PLN: Looking Forward and Back

The PLN Challenge continues!  The Teacher Challenge blog asked us to answer two questions:

1. What do you hope to learn more about with respect to your PLN in the coming weeks?

In every form of professional development - in-service provided by the county, conferences, PLNs - I have a habit of getting very excited about all the new ideas to try, and then filing the ideas away for later.  Later rarely comes, of course.  I’m looking forward to finding out how other people manage all of the exciting news that comes their way with their PLNs.  There are great blog posts, lesson plans, and communities out there.  How do people organize the immense amount of information they encounter every day?  How can I do likewise, and then put these ideas into practice rather than letting them lie fallow?

2. What have you learned with creating your PLN that you wish that someone had told you before and what tips do you have to share?

Relax. This is the big tip I have for past-me and for everyone else building a PLN.  Information moves quickly.  The point of a PLN is not to be that dreaded “one more thing” teachers are always talking about having put on their plate.  It’s to energize and excite.  To improve.  But it’s your thing, which means you get to figure out how best to use your time.  I’m the kind of person who reads a magazine cover-to-cover, starts novel series with the first book, and will read six years’ worth of blog archives all at one blog.  A completist, if you will.

That’s not how PLNs work.  If I were to spend all of my time catching up on my Twitter stream, I’d get nothing else done.  So I need to relax.  You might, too.  The PLN is there when we need it.  It’s a resource, not an obligation.  Sometimes we’ll be able to help others in our PLN and sometimes we’ll need their help.  We can jump in or out as time allows.

What about you?  What do you want to learn about PLNs?  What advice can you give?

@kimberlyhirsh
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