How PLNs have helped me...

I am a long term believer in the power of PLNs as a means to learn more quickly, effectively and creatively than I was ever able to before. I can't possible know everything. I could take the time to learn but who has the times these days? So I invest a little time to save me even more. It does take effort. But it is an investment worth making. You get better at it as well the more you do it. Be warned though, try it in a half hearted way and you'll only get a half hearted result.

I love the following services to get me what I need.

  • Google+ (where I saw this request) and it's specific education or topic based communities. I am a particular fan personally of photography and use it often in my class. Google+ has a fantastic photography community and others are getting better all of the time.
  • Twitter was a great favourite for a long time but I have drifted away lately in favour of Google+ but it is still quite relevant with quick responses.

The trick with both of these social networks is it's not initially what you know but who you follow(Twitter)/ circle (Google+). Choose wisely and curate your lists of people. The better the people who share/ send quality posts the more you're going to get out of it. If you have a small number of people you follow then the amount of offerings that come in will be slim. This frustrates most people who first start out as they don't get it.
The second aspect is top share unreservedly what you know and find useful. this is how people find you and you then make new connections. Lastly, help without expectation of thanks when others seek help. You'll find many then wanting to help you i return when you're stuck with something.

A tool I have loved for years is RSS (Real Simple Syndication) . It's a great tool for being able to keep an eye on websites and blogs etc that have great ideas or information you want to keep up to date with. The tools keep changing as computer or mobile OS change and develop. I have multiple systems to tap into a whole range of education, technology, edtech and personal interest topics. A screenshot of a Windows 8 app I use is set up with various RSS feeds from websites or blogs I like to know about. It is a simple matter of finding a great website that is of use and then adding it into your RSS readers of choice.
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Others to consider are Pinterest, Flipboard, Feedly or desktop apps like the free FeedReader can be awesome and save you heaps of time and effort.

Hope this helps.....

Adrian - (Google+)


I actually have found that the online PLN's have been more useful, at least right now, that collaborating during meetings at school. I think this is mostly because of the time factor. There are far too many convoluted and complicated policies and agendas that get in the way of innovation and planning really great lessons for your students. So by turning to resources like Edmodo and Teachability I have been able to have quick and easy access to really great professionals who have a lot of great ideas and who love to share with others.
The policies can wear you down if you can't find a way to be inspired in an increasingly accountable, data-driven, and political environment. Having access to a PLN has helped me as a professional and an educator stay refreshed and come up with new ideas.

Currently I access my PLN through Edmodo, Teachability, and Twitter. My area of expertise is in Instructional technology so I tend to follow the tech people like Matt Gomez and Tony Vincent. I also rely on Podcasts to get new info, I listen to the TED Education podcast, Learning in Hand, and the NPR Education podcast. But I think if I really dug around I could find some really great podcasts on any subject that is taught in school.

Here are some of the resources I use.

Thanks, Richard Seal