OLD – Thing 10: Personal Learning Networks & Connected Educators

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Your explored Twitter in Thing 3: Twitter & Other Online Communities and you’ve been active on our online discussion groups for Cool Tools (you have, haven’t you?). These are both great ways to find answers to questions, share resources and share expertise. We hope these are now part of your PLN or Personal Learning Network.

Your Personal Learning Network is much more than just Twitter though. It includes all of the resources, people and organizations that you rely upon to help you continue learning, keep up to date on developments in your field & provide a sounding board when you need help with a thorny problem. (It often also leads to some wonderful friendships!)

Then what’s a Connected Educator? Social networks help us connect with educators in our local communities and around the world. These people are the richest piece of your PLN. They’re a tremendous source of innovative ideas and support. Stumped with a problem that you can’t solve or need to brainstorm with someone? Want to meet up with colleagues at a conference? Ready to collaborate on a project with another school? By seeking out people who can help us grow and learn, and by being that person for others, we become Connected Educators.

craig martin

Why be a connected educator? Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Are you a Connected Educator?


In this lesson, you will give some serious thought to what resources you already have in place to help you continue your professional development and provide support for you in your work. And you’ll assess what might be missing and find resources to fill those gaps.



1: Take this opportunity to:

  • Examine who you rely on for professional assistance
  • Expand your network through twitter, facebook, or other communities
  • Identify learning communities you to participate in for continued learning.
  • Assess what value you receive from the organizations that you actively participate in
  • Identify other resources that are essential to your professional growth.

2: And identify what’s missing:

  • Do you want to be more active in a particular community, but not sure how to get started? How will you get involved?
  • Are there topic areas that you need to keep up with but don’t know where to start? Identify some resources to help you get started.
  • Are you wondering how others keep up with technology, library news, etc.? Join the club! 🙂 Ask members of your PLN how they keep up.

3: Write your blog post

Share some thoughts on the following:

(You don’t have to address all of these questions and issues.)

Problem-Solving – Your PLN in Action: Share an example of how you solved a problem or learned more about an issue by tapping into the resources of your network.

Connections: What people or groups of people and organizations are you most connected with. (no need to name individuals if you don’t want to.) How did you connect with them? Local connnections? Professional organizations? Mentors? Twitter? InterLibNet for connecting with colleagues around the world? What value do these people your professional practice? How do you give back

Resources: What resources do you rely on? Things like:

  • Blogs or other websites that you refer to frequently for ideas?
  • Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups.
  • Online journals?
  • Organizations like Edweb & AASL that provide frequent webinars
  • Professional organizations

Maintaining your PLN

  • How do your organize your resources so you can access them easily? A symbaloo page? A Feedly account? Web page? Some other online organizational tool?
  • Do you have a schedule for checking these resources.
  • Do you regularly checkin with your local and online colleagues?


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL for the post.
  • Return to the lesson page on the CanvasLMS site.
  • Use the SUBMIT ASSIGNMENT button in the CanvasLMS page and paste in your URL.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Canavas LMS system.


Special thanks to Dr. Michael Stephens for sharing his lesson on developing your PLN from his SJSU Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies course.