Sunday, February 21, 2010

PD With My PLN!

My PLN in action! Look at the response I got during our last School Committee Meeting when I asked about the power of Twitter and a PLN

It is hard to believe all of the connections that I have been able to make since I started building my Personal Learning Network (PLN) last spring. I could never have a imagined the value that a PLN would add to my role as a school administrator. It has changed things significantly for me.

The biggest change has been in the area of Professional Development. As both a teacher and an administrator, my goal with every conference or workshop that I attended was to find at least one concrete thing to bring back to my school that would help make me better at my job. Unfortunately, in many cases the money spent and the time out of school was not a worthwhile investment.

My PLN Adds More Value Than Any Other PD

In fact, the truth of the matter is that 30 minutes on Twitter is more valuable than most full-day conferences that I have attended. I would venture to say that my interactions with the phenomenal group of educators in my PLN also gives me more concrete ideas and resources than any multi-day conference.

Having said all this, I am not planning on staying grounded and using my computer as my sole means for Professional Development. My PLN has allowed me to find more meaningful conferences to attend and to connect with countless educators who are engaged in conversations about meaningful change in our schools. The latest example of this was Educon, which I wrote about previously.

Face-to-Face PD With Members Of My PLN

Rather than speak poorly of some of the conferences that I have traditionally attended, I will just say that I want better value for my time (and my school district's dime). I want continued opportunities to engage in conversations about real changes that are making a difference in how students learn.

While I know the web allows us opportunities to learn anywhere at anytime, I still think the most fulfilling opportunities are those where we get to be together in physical space and collaborate. It is not just the conversations in the sessions that provide growth because being with members of my PLN at a conference is like face-to-face Twitter, the conversations just keep going. With this in mind, I will be looking for more opportunities like Educon to be with people that push my thinking and help me create a more concrete vision to share with the stakeholders in my school community.

PLN - Where Do We Go Next?


  1. Hi Patrick,

    Great post! Budget cuts have put a cap on attending most conferences but seemingly to the rescue my PLN has provided important resources and ideas - I have not felt as isolated. With a community of experts at my fingertips I am able to share practical solutions and suggest new initiatives with the college community where I work. Looking ahead ... conferences that I choose to attend should have more meaning and relevance because of the before and after connections with my PLN.

    Joe Fahs

  2. I'm so jealous. I didn't hear about Educon in time. And, I'd have to fly across an ocean to get there.

    My computer is set for the morning Keynote feed...

    Janet |