This was a truly exciting week for me. My assignment for this week was to follow 100 people for my PLN. PLN stands for Personal Learning Network, a network of people you have found that share information you want to learn about. For me personally this would include educators and administrators from all points of education, from preschool up to high school. I think that one challenge throughout my professional career will be to keep up with the people I follow on Twitter, meaning to keep seeing if what they are posting is informative for me, helping me in some way, or new information that will help me grow. I think that contributing to your PLN is just as important as asking questions or researching for answers. Sharing your knowledge and experience will go a long way for others as well as establishing yourself as a trusted resource for others in your field to use. A good way to do that is to engage on Twitter, they have a lot of #’s to spark discussions and use different chats to communicate with people and for people to get the chance to see what others opinions are. Very cool to see these chats play out and watch the ideas become more fine-tuned.
Originally, I thought this would be a drag and take forever with little to no payout. So, I started researching and found that finding people was much easier than I had thought. Tom Whitby wrote several great articles about improving PLNs and had several resources for me to use right on his blog. I obviously followed him and from his article, “To Follow, or Not to Follow-That is the Question.” I found what he calls “My Twitter Stalwart List.” Oh my goodness, this list is chalk full of elementary educators, principles, superintendents, and founders of organizations focused on children learning and helping them get resources to learn. I was in heaven. I went through the users of that list and went crazy adding them, not expecting them to respond or want much to do much with a twitter account of an aspiring teacher.
I was so wrong, I didn’t look at my Twitter again until Wednesday and I had quite a few mentions from Twitter. I had people that I had added mention me in tweets and share one of my blog posts. I was seriously so excited. My post has now been shared on Twitter by the very professionals that I aspire to become after college, this assignment really opened my eyes about how excited current teachers are about new students coming up and sharing what they know with them and making the education area more effective and beneficial for everyone involved.