03 Feb 2014

Recall the very best professional conference you’ve ever been to as an educator.  Was it perhaps one in which many of your other professional development experiences are measured against? What was it that made that conference something that was memorable and engaging for you?   


I’m going to take a guess and suggest three qualities that made that experience a defining point in your professional career:


1.  It was directly applicable to what you’re doing NOW.

2.  It was geared specifically to your area of interest and expertise.

3.  It encouraged and valued YOUR participation, and at YOUR comfort level.


Building your Professional Learning Network through Social Media can create an atmosphere of these qualities--with one advantage even over the conference you attended--

You create when/where/how you engage your network.  
Yes, even with you wearing your pj’s and slippers drinking coffee!


If you’re just getting started with building your PLN, it may be a bit daunting.  (Kind of like walking into a filled and noisy conference hall where everyone but you seems to know what the conversation is!)  But, for the sake of getting more acquainted with this powerful resource, let’s consider Twitter.  


Start to build your PLN in 5 Easy Steps:


1.  Create a Twitter account at

2.  This is a fabulous opportunity to lurk around.  Seriously--it’s not creepy!  Take your time and find the voices that resonate with you and interest you.  Daunting? Here’s a starting list!

3.  “Follow” those people that interest you and watch how they engage the communities of people they follow and how they communicate.

4.  Find a couple of good “chats” for your content area.  Again, watch the conversation, and soon…(Remember the coffee and slippers? Check out the Saturday morning #satchat 6:30 a.m. CST)

5.  Contribute!  Unsure of the Twitter “conventions”? Read here!


Thankfully, the teaching community on Twitter (and G+, and Pinterest….) is one of the friendliest and uplifting communities in which to explore and experiment with this powerful tool.  No doubt, once you engage on a consistent basis for even 15 minutes a day, you’ll find the value of the PLN you’ve been creating to be worth a dedicated amount of time.  


Have a success story in building your PLN?  Let us know!


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