A Personal Learning Network is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. A PLN will not only be valuable resource in your career but also in your personal life. As a second year student majoring in secondary education, I am starting to expand my PLN as much as possible. You can see below how much my Personal Learning Network has grown just over the course of a semester.
My Old Personal Learning Network:
My New and Improved Personal Learning Network:
1. Create a Pinterest Board
2. Tweet Chat
To find my second resource all I had to do was log into my already existing Twitter account and #middleschool and tons of items and ideas popped up! I clicked on this one specifically because as a social science major I will probably be dealing with a lot of current events so this link that the account, @2peasandadog, tweeted was very helpful. I even tweeted back at them asking which method was their favorite to get more insight. After, I went and followed the Twitter account that tweeted these ideas and found out this account tweets a variety of helpful techniques for all middle school subjects. They tweeted things such as tips for reading strategies, lesson plans, and even class management. This resource would benefit me greatly if I were to end up being a middle school teacher or even just as a teacher if I even wanted advice.
3. Follow Education Blogs
My third resource is an education blog that I found by just simply typing in “Blogs for teachers” into google. The name of the website is called Education Week and it consist of a bunch of opinion blogs written by or to teachers. The website categorizes the blogs which was a really convenient as the user. This blog website requires a monthly subscription so I just used the get 10 blogs free for registering. The blogs discussed a variety of different ideas and issues in education. Some of my favorites were the one shown in the screenshot above which talks about how to teach students with behavioral issues and another talked about how to help students who have experienced a death in the family. I really liked this blog because it pointed out issues that teachers have to deal with that a lot of young teachers like me don’t really think about! I can benefit from these blogs because they give amazing advice for educators, and I can also benefit as a student because they really prepare me for some of the issues in education.
4. Create a Symbaloo
4. Create a Symbaloo
For my fourth resource I created a Symbalooy account and added the #unietd webmix. I got this idea from the requirements page on elearning for our PLN assignment. I had never heard of this website before, but now I am glad I did. I learned that this website is a visual bookmarking tool that makes it fun and simple to organize the best of the web. I like it because you can personalize it and have my favorite websites at my fingertips. As a teacher, there are a variety of things I can use this for. For example, it will allow me to access important web browsers immediately so I don’t have to waste any time. Also I can share my online resources with my students with the click of a button. I liked this resource so much, I already started to create my own webmix.
5. Like Educational Pages on Facebook
I found my fifth resource by logging into my existing Facebook account and typing into the search engine “teachers.” The reason I did this was because my mom who is a teacher told me she ‘likes’ a lot of neat Facebook accounts for teachers. This specific one that I liked on Facebook is an account called Teacher2Teacher and it posts stories for teachers that ignite the imagination. A cool thing about this resource is that is allows for teachers to collaborate and even share their own personal ideas. So I could definitely use this, if I am ever in need an idea or have some ideas to share when I am a teacher. One more thing that I really liked about this Facebook page was that it shared inspirational quotes and videos about being a teacher.
6. Follow Educational Instagram Accounts
I found my sixth resource by logging into my already existing Instagram account and searching #teacher and several cool accounts showed up! I actually followed a variety of different teacher accounts, but my favorite three are the ones shown above: teachingandsofourth, applesandabcs, and the thepinspiredteacher. Photos range from creative classroom activities and crafts, to humorous memes for teachers to enjoy. Two of the accounts are actual teachers finding and creating materials for teachers, and even relating them to their personal life. They share many of their creations that take place in their classroom, on Instagram. I really enjoyed the videos of their students learning in really neat ways. I can really benefit from all the Instagram accounts I followed because I could use a lot the unique classroom ideas and teaching techniques they share.
7. View and Listen to Educational Podcasts
My seventh resource is an app on my iPhone called “Podcasts.” What is nice about Podcasts is that it is already downloaded when you buy your iPhone and it is free to use. I was prompted to use this resource by my Educational Technology professor Dr. Zeitz. I didn’t even realize I had all these informational podcasts in the palm of my hand, literally. As a teacher I can really utilize these podcasts because I can find podcasts that talk about pretty much everything I’ll experience as an educator. I listened to a podcast that gave me tips on how to create a good assessment for my students. How cool is that? There are so many accounts to follow that will benefit me as a teacher. The one above is from “Cool Cat Teacher”, and I plan to listen to them a lot more often now.
8. Connect with Others Through Zoom
I found my eighth resource, Zoom, from some of my peers who enjoy video chatting with family and friends. I also used Zoom to meet virtually one morning with my group members and professor over a class project. I love this resource because it is so convenient. Also, a fun fact I learned about Zoom is that you can have as many people in the video chat as you would like! As a future high school teacher I could use this to meet with students who had to miss class or vice versa. Students could also meet on here to work on a group project and nobody would have to leave the comforts of their room to do it.
9. Watch Lynda Tutorials
I learned about my ninth resource from my Peer Mentor in my Educational Technology class. Lynda.com or Lynda training is free to all UNI students which is super nice. It is an educational company that offers thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills. I took a course on Google Docs and learned so much; even though, I was already familiar with Google Docs. I learned a lot about the drawing and chart feature and how to work it efficiently. I can definitely use this resource as a teacher because I am always going to have to be learning and keeping up with the latest technology. Lynda training will be a great tool to help me expand my knowledge with the latest technology.
10. Listen to or Watch Educational Ted Talks
My tenth resource, Ted Talks, are something I recently learned about my freshman year of college. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. They are really simple to find because there is almost a Ted Talk on every topic. You can just google “Ted Talks” and it’ll take you to the website. There, you can type in any topic or issue so I typed in “education” into the search engine and I found the one shown up above. This Ted Talk was all about how to become a student's role model or hero as a teacher. It benefited me because it was education centered and I learned some pretty deep thoughts on how to really motivate children to become better learners. Also, how to be a person that my students can look up to. The people talking are usually sharing their real life stories and experiences with this certain topic.