PhotoCC- By Sue Waters
The title says it all, what in the world is a PLN? I had no idea until I started researching the topic and decided that it will most likely come in very handy in the near future. A PLN is a Personal Learning Network that you develop for yourself, over social media, in whatever content area you are interested in. The PLN will then provide resources that are designed to make you a better whatever you are, let’s say a teacher, for example. Some articles that I found helpful and that swayed my opinion were, What is a PLN? Why do I need one? and How to cultivate a personal learning network: Tips from Howard Rheingold
I am an Elementary Education major with an Area of Concentration in Special Ed., so naturally, my PLN consists of resources that cover Education in general, Elementary Ed., and Special Ed. I have also followed sites that talk about educational laws and legislation and what is going on at the Department of Education. I have also followed sites that pertain to educational news in general as well as sites that involve technology, since we are now a technology based nation. After all, I do want to stay up to date on what is going on in my future career. Certain decisions are going to impact my daily life and the lives of my students. I did not want to specifically limit myself to just Elementary Education, because I felt I would not be allowing myself the full benefits of a PLN. I should also mention that right now my PLN is only twitter based, it is not involved on any other social media. While putting my PLN together and searching through endless sites, I did find some great information. A tweet that really grabbed my interest was:
I thought the article, When Kids Have Structure for Thinking, Better Learning Emerges, was intriguing because I was interested to see what structure of this sort looked like. This post led me to a great blog post that talks about getting students in the habit of observing, thinking, and analyzing all the time. They are ready to truly think in every situation and the teachers prepare their students by using “thinking routines”. The routines are based off of “naming, inquiry, looking at different perspectives, reasoning, making connections, uncovering complexity, making firm conclusions, and building explanations, interpretations and theories.” I highly recommend checking this article out!
Because of the PLN project, I found some very helpful and intriguing articles, posts, and videos, that I probably never would have came across if I had not started a PLN. From sitting in endless hours of classes of course I know it is crucial to get students to use their critical thinking skills, but I thought the article gave that concept a new twist. It gave me more ideas of how to get students to think critically and how to get in the habit of thinking that way in every situation.
I hate to say it, but after having doubts about the PLN (not thinking it would really benefit me), my opinion has completely changed and I am glad I had to develop one, even if it took a while and I was a bit frustrated with the assignment at times.