Did 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.