Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mom said look for experts to help.

Special thanks to @sylviaduckworth for permission to use this graphic.
A year ago, if you'd asked me how I liked my PLN, I'd have blinked, politely, while my brain scanned my index drawer of acronyms trying to figure out what the heck you were trying to get me to talk about.  Fast forward to 2015, and not only do I know what a PLN IS, I can proudly tell you where I find mine.

To start the explanation process, I turned to Twitter, and hit up @sylviaduckworth for permission to use her amazing graphic today in this blog.  It could not be more perfect, as it illustrates the depth and diversity of a Professional Learning Network, and offers the vast connection network offered to teachers through social media.

In the last year, I've had discussions with present and former teachers, both face to face, and on social media, as a result of prompts posted by the folks at Te@chthought, or articles posted by Edutopia, Mind/Shift, of Smithsonian Education.  Recently, I participated in my first Twitter-chat, connecting with educators from around the world.  I picture myself in the gold shirt, standing just north of Pennsylvania, connecting with Justine in New Zealand and Tony in Spain.  (Wearing teal and olive green, respectively).  I know that standing near me are people in my own district, community and state, that are now part of the conversation that is education in my world.  

As a result of questions raised, I've sought input from others.  I've had breakfast or lunch with students, parents, and colleagues, connecting and finding inspiration in the brilliance that exists in others.  Yes, My PLN includes my students.  I truly learn more from them than many other more formal sources.

My mother may be confused by yet another acronym, although she seems willing to accept the flaw in her daughter that causes me to communicate primarily without the use of vowels, much of the time.

Except this time, mom, my PLN is offering HELP.  And you taught me a long time ago to look for the experts when I need help.

So I did.