PLN Challenge #4: Making Time to Build Your PLN

Challenge #4 of the Teacher Challenge was written and proposed by Sarah Poling.

I’ve since come to recognise that prior to beginning to develop my teaching PLN, that I have actually been involved in two prior personal learning networks over a ten(+)-year span. I started out, as a teenager, actively seeking out other people that I shared a ‘fandom’ interest with (books, televisions series, movies and blog/message board role-playing games). I still dabble in that area, because I made quite a few good friends all over the world and we still share many of the same interests. The second learning network I established was a craft-based on. I’m an avid sewer and I enjoy creating things. I dabble in digital scrapbooking – which itself has a HUGE online community.

I grew up with technology, and while I haven’t been surrounded by it since birth, which is a significant portion of the students I teach, I consider myself a digital native. (In reality, I’m probably somewhere between a native and an immigrant, but I choose to be a native, and behave in such a way!) Technology does not scare me, and I’ll give anything a go online. I’m quite dedicated to my learning networks and communities – I would spend between 30 mins-1 hour on them (at least) every night, and I’m determined to bring that same focus to my teaching PLN.

At present I’m using this blog (and my classroom blog), lurking on Twitter and maintain a Diigo account for storing the wonderful resources I’m finding online. I hope over the next few months to become more confident in contributing more on Twitter and on the wonderful blogs that I’m following through Google Reader.

One of the suggestions Sarah had on the challenge #4 post was to figure out what was the best time to commit to a personal learning network. I know lots of people find it difficult to commit time to learning new things at night after work, but that’s my favourite time to do learning. Post-work I love to learn new things, because that’s the time I relax and am enthusiastic about discovering new resources and ideas.

How am I going to grow my PLN?

I’m going to stick with it. I really am – I don’t think I’ve ever undertaken something so powerful and essential to my own personal learning. I already follow a number of fantastic bloggers who are incredibly inspiring, and I’m going to stick with this Teacher Challenge, too, because it’s been a great, thought-provoking experience for me. And it’s encouraged me to post to my blog and explore my beliefs and commitments to my own teaching practise.

How do I stop myself from becoming overwhelmed?

  • Persevere!
  • Proceed at your own pace.
  • I check in to Twitter and Google Reader each day and if there’s an information overload, I save the links of interested until the weekend to explore in more detail when I have the time.
  • Don’t panic if you miss a day of checking in!
  • This is MY choice to learn. No one’s making me do it, and I’m allowed to approach it in the way that feels right to me.

2 thoughts on “PLN Challenge #4: Making Time to Build Your PLN

  1. Hi,
    I agree: I also like to learn after work in the evenings when the kids are in bed. I also like what you wrote about this being your choice and that you can approach it the way you want, I think I’ll keep that in mind as well!
    Good luck building your new PLN!
    Love @anna_bring


    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you for your comment. I find working in the evenings a lot less stressful (mostly because I’m not rushing anywhere). And thank you for the luck!



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