A PLN is Like…

Personal Metaphor

The writer in me is always searching for the right metaphor to describe meaningful experiences, such as my Personal Learning Network (PLN).

The greatest gift I received this year was my PLN! Daily, I am surrounded by an incredibly intelligent and passionate support group, yet I met them online. How do you convey this experience to another person?

One metaphor I came up with is my PLN is like a family to me. I have not met most of you outside of this blog, Twitter, Skype, nings, Facebook, LinkedIn, Second Life, or Webinars. However, I feel very close to many of you. You share the same passions and goals as I do. You give me advice and offer me support when I have been emotionally and mentally knocked down. You celebrate my wins with me and comfort me in my losses. You continuously inspire me to be a better person and educator.

If I tell someone this who has no concept of a PLN, will they understand?
Will this scare them away?

Visual Metaphor

I came across this Vimeo movie that served as a metaphor of how a support network gets you through tough times. I hope you enjoy watching this and have a wonderful holiday season with your families!

Sister Winter from FloodSanDiego on Vimeo.


How would you convey the concept of a PLN to someone? A PLN is like…

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for free to receive regular updates!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. I agree with you Shelly, a PLN is like an extended family. I think of my PLN as my friends. I feel that I ‘know’ many of them even though I have never met any of them. Most of my PLN are educators and I learn from them every day but I also gain much more. Not only do we share ideas, thoughts, and news, but we share laughter, pain, sadness, and joy. We pick each other up when we are down, we inspire one another, we sympathise with each other, and we enjoy one another.

    • Mrs _Dem,

      Yes! I have experienced the same. I think because we are in constant communication daily so we learn so much more about our lives and our PLN is always around when we need them.

  2. You’re right, Shelly. I also feel close to my PLN, as if I’ve known many of you for a long time.
    I’ve been thinking of a metaphor and I can say that a PLN is like a group of travellers that meet on the road and go towards the same destination and help each other on their way.
    Thanks for sharing and for being always there, behind my monitor.
    Merry Christmas and may your dreams come true!

  3. (Attribute to Graham Stanley – for staff room concept).
    A PLN is like a staff room and a supportive educational authority in one. It is a global community of language educators, just like you, that have come together to support and help each other improve and update their language teaching by using and sharing the resources that are constantly being developed on the Internet.

    You can ask questions, get answers, and when you feel comfortable, even share your ideas and experience.

    A PLN is your personal global friend in education.

  4. over here in texas im deal with a chinese financial firm, and since mrs shelly terrell has been a product of the excellent magnet school, with a higher educated and special curricullum system design in high school for students who are thinking way beyond high school. the ceo of that company wanted to open a magnet school for the chinese student contingent here in texas. however the question came up of what about those in elementary and middle school. my perfect answer was that those students and teachers can be aided by this website. new learning tools and in thier lanquages. an excellent website continued success Shelly love Mr Sanchez: aka :

  5. A PLN is like…?

    This doesn’t quite fit your template, but here in New Zealand there’s a Māori saying…

    He aha te mea nui?
    He tangata.
    He tangata.
    He tangata.

    (What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.)

    That sums up my PLN pretty well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *