I kid my friends in the field of education that PLN aren’t just my initials (Paula L. Naugle) anymore. But I have been struggling with the idea of whether my PLN is my personal learning network or my professional learning network. Even though it is true that my PLN helps me grow professionally I feel very personally connected to these people.
I began growing my PLN after visiting Sue Waters’ wiki on the topic. I started a blog, joined several Nings, started one for fourth grade teachers in my school system, and set up my Google reader to receive RSS feeds from other educators’ blogs. Then I joined FaceBook and Twitter. I connected with friends from high school and college on FB, but wasn’t sure Twitter was for me. Did I really want updates on the mundane events in other people’s lives?
Luckily I did some more research and found Tomaz Lasic’s Twitter Handbook for Teachers. I revisited Twitter determined this microblogging platform was truly going to help me grow my PLN. At first I just “listened” to the stream of tweets going by, then I found people to follow, and finally I got brave enough to post some tweets. Boy did my first impression of Twitter change! In a few short months I had over 200 followers, was following about 200 educators, and had tweeted about 500 updates.
I now begin every morning by making my coffee and logging into my Twitter account. My PLN points me to articles and blog posts I should read, videos I should view, websites I should check out, and webinars that are being offered for free professional development. We laugh together, cry together, and cheer each other successes. That makes it very personal to me.