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How to Expand Your Personal Learning Network with Social Media

How to Expand Your Personal Learning Network with Social Media

By Bethany Petty

In recent years, schools have experienced drastic cuts in funding. Teachers and students alike have reaped the repercussions of this huge problem.

Unfortunately for teachers, professional development funding is often among the first areas to be eliminated or drastically reduced. In order to learn and grow in our field, we teachers have been forced to “get creative” in our professional development attempts.

Luckily, you can learn new tips and tricks without leaving your district, or your home for that matter. The advent of social media has allowed teachers around the world to collaborate like never before, making professional development easier to maintain than ever before.

Use these tips and tools to build and expand your personal learning network (PLN) through social media.

More: 10 Reasons Every Teacher Should Attend an EdCamp

Pinterest

By now, the world has learned of the amazing resource that is Pinterest. Most famous for recipes and DIY tips, Pinterest is also a wonderful tool for teachers to collaborate and share ideas.

Pinterest can be overwhelming, and I’ll be the first to admit it. However, by simply searching terms related to educational technology, you can narrow the vast and amazing world of information and ideas. “Educational Technology Tools,” “Web 2.0” and “Technology in Education” are all great phrases to search.

I also recommend following boards of “Pinteresters” who are well known for their contributions and ideas on educational technology, as well as educational reform. My favorite boards to follow are:

  • Edutopia
  • ISTE
  • Edudemic
  • Free Technology for Teachers (Richard Byrne)

I find and follow new boards everyday; the more you use Pinterest for building your PLN, the more you’ll find awesome boards and users as well.

More: Follow Learn2Earn on Pinterest too!

Twitter

If you haven’t joined Twitter, please do so.

I was against Twitter for years, believing that it was only a place where teenagers posted pictures of their breakfast and hashtagged their lives.

I’ve come to learn it’s so much more!

Twitter is a fantastic resource for teachers, and an information hub that I utilize all the time. When building your personal learning network you can:

  • Follow amazing educators and technology professionals
  • Search hashtags
  • Find new tools and ideas for your classroom
  • Share ideas with teachers in your content area
  • Discuss what tools have worked in your classroom, and which ones have epically failed
  • Collaborate with educators from around the world
  • Connect your classroom with a classroom in another country
  • Ask questions
  • Discuss educational reform
  • Broaden your educational horizons

The possibilities are seriously endless. Join Twitter. You will not regret it.

twitter personal learning network

More: Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter

Google+

Google’s social network has become the “red-headed stepchild” of social media in recent years. Google+ is a cross between Twitter and Facebook, and is vastly underused in the world of education.

Anyone with a Google account has access to Google+, and teachers who do use this platform can join a number of groups related to a specific subject.

My favorite groups include Chromebook EDU, Google Classroom, Teachers Helping Teachers, Technology in Education and Flipped Classroom.

Teachers post questions, lesson ideas, links to resources to these groups, and can even create their own groups to share resources with their colleagues.

More: Circle Learn2Earn on Google+

Bonus: Learning Management Systems

Though not a social network, Learning Management Systems (LMS) can also be an excellent resource for teachers. My LMS of choice, Schoology, provides teachers with the option to join and create groups for idea sharing. This “group” feature was extremely useful for me a few days ago, when I stumbled upon a new game site that I would have never found had I not been so involved in Schoology’s groups.

Why should you use social media to expand your PLN? Personalized professional development in your pajamas—no more sitting through useless workshops or sessions in which you seemingly learn nothing.

Create your own on-demand professional development “channel” by building a personal learning network through social media.

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How to Expand Your PLN With Social Media

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  1. Pingback: Lessons learned on Twitter | Back to school blues

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