...establishing a PLN
By participating in this online professional development course, you can begin to create your own personal learning network (PLN); developing a community of individuals with whom you share common educational interests and needs. Educators are no longer working behind closed doors! There are thousands of teachers who have developed blogs and wikis to share the powerful practices that are occurring in their classrooms.
One way you have started communicating with others in the online environment is by publishing your blog. Blogs are good places to find educators with similar thoughts and ideas. Your blog should be set up to allow anyone in the world to view your journey through the tools. As part of the interactive digital world, your blog should expand your sphere of influence outside of your campus and friends. Just as you can search the web or "Google" an educational topic and possibly find a fellow blogger, now others should be able to search and find your blog (as long as you use tags). Then, let the conversation begin!
Our students have already embraced the online world and are actively participating and developing their own PLNs. Will Richardson of Weblogged-ed briefly explains the importance of PLNs for students.
Commenting - Beginning the conversation
The posts you write are the first step in the building of your PLN. The second, and equally important step, is for you "leave your footprint" by commenting about ideas presented on other learners' blogs. Comments turn a journal reflection into a conversation.
How Do I Comment?
Here is a list of things to consider when getting ready to comment on the post of another blogger.
Long-time and highly-regarded teacher-blogger, Vicki Davis, aka Cool Cat Teacher, shares her thoughts about how to comment in this post.
How do I subscribe?
Hopefully you will find some of the blogs you visit something you would like to follow or join!
You have probably seen the little orange RSS feed icon on many online resources, particularly blogs. RSS or Really Simple Syndication is the means by which you can connect to online resources that consistently update their information, i.e. blogs, newspapers, news services, etc. (If you want to learn more about RSS feeds you can start here.) Blogger makes it really easy to subscribe by offering
Subscribing to comments
Following a Blogger blog
Below are some educational blogs and educational/social networks! Spend a few minutes on a few of these - OR "Google" your own content area! Post links to new blogs you find on your blog!
Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero
Technology in the Middle
Learning and Laptops
Technology Integration In Education
Mrs. Cassidy's Classroom Blog
Learning is Messy Blog
Children's Books for ELL Instruction
Kerry Gendron's Blog (Music teacher)
dy/dan (HS Math teacher)
Science Education on the Edge
Science for All
The History Teacher's Attic
Social Bookmarking - Another tool for your PLN
You probably have been bookmarking web sites since shortly after having your first computer put in your hands. With the educational networking that has come about on the web and the need to share information 24/7, bookmarking web sites one computer at a time is no longer efficient and effective. How many computers do you use the same set of bookmarks? How many different groups are going to access all the information you have found? Social bookmarking to the rescue!
You can build a list of bookmarks, organize them into groups, and update your bookmarks with online services such as Diigo and delicious. You can then access your bookmarks no matter what computer you're on and share them with specific groups of people! Now, working collectively, users can find, tag and share bookmarks with one another - think about all of the great resources that can be compiled! For teachers, Diigo allows you to create student accounts for free so that after a little set-up you and your students can be researching at a whole new level - bookmarking, tagging, and annotating websites together. We don't have time to delve very deeply into Diigo or delicious right now, but we encourage you to consider creating an account to bookmark the tools in this course! Interested in learning more about these powerful tools? Log into Atomic Learning where you can find tutorials for both Diigo and delicious! Additionally, here's the Student Learning with Diigo website full of information, tutorials, and lesson plans!
Using a Reader - Collecting your resources into one location
The Common Craft guy Lee LeFever explains what a reader is. You will want to create one of these for the 11 Tools blogs you are following and any other online resources that update regularly.
Your Google Reader will make keeping up with new information from a variety of webpages really super simple! You will simply subscribe to your choices by adding the url (address) of the site to your reader. Take a short tour of Google Reader.
This video will show you how easy it is to set up your Reader and add blogs and other resources.
For your Tool #2 Post in YOUR blog:
- Visit at least 5 blogs - choose a few from the list below and a few from your campus wiki (on the right sidebar) and comment to one of the posts. To comment on a blog post, typically search at the bottom of the post for the comments link. Then, you will type your comment using your Google Apps account identity. Or, Visit 3 blogs and expand your PLN differently by signing up for a Diigo account or Google Reader and following the bookmarks/websites of 2 other Diigo members or websites.
- After completing the above, share you thoughts about building and participating in an online community and participating in a PLN. What points stood out to you from the commenting advice? Were you able to apply any of the advice in your comments? How did you feel about sharing your thoughts publicly? Was it different than when you're sharing your successes/challenges with your teammate?
- Share the url or name of a blog or social network that you plan to visit in the future. What does that site have to offer?