Building a Personal Learning Network Will Make You a Better Teacher

What is a Personal Learning Network?

personal learning network
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A personal learning network also referred to as a PLN, is a powerful professional development tool that allows teachers and administrators to connect with other teachers and administrators across the country. These connections are typically made through social media outlets including Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc. A personal learning network allows educators to seek advice, trade best practices, or simply network with other professionals.

Educators who build a powerful, personal learning network are connected educators with the means to grow and improve continuously.

A personal learning network is powerful because its branches can extend across the globe. You can trade ideas with teachers in Singapore, China, Australia, or any other part of the connected world. Technology bridges the gap between the possible and impossible. For teachers, this brings about exciting possibilities. A teacher's time is limited, but social media provides a quick and easy outlet to share frustrations and successes, get immediate feedback, and find new ideas for improving. Having an outlet of like-minded professionals at your fingertips is exciting and full of limitless possibilities.

A personal learning network is completely customizable. As a teacher, you get to choose the direction of your PLN. Your personal learning network can be developed through a single social media platform, or it can span over multiple platforms.

You may choose to include only a few reliable members, or you may have a thousand or more individuals in your personal learning network. Finally, you may choose to narrow or broaden the focus of your PLN according to each member's individual area of expertise.

No matter how you choose to build your personal learning network, it is important to remember that you will get out what you put in.

The more active you are in your PLN, the more beneficial it will become. A PLN is a two-way street. Some members will serve as a mentor to you, and you will serve as a mentor for others. A personal learning network provides the ultimate avenue for sharing and exchanging best practices for teaching. Regular engagement in this avenue cannot help but make you a better teacher.

Building a personal learning network will make you a better teacher because it will challenge the way you think about your classroom. Other teachers will inspire you as you inspire them. As a teacher, there is an unlimited number of ideas that you can immediately take back to your classroom and put to use. A personal learning network simply provides a gateway for obtaining these best practices. Social media has completely changed the world we live in giving us instant interaction with people from all walks of society. Teachers can take advantage of this by using these connections to make themselves a better teacher, thus benefiting the students they serve.