Engaging in a PLN

One of the primary goals of Ecmp355 was to engage in a Professional Learning Network with our classmates. This is one of the fringe benefits that social media has yielded. In the spirit of embracing digital literacy, I think it is imperative that teachers take advantage of the various tools they have before them for building a PLN. As teachers we must acknowledge that we’re never fully formed or “done”. We always need to be engaging our selves in pedagogical discussions, keeping an ear to the ground on educational issues and trends, and also be looking for ways to support other teachers as well.

In the context of this course, we utilized google plus, twitter, and wordpress (and later slack) as platforms for our PLN. Each platform yielded different capabilities and allowed for different kinds of interactions. In this post I’ll be showcasing some of the PLN activity I engaged in. The purpose of our PLN was to provide support, feedback, and help whenever needed. The support I provided my classmates wasn’t so much through tech support as much as it was pedagogical feedback. At the end of this post you can find a google doc which as an aggregated list of some of my notable interactions, much of which is covered in this post.

Google Plus

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I tend to do a lot of reading of short form articles offering commentary on educational trends. The screenshot I have below would probably better qualify as an example of where my classmates helped me. I had read this article before the semester started and a few months later found it was still tugging at me. I put it forward to the community and some people offered really valuable clarification and perspective on it. I suppose they learned something in the process as well.

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We were told that the main purpose of the google plus community was for us to ask for help when when we had questions. Here are a few shots of me giving assistive responses.

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Blogging Community

Blogging was a great way for us to reflect and respond and for each of us to take what we were learning about in our own direction. Blogging really isn’t that satisfying unless someone else is reading it, and I think a lot of people thrive off of comments and feedback. Shantel had mentioned in the chat in our 3rd or 4th class that she hadn’t received any comments on her posts yet so I made sure to look for it so I could learn from her valuable perspectives.

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Giving each other encouragement for our learning projects was important too. Not just that but learning vicariously through each other helped us to gain a birds eye view of the journeys each other were on.

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As I said in my intro, I enjoyed giving pedagogical feedback on the various topics my classmates would write about, which include inclusive ed, social justice, and deconstructing norms.

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Finally, getting comments on my own posts were rewarding, especially when my readers would ask follow up questions in order to glean even more understanding of a topic.

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I spend a good time of time talking about how my views of twitter have evolved and how I’ve engaged in PLN over this medium in my Summary of Learning, so I won’t duplicate what was said there. The main thing that I’d like to point out is how awesome twitter chats are. I found that most of teaching and learning that goes on on twitter happens during these chats. Below you can find some screenshots of my interactions. Some of which are not included in the google doc.

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I’m grateful for the opportunity that we had to get into the habit of building our PLNs. My hope is that I, as well as the teaching population at large, will continue to press further into this as I think it has great capacity to curve the disadvantages of working in a silo culture of teaching. As promised, here is the link to the google doc.


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