Twitter for developing a PLN
What is a PLN? Many people describe it as their Personal or Professional Learning Network – certainly for me, joining Twitter has been the single best thing I have ever done in terms of developing myself professionally. My colleagues often comment about how they can’t believe how I know all these amazing Web 2.0 sites that students can use, or how I know so much about what is going on in education today, not just locally, but nationally and internationally too. This is all down to Twitter and my amazing PLN. Without it, I believe I wouldn’t have gained the personal and professional developments and contacts I now have – and I love it.
As someone who is clearly an advocate of Twitter and its use for educators, I recently ran a training session at the school I work in, the amazing Clevedon School.
Below is the resource I used as the framework for that session. Feel free to read it, re-use it, so long as you re-credit it back to me.
Spread the word – Twitter’s a bird and bird is the word!
Well, apart from this blog which will be updated regularly with thoughts, ponderings, news and ICT related things, I wanted to introduce you to the marvel that is Twitter.
To be fair, most people have heard of Twitter – a way of following your favourite TV celebrity, music artist, politician, TV show, etc; but it is much more useful than just catching up on gossip. By creating a Twitter account and using it to follow people with a like minded interest you can form your very own PLN or Personal Learning Network.
Read about PLNs and why they are great in this account from a blog found here: http://bit.ly/8lldPY
“Personal Learning Networks are all the rage at the moment. As with a lot of “modern” things, they’re existed for a long time but have now got a snappy new name. It used to be called “advice from friends and colleagues”. But in the era of social media the word friend has taken on a new meaning. Social media has provided me with a lot of friends who I’ve never met and never spoken to. I’ve exchanged a few tweets with them, commented on or received comments on a blog article, or maybe read a few forum posts, and as a result these people are, in Web 2.0-speak, friends. A PLN can take advantage of lots of different services – Facebook is perhaps the best-known, Ning is also very popular and offers The Educator’s PLN, but there are lots of others, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Of all the available services, the one I find the most fascinating (and the most useful) is Twitter. One of the most interesting things I learned about Twitter before I even tried it was that it is like Marmite. It polarises. I’m constantly amazed at how many people feel the need to criticise Twitter - it’s superficial, it’s useless, it’s boring, you can’t say anything useful in 140 characters, and so on… Never one to be influenced by the crowd, I signed up. I’ll start with the conclusion. I have found more resources and got more useful advice for professional development in 3 months on Twitter than in the previous 5 years without it. I’ll go further. The more I use it, the more useful it gets. David Carr, writing in the New York Times has written an excellent article describing the growing impact of Twitter and explaining why it is set to become part of the infrastructure of the Internet. You want examples? No problem! The first thing is that there are some very well known experts out there on Twitter and they are not posting about a latte machiato in Starbucks, they are providing links and opinions on bleeding edge research. New developments and products appear there immediately and feedback appears almost as quickly. Advice on new software and internet services appears within hours (sometimes minutes) of release. If you’re interested in what’s new in your field, then Twitter is a great place to start.”
The article continues to talk on about the various virtues on Twitter and give more reasons as to why it is a great thing. As the author (@olafelch) states, the opportunities for professional development by utilising Twitter are exponential. Now you might think this is just a post for teachers, well it is not – students of all ages can network and gain lots of information from building your own PLN in areas that you want to learn more about…
…so I urge you; go forth and TWEET!
If you’d like to follow me, you can do so via @ICTEvangelist
If you’d like to follow some people that have inspired me within my PLN check out:
or check out my followers here http://twitter.com/ictevangelist