Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to learn from your PLN - Guest Post


Guest post from Henrietta Siemens, PhD

There are many reasons for why educators should have a PLN. JacquiMurray cites some compelling reasons for building a PLN. First, building a PLN helps educators grow professionally and connect with people who have similar interests; second, through social media tools educators become comfortable with the tools their students are already using, and third, building and growing a PLN can help educators stay current in their field. But how can you learn from your PLN? A few ideas for how you can keep learning about topics in your field of interest with these three popular social media tools:

LinkedIn:
Many people use Linkedin for job searches or to connect with like-minded people who may provide future job connections or possibilities. However, Linkedin can be used for much more. One key reason for using Linkedin is to find experts in your field. Ask the question: “Who is doing what I’m interested in”? What is the background of these experts? Where have they studied? What contributions have they made to the field in their area of expertise? A great example is Wes Fryer, an educator who has listed many of his presentation on his Linkedin profile. As educators identify experts in their field, these experts become resources for their own classrooms as well as their own professional lives.

Diigo:
The power of Diigo lies in its ability to book mark, sort, and share all of your favorite websites. For one, just keeping track of favorite websites can be a challenge. But with Diigo’s tagging and sorting features, websites can be easily categorized. Many educators have discovered the power of Diigo in building their PLNs. Favorite websites become even more powerful when they are shared with other educators in your PLN. Users can share and connect with others in their Diigo community. By sharing bookmarks users learn about resources and tools from their Diigo user network. Users can further extend their ‘Diigo reach’ by sharing their Diigo bookmarks to their blog. The Cool Cat Teacher explains how:


Twitter:
Beyond the hype and do’s and don’ts of Twitter, there are really only a few simple rules: Follow quality and tweet quality! No need to waste 140 characters on nonsensical, irrelevant content that does not contribute to the broader knowledge creation and sharing with people you follow (or who you’re trying to get to follow you). By following quality educational content, educators can learn about trends, tools, and resources that help them grow personally and professionally. Here are 50 Innovative Ways to Use Twitter to help you use Twitter meaningfully, especially how to become more efficient and how to discover and track quality tweets.

Remember, these social media tools are most powerful in building your PLN when purposefully integrated into a blog or website.

Thanks to Henrietta Siemens, PhD, for Guest Blogging here.
She can be reached fpuedtech [at] gmail.com

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