Thursday, January 3, 2013

Helping Pre-Service Teachers Develop a PLN

For the past two semesters, I have required the pre-service teachers in my Technology in the Classroom course to develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN), using Twitter as the primary tool to do so. At the end of the fall semester, some students suggested providing more freedom in the tools used to build and sustain a PLN throughout the semester. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I take feedback from my students seriously, so I decided to tweak the PLN assignment for the upcoming semester. Below is the newly revised assignment description. I found that I needed to be much clearer in my expectations, since students will have more freedom and flexibility than before in designing a PLN that fits their learning needs. I am looking forward to seeing how the PLN assignment plays out over the course of the semester. If you have suggestions or ideas of your own, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

You will use a variety of tools for developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN). It will be your responsibility to grow your PLN through whichever tools you choose. You will only benefit from your PLN if you invest time and energy into it. Every other week, your Edmodo discussion question will be related to what you’re learning through and contributing to your PLN. Your PLN participation does not need to be limited to educational technology and course-related topics. Your PLN is personal, which means it should be focused on your own educational interests. If you’re going to be a history teacher, you would benefit from participating in #sschat. If you’re a music ed major, you may find a great music teacher blog to follow. However, your PLN assignment for this course does require that you focus on educational topics. This means that pinning recipes to Pinterest doesn’t count. You must not only passively learn from others in your PLN, but you must also actively share with your PLN and contribute to the learning of others. A few ways you may choose to grow your PLN include:

  • following people on Twitter, tweeting your own thoughts and resources, replying to and retweeting others, and participating in Twitter chats
  • subscribing to, reading, and commenting on blog posts
  • writing your own blog posts and sharing them with others
  • following others on Pinterest and creating your own Pinterest boards for others to follow

You do not have to use one PLN tool for the entire semester. You may tweet occasionally, follow a couple of blogs, and create a Pinterest board for pre-service teachers. Your PLN is yours, and it is my hope that it will become a network you can continue to learn from as a first-year teacher. You will have more ownership of and find more value in your PLN by making it fit your interests and preferences. If you’d like to learn more about how to build a PLN, watch my Twitter feed over the course of a few days, subscribe to my blog, or follow me on Pinterest. You’ll see that I find and share resources and make connections with others. My PLN is my most valuable tool for professional learning and growth. 

Your PLN grade will be a reflection of your responses to bi-weekly Edmodo discussion questions. In your Edmodo replies, be sure to cite specific evidence from your PLN participation. I will not go searching for the Pinterest boards, tweets, or blog posts you reference in your replies, so it is your responsibility to provide links or quotes to those for me in your Edmodo responses. For the first couple of Edmodo PLN posts, I will respond to the question to give an example of what your response might look like.

No comments:

Post a Comment