Saturday, July 16, 2016

Building a Personal Learning Network

"I didn't know I was unconnected, until I got connected" 

-Pernille Ripp (Whitaker,T., Zoul, J., & Casas, J., 2015, p. 41)

       Twitter is a genius!  It is not hard to join the world of the professional learning community.  At first, I was apprehensive about starting an educator blog and next, a Twitter account.  I like my low profile status.  Besides, I wouldn't know how to engage other adults.  My thoughts are better kept to myself or only shared with those who really want to hear what I have to say.
      However as the weeks progress and as I follow more educators on Twitter, I truly appreciate this new learning experience.  Each professional has his or her own style of tweeting and using hyperlinks, media, and hashtags.  I discovered that I am engaged with practical teaching, and not only do I follow these educators or organizations on Twitter, but I also read their blogs as much as I can.  I enjoy learning from their experiences and borrowing instructional ideas from Erin Klein (kleinspiration), Alice Keeler, Vicki Davis, Pernille Ripp, and so many more.  
     The more I follow the professional learning community, the easier my blogging is developing. The ideas are flowing (sometimes too fast).  I'm addicted to participating in webinars or chat rooms about reimagining education in the 21st century.
       The only effective advice I have for people who are thinking about starting a PLN or has not thought about it is to first join Twitter and follow educators by search for hashtags that relate to their interests. This active engagement will lead you down a path of writing with a purpose and linking your thoughts to those who have already started the vision and need more collaborators, which will entice you to start your own blog(s).
      Michael Hyatt, the author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, said it best for getting 'connected' when he stated, "...the key is to start. Once you take the first step everything else will take care of itself."  The hardest part is getting started and facing all of the fears of the unknown.  But I have learned that I am not alone, and I am getting better with each day through my participation as a 'connected educator.'

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