A School-Wide Personal Learning Network (PLN)

I started this blog because I had ideas to share and no time or venue during school to share them.  Also, I don’t always know who needs or relates to one idea or another; if someone follows my blog, they can look at the subject line and read or delete the email as needed.  I’ve pretty much spent this day adding to my PLN:  following posts from one blog to another, subscribing to many blogs via google reader, and adding interesting educators to my twitter account.  A PLN “consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from (Wikipedia).  The amazing thing is that we can now have people from all over the world as part of our PLN through online forums like twitter and blogs.
At our school, we have been building a school-wide personal learning network but haven’t called it such. The faculty committee has been working on ways for the faculty and parents to connect, share, and have interesting dialog; blogs were created by the library, college guidance, and soon English (yay Jennifer); we started GPS edU, wikis, and a school twitter account.  Those are just a few examples of the ways we connected.  Our PLN can only get stronger from here; my hope is that more of us connect with each other and the world via twitter and teacher or classroom blogs, and that the dialog continues.  What do you think?
One of the wonderful blogs I came across today is called What Ed Said by Edna Sackson from Melbourne, Australia.  Pasted below is one of many excellent “10Ways…” articles she has written.  I hope you will visit and consider following her blog.

People talk a great deal about the ’21st century skills’ of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. Do we model them ourselves, as teachers?

10 ways to collaborate for teaching and learning…

1. Open the door.

Let go of the idea that you have to teach in ‘your way’ in ‘your space’. Team teach. Invite people in. Share spaces. Learn together.

2. Talk.

Collaborative planning is a constant conversation. (ThanksFiona Zinn). Share what worked and what didn’t. Build on each others’ ideas. Talk about how you’ll use shared spaces.

3. Be open-minded.

There is more than one way of doing things. Be open to new ways of thinking and new ways of learning. Learning can look different from the way it did when you went to school.

4. Include your students.

Ensure you are part of their learning community rather than boss of the learning. Ask for feedback. Talk about the process of learning. Listen to their voices. It’s their learning.

5. Make learning trans-disciplinary.

Learning takes place when we connect new knowledge or ideas with what we already knew. The more connections, the stronger the learning. Create opportunities for connections across disciplines.

6. Share.

Share your time, your ideas and your expertise. Share tasks and resources between team members. Share responsibility with your students.

7. Focus on the arts.

Work with the art teacher and the music teacher. Use the arts to enrich learning in any subject area.

8.Establish an in-school PLN.

Learn from and with your personal learning network. It might be your grade level team, teachers of the same subject or, best of all, a mixed group. Share practice. Build on each others’ ideas.

9. Establish an online PLN.

Use social media to connect and collaborate with educators anywhere, any time. Get the most out of Twitter. Ask someone to help you get started on building an online network. (I will)

10. Create a global collaboration.

Use Skype or Voicethread to collaborate with a class in another country. Exchange ideas and beliefs. Learn from each other.

Do you collaborate to make teaching and learning richer? How?

2 thoughts on “A School-Wide Personal Learning Network (PLN)

  1. Great blog! I’m really enjoying what you’re posting. Now that I have a Mac at home, I’m especially interested in all things Mac. I love my Mac; I’m just not as familiar with the environment yet. Have you thought of a GPS edU for new Mac users?

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