While I spent some time home with pneumonia (yes, that was the exciting experience of my vacation) I had the opportunity of listening to a few webinars about twitter, PLN and social media. I must say, I took some time to think about my PLN and how much I have learned from my colleagues, many of whom I have never met.
I am a school librarian, but I am also a teacher. I spend a little time each day on twitter, pinterest and facebook. Sometimes, I am chatting with friends, sometimes I do discussions, sometimes I just stalk people and keep an eye on what they talk about. Regardless of my motives, I am happy to say I am always learning something.
My webinar talked a bit about PLN not just being on twitter, and with so many new forms of social media, the PLN is a different concept than it was even 3 years ago. My PLN is on Pinterest and twitter mostly, but, I have spent some time scanning scoop.it and some RSS feeds I get daily. It doesn't take a lot of my time but the things I learn from people are unreal. I have no one at my school who teaches the same content I do so using a PLN is logic, at best.
Why do I have a PLN? Several reasons. For starters, I am the only French teacher at my school and in the northeast corner of Indiana, only two schools still offer French. Who can I learn from? I need to collaborate with people who teach French and are having good experiences with it. Secondly, I am the only certified librarian in my school. I often have questions, need suggestions or have personal ideas to share. I find posting something on twitter gets me instant results and often more outside of the box ideas. Why not work with other people?
I have decided that my PLN is like a free professional development. Post a topic, get instant results. I have close to 7000 tweets on twitter. Many of them are retweets of people who I follow. Sometimes they post something smart and useful. I find myself going back often.
If you have not started developing a PLN, you should. You will find people all over who know stuff you need help with.