My Professional Learning Network

I’m currently taking one of many classes en route to earning my Educational Technology Endorsement!  Today’s assignment is to write a blog post about Professional Learning Networks and how my own network is coming along.
What is a Professional Learning Network you say?  Well, here is a definition I like:

A professional learning network is a vibrant, ever-changing group of connections to which teachers go to both share and learn. These groups reflect our values, passions, and areas of expertise.  1

 

I haven’t deliberately created a PLN before this class – in fact I hadn’t heard of one. But, as I’ve learned more about them, I’ve realized I do already have a few different networks in place. One network is primarily the awesome group of computer teachers in Alpine School District.  We get together for collaboration meetings a few times each year and we have a fabulous chat group through gmail where we share and solve problems and successes throughout our days.

I coach a school Lego League team and my learning network for this includes websites of local and national Lego League resources.  There are also a couple of FLL pages I follow on Facebook.  As I’ve gone to different meetings I’ve connected with other coaches who have given me great advice and answered my questions.  I’ve emailed these people and contacted them by phone to establish relationships.  Because of this I’ve been invited and able to attend FLL robotics clubs taught by excellent coaches and classes taught by students and coaches of world-class teams.  I have their contact information (somewhere!) but a better PLN idea would be to follow them on twitter or even Facebook.

As the computer specialty teacher, I work with the teachers in the school and they are also part of my PLN.  I recently got back onto Twitter and there I’ve been searching professionals I wanted to add to my PLN.  I’ve added past teachers at UCET and authors whose books I want to read or whose philosophies about education I agree with.  It’s important that I pull people into my PLN who I don’t necessarily agree with on everything because I want to broaden my thinking and understanding.

Many people get confused about the difference between a PLN and a Professional Learning Community (PLC).

I found a definition that helped me understand the differences a little more.  PLC –

Professional learning community (PLC)

An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators. 2

In some areas we have a great PLC at our school.  As the specialty teacher – it is something I am not as involved in,  but recently I met with the 3rd grade team and we formed a PLC in order to achieve better results for our students in keyboarding.  They teachers and I came up with some ways to help each other and reinforce muscle memory and efficiency through implementing more practice time.

I’m realizing the teachers are very willing to create a PLC if I organize it and when they realize the benefits for their students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/12/31/3-steps-for-building-a-professional-learning.html

2 http://www.allthingsplc.info/about

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