PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) and PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) are necessities for any successful teacher or educator. These learning networks have always existed in some shape or form, but can now focus more on convenient social medias. PLNs are the way in which teachers socialize and exchange information, whether it be over the internet or face-to-face.
The reason PLNs are, and always have been important is that they are constantly growing as various forms of communication grow. At first, teachers had to meet in person within schools and at conferences. Slowly, as phones and email expanded, so did the networks; today there are endless possibilities for creating a PLN with colleagues from all over the world.
One of the most popular ways to create a network is via Twitter and TweetDeck. Educators can easily find and follow one another and send out messages with a 140 character limit. Twitter is simple and easy to use, and allows the use of hash-tags, which can be more easily tracked in TweetDeck. Many teachers from across the world participate in Tweet Chats, where they discuss specific topics within a single hash-tag.
Another great resource for making a PLN is Facebook. Educators can create a page with ease, where they can post various sorts of media and information. Most people are already familiar with this medium as well, making the learning process far easier.
Blog sites are also a great resource for teachers, like Blogger or Edublogs. Educators can make longer posts with easy formatting; links, pictures, information, videos and more can also be shared. Teachers can follow one another and search through specific tags to find posts on certain topics. (WordPress is a great resource too of course!)
There is a long list of other resources educators can use to create Personal Learning Environments or Professional Learning Communities. Ning, Diigo, YouTube, and Wiki’s are only a few of the numerous options to choose from (for some more options, click here).
Collaborating using these networks creates a more well-rounded teacher with unlimited information at their fingertips. Social media sites, like those listed above, are free and easy to use. With all of these possibilities at your disposal, why not make use of them?