTerrell, Marisa_C, BurcuAkyol lounging around in SecondLife

Building Your PLN

Here are my top 5 ideas for connecting with other educators. These suggestions are ranked in the order I believe to be easiest to learn and do. However, I recommend trying all these platforms:

  1. Ning– These are social communities on the web that have members with similar interests. Joining a Ning is very easy and just requires that you fill in a simple registration form. I suggest you start with joining Classroom Web 2.0. You will have the option of attending several free webinars (online seminars) and participating in discussions with other educators.
  2. LinkedIn– Creating a LinkedIn profile requires a lot more time than joining a Ning. However, the time is worth it, because this is the way several educators connect. LinkedIn has become so vital to careers that several use their LinkedIn profiles as their resume, portfolio, and electronic business card. Thomas Whitby has created several teacher groups worth joining, because many of the educators are active in the discussions. For more information, please visit Thomas Whitby’s LinkedIn profile by clicking here or you may contact him on his Twitter profile. This blog post by Karenne Sylvester will also provide you with a LinkedIn tutorial and tips on creating a LinkedIn account.
  3. Webinars– These are online seminars which usually require you to only sign-up and join the online platform. You get to meet several educational professionals who will share with you PowerPoints and hold voice and video chats with you. For more information, please check out my previous posts on webinars by clicking here!
  4. Twitter– One of the best ways to quickly connect with other educators and gain so much knowledge. However, there is an art to building your PLN on Twitter. I suggest the following links for further information.
    • Start by getting a free Twitter mentor. You will quickly meet a person knowledgeable on Twitter and be able to add some of their recommendations. Moreover, this person will let others educators know to welcome you to Twitter.
    • Review my Youtube Channel with several Twitter tutorials.
    • Add me to your Twitter list. My Twitter account is @shellterrell. I would be happy to help! Just leave me a message introducing yourself.
    • If you want to know how I currently use Twitter in the classroom, then visit my previous Twitter posts by clicking here.
  5. SecondLife– By far this is the most complicated way to connect with other educators. However, the interaction, training, relationships, and adventures offered by SecondLife make this technology a must in developing your PLN.  SecondLife is an experience! You really get to know the educators in your PLN as you share several learning adventures with them! I suggest you start by joining the Second Life is Life ning. You will meet several SecondLife mentors who may provide you with free gifts. Moreover, you will be provided with a safe residence. You will also be able to attend our exciting and extremely informative teacher newby field trips and gain some friends who are learning the technology as well.

Thank you Scott McLeod for sponsoring Leadership Day 2009 and allowing bloggers like myself to participate in this event. Scott, you are a champion for the educational technology movement and your Shift Happens videos are inspirational and continue to revolutionize the education system!

Your boot camp challenge for this week:

Try one of the five suggestions for a week. Through a blog or diary keep track of how the experience has positively and negatively impacted you.

Do you want to share your experience of using one of these five technologies? Even if you found the experience unpleasant, please contact me to host your blog or for an interview!


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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

19 comments

  1. You have some very good suggestions for educators interested in technology and networking but aren’t sure how to go about the whole process. I recently signed up on Twitter, and within one month I was on all but one of the sites you mentioned and had started my own blog. This definitely is the future of education!

    • Gayla Thompson,
      Thank you for sharing! I had a similar experience. Once I became active on Twitter, then I soon began to participate in the other forums. It’s good to know that these social media tools have worked for you, too.

  2. Thank you Shelly, these are great ways to build up your PLN. However, I haven’t tried second life yet and I am not too convinced about its usefulness. Maybe I should try it first 😉

    • Alice,
      We would love to have you at a newby event. The first one went so well. The students really have an opportunity to explore and interact on SecondLife. Recently, I visited the Macbeth house and it was amazing. You could click on all these tools that drew you into the scenes and mind of Macbeth. However, it takes some time and is better to explore with other teachers who can give you helpful hints and keep you away from the silly people on there! However, I’ve noticed most social media tools have some odd people.

      • @shellterrell, I need to give SL another chance as well. If only I could be attached to someone while I tried to navigate. I created a “person” and then kind of bumped around a bit. My daughter jumped in to rescue me eventually and she had never been in the place. I would be interested in a newbie event should one be scheduled. I would particularly like an educator event so I can travel to those sites. Not really interested in simply socializing.

  3. Thanks for this post, Shelly!

    I’m a big fan of Ning and I’ve got a Linkedin profile, but I’ve really been procrastinating on looking into Twitter. Looking at your What Did They Tweet post, too, makes me feel that I might really be missing something. Maybe it’s finally time for me to check it out…

    • David,

      It is really great to hear you may join Twitter because of this! The educators I tweet with are definitely interested in your blog. When I tweeted your post on Worldmapper it was retweeted quite often. Twitter just has the ability to get great information like the kind you provide to those who will apply it in the classroom!

  4. […] I also learned from David about using Twitter for professional purposes. I made contact with (followed) a few educators on Twitter and began networking. I joined “the conversation.” I learned about the importance of establishing a Professional Learning Network (PLN) and began identifying those whose tweets were most valuable to me. These are people who provide great insight, readily help other people, and who pass on great resources. One of my most valuable Tweeps (Twitter people) is Shelly Terrell, @ShellTerrell. She has helped me by helping me transition to Twitter and Second Life, introducing me to others on Twitter and SL, sharing resources, and engaging me and others in educational conversations. If you wish to learn more about Twitter and PLNs, please visit Shelly’s blog, Teacher Reboot Camp. […]

  5. […] Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a technology teacher trainer, English language teacher, and consultant for various language institutes, online schools, and educational institutes in Nepal, the US, Germany, and Italy. Explore her Teacher Reboot Camp blog for tips on professional development and integrating technology effectively into the classroom. She can be reached via Twitter: @shellterrell. Check out her articles on building a PLN with Twitter and a further explanation of social networks. […]

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