One thing I've seen over and over is the idea of a PLN. To be honest, I had to Google it, because I had no idea what it meant. (That reminds me of the time when I saw that Karaoke was playing at all the bars in town. I couldn't believe they were so good that they had gigs every night all over the place... till I learned what karaoke really was. Oops!) So, a personal learning network. Sounds great. What is it? Seriously, I'm trying to figure it out.
OK. I can figure out some of the biggies.
- It's an interconnection of learners who help each other grow.
- It can be online, using social media, but there's nothing wrong with learning from people you can actually see on a regular basis.
I can think of numerous people I learn from.
- In my school, I have a tech integration team I work with; we try to exchange information back and forth and learn together.
- There are certain people that I know I can pose a question to and I will hear back from them.
- Jon is a former colleague who has been instrumental in my shift from teacher who likes technology to technology integration specialist.
- Matt is a former student who knows all sorts of hardware, software, networking, and a host of other stuff. He's not a teacher, but he works in the IT department at a hospital and loves to help.
- Josh is a former student who is a social media specialist and is always willing to answer social media questions.
- Carrie is a Kindergarten teacher who constantly wows me with what she accomplishes with her kids. I've asked her numerous questions about practices with the wee ones.
- Leah is a 5th grade science teacher who uses iPads in her class. While I've just recently connected with her, she has proven to be a great source of information.
- I have found lately that when I pose a question on Twitter, Michael is pretty quick to answer.
- Then, there are the biggies that we all probably know about. When I see Vicki, John, Nick, or Eric pop up on Twitter or Google Reader, I'll try to read their stuff and see what I can glean.
Is this my PLN? Is it completely informal? I mean... What if I'm learning from you, but you don't learn from me (or even realize I exist)? Shouldn't there be a special handshake?
I don't know how many times I've edited this post, because I don't want to sound like an insecure middle school kid who hopes he can find some friends. While my life dream is to be Norm from Cheers and have everyone yell, "Craig!" when I walk into a room, this isn't the goal of this post. Really, I'm hoping to figure out exactly what it means to talk about a PLN and I'd love to know that my posts, tweets, ramblings are helping someone else be a better teacher.
So, I'm all ears. Comment below. Tweet me. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tell me what you think. Oh... and if it's not obvious by now, I'm looking for a PLN. Will you be my friend? :)