you’re not alone – fostering a pln

Becoming an ICT specialist has been an interesting and very fulfilling journey, although not without its own brand of frustrations.  Probably the biggest stumbling block I found when leaving my role as a classroom teacher and moving schools to take up this job was the isolation.  They’re definitely a friendly bunch at my new school and there is always someone around to direct my silly questions to but being the only ICT teacher can be a lonely business.  Luckily for me, a week before starting this job, I attended ACEC 2010 and took the first steps towards developing a PLN.

The idea of a Personal Learning Network isn’t new – networking and sharing ideas is something teachers have been doing forever.  However technology takes the concept a huge leap forward, reducing time and geographical constraints.  An example of this recently was my first steps onto the Ultranet.  This has certainly been an isolating topic at my school.  Classroom teachers, already weighed down with a long list of other priorities, don’t have time to play and discover the benefits of this new learning environment and, at the moment, just see it as one more thing on their long list of ‘things’.  Knowing it is up to me and the other lead users to sell the benefits isn’t easy as, to be honest, I wasn’t necessarily seeing the upside myself.  I forced myself to go on and play, in preparation for my Grade 5/6 students coming on board.  Enter the PLN.  I didn’t know how to do something and tweeted to this effect, receiving replies explaining exactly what to do from several people and links to different samples of Ultranet spaces to further inspire me.  All of a sudden, I’m not feeling so alone.  I might be the only ICT teacher at my school but I’m not the only on in the state, the country or the world and I really appreciate the opportunity to share ideas and make connections with others interested in similar topics to me.

So, thanks 🙂

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3 thoughts on “you’re not alone – fostering a pln

  1. Hi,

    This is a great post. I have always had a PLN, whether with old uni friends over a couple of glasses of wine and dinner or with the people who I work with every day. But this new digital PLN I have around me is amazing. Because this PLN is in my digital world I instantly find like minded people.

    I use my PLN for many purposes – sharing ideas, inspiration, answering questions, finding information and sometimes just to chat to people who have the same ideas or ideals as I.

    I also love it when my ‘digital’ and ‘real’ worlds connect and you get to meet people you collaborate with over Twitter at a PD!

    I am glad we have a great PLN!

    Mel

  2. Great post @macgirl. I have had an ict pln for a few years now – but meeting 1-2/term doesn’t compare to the immediacy of twitter. I tweeted quite early in twitters life – but it felt pretty lonely and unimportant for a long while. One of the members of my ict network suggested getting back on board. #ultranet and #vicpln had really got going and all of a sudden I have wide circle of colleagues all over the state. It has just been a lifeline to other like minded teachers. Add to that a wonderful array of educational leaders around the world and the cyber waves have become my number one place for professional learning.

  3. As a teacher in an isolated rural school for many years I love the way technology has reduced that sense of loneliness … twitter especially has brought a more immediate sense of being part of a big team … prior to that I had to wait till people had time to answer their emails!

    The thing I like most about my PLN is that it is comprised of an amazing mix of people, educators from a variety of sectors and countries … yes, they are like minded people and that allows me to feel encouraged by their ideas and enthusiasm … I also feel encouraged by the discussions that show that issues in education are issues in education everywhere, sometimes in our isolation we feel we really are on our own, “this is only happening to me”.

    This was one of the reasons I got so annoyed at the Herald-Sun on Ultranet day for using my tweet against teachers in their article! We hear / see it constantly, technology should help us work smarter!!

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