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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Evolution of My PLN - Initial Post

This PLN idea is fantastic. I never would have imagined that this is the kind of thing we would be encountering in this class. Teaching is looking more and more to be an art. With that, I feel, come endless ideas. What would be a greater way to test out your new ideas than networking? I also think about those times that I won’t be able to come up with my own solution. To be able to reach outside of our region, without the constraints of our school system, will be so valuable in learning new techniques. Grant writing comes to mind when being able to site supporting information for that grant from other teachers that already have proven the cause to be worthwhile.

My PLN started the first week of EDM310. A couple of rules of thumb that I quickly adopted were to respond to every post and post regularly. Who would want to post to my blog if I’m not actively posting?

As the weeks have progressed, I’ve pretty much done what Dr. Strange has recommended and then the PLN seems to have taken off. I’ve looked at a lot of blogs and websites, and have commented on a couple. When someone has responded with advice, I’ve gone to where they said to go and explored. Dorothy Burt from Pt. England left a lovely message on my blog with some good information about how she and her classes make podcasts. This launched me into learning a little more about the amazing podcasts submitted to iTunes by a variety of schools.

Mr. Chamberlain has offered a lot of time to our class in posting advice, and I have taken advantage of that. He strongly recommends Twitter. I posted my apprehensions about joining Twitter on my blog, and then Dr. Strange chimed in with some guidance, which was shared with the class last week, on managing Twitter. So I decided to try it. To further add to my PLN, I looked at the people and sites that Mr. C. and Dr. Strange follow and chose to follow the ones that appealed to me professionally. I have not spent a lot of time on it, but occasionally when I do get on Twitter, some good stuff crosses my list.

The podcast project has been where I have seen the biggest benefit of the PLN. Tyler and I chose to research “Can podcasts be useful in the classes I teach?” We had decided to interview a local teacher to see how he uses podcasts. Then I took a look at some websites that I had bookmarked through blog assignments that would help. I always like to have more than one set of data (that’s just the analytical in me) to see the trends, so I decided to email Mr. Chamberlain with similar questions we had for our interviewee, Mr. Fletcher. In that email, I also took the opportunity to ask for any leads Mr. C. may have for other teachers that he knew of that used podcasts in their math classrooms. And so he gave me the link to a friend of his Eric Langhorst. I emailed him requesting his interview and any contacts he may have for a math teacher that creates and uses podcasts. We received a great podcast with excellent information and a link for a math teacher that creates and uses podcasts. It was great to see how our research for the project unfolded and through mine and others’ PLNs, we received great information. This was a great learning experience.

I have truly enjoyed the exposure to the available (free) technology information as well as the perspectives by other teachers. This is where I use Delicious. I really was happy just using that bookmark program that comes with Explorer or Firefox. I went to Delicious because we were supposed to :) and have enjoyed it. I especially like sharing bookmarks. And so I saved all of Dr. Strange’s professionally pertinent bookmarks to my Delicious.

I have really enjoyed many student blogs. Jamie Lynn’s is one that comes to mind. The posts are always thought provoking for me. I haven’t been to everyone’s, and expect to hit those as the class progresses. It’s nice to hear the comments of my peers, as we all are in the same boat. Our eyes are wide open and our hearts and minds are getting ready to step foot in the classroom. It would be neat if Dr. Strange had an EDM310 alumni blog. Just a thought!

I’ve said in here a few times that I just did what I was supposed to. And that is my start. There are things that I know I will not use or use differently to fit my style or learning, networking and organization as time goes on. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. It goes the same for venturing into unchartered waters, which is where I’ll continue to go as well.

I like the start of my PLN and am looking forward to seeing how it evolves. I will quote Eric Langhorst from our podcast interview. He says, “If you find something that works, share it with other teachers…We are all on our own with professional development. Schools don’t have tons of money to pour into professional development…” The PLN sounds like a great start.


  1. Twitter is a great tool, but it does take time to create relationships with people on it. (I'm not sure my wife appreciates all the time I spend ;) I do suspect that you can really see how you can leverage friends (I hope you consider me a friend!) to help when you need something. A PLN can be very useful for that.

    I really enjoyed your podcast post, but decided to leave a comment here instead. I am truly impressed by your posts and your reflections. You are one of a small handful of students whose posts makes me think.

  2. Mr. C,

    Thanks a million. Please let me know if there's ever anything I could possibly help you with.
    I appreciate the time you've spent to help me and my class. You've been a real mentor.

    I can see where Twitter is going to be neat. I am not in the groove on that application, but have become very comfortable with blogs. Love them!! Twitter is next. i was just fooling around with it last night to try to send a post to you, but had troubles. I'll figure it out soon after midterms are over and I have more time to play.

  3. Well, just fantastic!

    And I will start an alumni blog. What a great idea. Invites will go out next week.

  4. I love this post on your PLN! I completely agree with you when you say that teaching is starting to look more like an art! I love this "detective" work that we are doing to prepare us for our futures as educators! Have a great week.

  5. Can't wait to sign up for the alumni blog!

  6. Your PLN is really informational and mind boggling to me! Of course, I am still confused about PLN and I do not think that I will ever be able to understand it. Great job on your post!!