Building a PLN One Tweet at a Time

Greetings, Blogosphere!

Do you Twitter?

I keep seeing a lot of tweets from educators new to Twitter that say something like, “I don’t get it.”

I’ve been twittering for a while and consider it the most important feature of my professional learning network (PLN). Twitter is the primary tool that I use to stay on top of things in the world of educational technology and media. It is where my PLN grows. I thought it might help if I included a few tips for those of you who are brand new to Twittering.

1. Some people use Twitter as a journal. I am frequently guilty of this. Although I want to use Twitter as a way to look back when I am older, this isn’t really how it is best used in education.

2. Some people use Twitter to share what they have learned or found. This is where Twitter becomes an amazing part of your own professional development.

You have to follow those #2 kinds people to get good info. Here are some users you should follow:
Steve Dembo
Principal’s Page
Lucy Gray
Vicki Davis
Lori Sheldon
Kathy Schrock
Education Week
Dan Callahan
Dianne Krause

These folks often times post links to blogs or just random cool tools.

The best thing about Twitter is that you don’t have to read everything. It’s not like email. Browse through and keep going if you’re too busy.

Do you have a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?  Has anybody else found anyone cool to follow? I’ve been looking for folks who Twitter about assessment. If you find any, please share!

Your Friendly Assessment Nerd,



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  1. Porter Palmer said:

    Hi Alfred,
    I think the folks who fall into category #2 can be described as sharers. They frequently inform others of new technologies, policies, and things that are happening in education. A really good resource for finding PLN members is

    PS. I follow you! (@ppalmer21)

  2. Peter said:

    Rule for me … look through two pages of tweets… if all I see is “having coffee” or “watching golf”-type posts then I don’t “follow.” Just too much bandwidth consumption that gets in the way of potentially useful posts. Several of those identified above fall into this category.

  3. Porter Palmer said:

    Hi Peter,
    Do you have some folks you’d like to recommend? I have learned quite a bit from those listed above, but know there are many more resources out there. I am personally guilty of learning from my PLN, but not contributing often enough. I started using Twitter as a journal, then stumbled upon this added benefit. I am still trying to find a balance between journaling and contributing to others’ PLN.

  4. Anita said:

    Just to let you know, I think you maintain the perfect balance between being entertaining and informative!

  5. Porter Palmer said:

    Thanks, Anita! I do struggle with it, though. I started Twittering as a journal and really want it to be that. But I also want to be an active part of my PLN. So thanks for letting me know the balance is OK 🙂

  6. Alison Snyder said:

    I think my problem with Twitter is that I also follow alot of people who have wonderful ideas but feel like I don’t share enough ideas myself. I feel like most of the people I follow most likely have already either posted or visited sites I am just now learning about since many of them are technology specialists and not just regular education teachers. I am always worried that my posts will contain “old hat” information in which they would think “been there, done that”.

    Some people who I follow who do who have some really good info are: (I am listing their Twitter names.)


  7. Porter Palmer said:

    Alison, I struggle with that myself! I started Tweeting as a personal journal, then discovered its power as a professional development. I learn a lot from Twitter, but am not so great at contributing as myself, but I do when I Tweet as @den. That helps me feel better. I think it is OK to follow and learn without feeling guilty about your contributions. ReTweeting (RT) is sometimes as helpful as anything! Maybe start there 🙂

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