Final Project – Unit 1: Global Collaboration and Community

Professional (or Personal) Learning Network (PLN) is a term that I had never heard of until very recently. A PLN is a network of educators that you connect with either in real life or via the internet. Given how little time educators actually have to work together during the school day it is very difficult for a newer teacher to build a strong PLN during the school day, especially when you are new to your school like I was this year. This is why finding a strong, vibrant PLN on Twitter has been a breath of fresh air to me.

I discovered Twitter as a resource for educators in April after attending my first Google Apps for Education Summit. I wrote extensively about that in my first blog post which I crossposted here. Since learning about using Twitter as a resource I created a new handle (@mcarlingoldberg) for use in the educational sphere, followed more than 160 educators who have shared something that I believe that I can either use in my classroom or that have made me think about how to be a better educator, and shared out more than 500 bits of (hopefully) useful information, either my own or ReTweeting others, in 140 characters or less. I even participated in my first TwitterChat this week (#TOSAchat).

Going to the Google Summit and re-discovering Twitter revitalized my teaching in the lowest part of the school year and having that vibrant community on Twitter that is there at my beck and call any time of the day is an astounding resource for a newer teacher like me. It gives me the power to do professional development on my own schedule and in the times not filled by work or family. I am already using that PLN to ask questions, answer questions, share and receive advice, and develop connections with educators around the world. One such connection is the one that I have made with Christine Pinto (@PintoBeanz11) who is a TK teacher who is very successfully using GAFE with her students. She has even started her own hashtag #GAFE4littles. Over the past month she and I have traded tips, given encouragement, and in my case been motivated by our conversations. I am building a large arsenal of her work to share with the TK/Kinder team at my school to hopefully encourage them to fully embrace GAFE for their littles. Without my PLN I wouldn’t be able to share this with my fellow educators that comprise the face to face part of my network.

In my school most of the teachers’ online PLN consists of using Pinterest to research ideas to use in their classrooms. I have been and will continue to share the resources and ideas that I am gleaning from my PLN with the staff at my school and encourage them to build their own PLN through my example.

As a part of the EdTechTeamOnline I have also collaborated with my PLN to develop new lesson materials.

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