Welcome back to another school year! As I am getting things prepared for my students, I decided to pull out the list of blog ideas that I made over the summer. One of the first things on my list was to encourage all my educator colleagues to start a PLN.
As you have been sitting through mandatory Professional Development, trying not to snooze (smile), think about having PD your way. When you want, what you want to learn, and it's always there to refer back to, no obligation.
A PLN is a Personal(or Professional) Learning Network that you can use to collaborate with others in your field, your areas of interest, or the areas you'd like to grow. One of the first ways I set up my PLN is with Twitter.
Twitter account to use with my interests in Deaf Education and Educational Technology. I have found many interesting people to follow and who follow me. My Tweeps share links to great websites for use with my students or for my own use to be more productive. We also share links to blogs that colleagues have written on current topics. Some of these links may also lead you to Facebook where you can follow people or businesses.
After you find a couple blogs that you'd like to continue to watch, you'll want to start using RSS feeds. Many programs will offer free RSS readers: Google, Yahoo etc. Since I have had a My Yahoo page for years, I added RSS feeds right to My Yahoo. I can see the headlines of blog entries and click on them to read the story. One blog everyone should follow is Free Technology for Teachers. If you look at the right side menu of my blog you will see a place where you can get the RSS feed for yourself. Click on it.
If you are new to Twitter, it may take you a little bit to add people to follow but don't lose hope. One connection leads to another. Look at the how to videos to get some help. Follow me on Twitter and you can also follow people from my list. Look at the right side menu and click on the Follow Me link.
After you get a few friends and followers on Twitter you might find that you will benefit from a free service from Tweetdeck.com that you can download for your pc or smartphone. It allows you to follow more than one topic at a time. Check it out it helps you be more efficient and productive. AND it allows you to better participate in chats about subjects that are important to your PLN. That's where # s come into play. The # will allow you to follow others in a conversation about a topic.
There are some really great #chats to follow.... #edchat has topic chats on Tuesdays at noon and 7pm EST. But there are also #edtech, #elemchat, #spedchat and other # chats in specific areas. And don't be afraid to ask questions and get more information from others you meet on Twitter. Most people worth knowing will help you. So don't be afraid, take the leap, and fly into some great information.
Next, I'll be adding a blog about paid sites to do Professional Development at your own time and pace. :-)