- Bill Nye -
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.”
Building Your Professional Learning Network
This page provides suggestions for building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) - whether you are just starting or have an extensive network established already - as well as encouraging its growth in a school culture.
Be a Connected Educator
"With the further development of the internet and rise of social networking tools educators have many online options in terms of how and where they seek self-regulated PD” (Moreillon, 2016, p.65).
Why is a personal learning network important to educators?
Kathy Schrock, edtech guru, loved these reasons (from Derek Wenwoth, New Zealand):
"Help each other solve problems
Hear each others’ stories and avoid local blindness
Find synergy across structures
Keep up with change
Reflect on their practice and improve it
Build shared understanding
Find a voice and gain strategic influence
Cooperate on innovation" (Schrock, 2013, para. 4).
And these (from Robin Ellis, PA):
"[T]he ability to connect, communicate, and collaborate globally.
The network is always on 24/7/365 and always willing to share ideas and offer help.
It is a way to build relationships otherwise not possible" (Schrock, 2013, para. 5).
While there are many ways to get and stay connected, she provides a few important points to remember:
Grow your "network to include experts and practitioners in that topic... [to] learn from them, have a chance to ask questions, and provide feedback on [your] thoughts, too" (Schrock, 2013, para. 6).
"Remember that a PLN is a two-way street; you have to “pay it forward” and contribute, too! Everyone who teaches is creative, smart, and resilient. It’s the way we are. You all have great ideas and reflections to share" (Schrock, 2013, para. 6).
The networked teacher - both consumer and creator of digital content - created by Alec Couros (Schrock, 2013, para. 7).
Light (2012) provides 10 tips for principals and school leaders to help encourage the use of Web 2.0 tools in professional development, both within and beyond their specific school.
His "10 Ways to Build Vibrant Leaning Communities with the Read/Write Web" are:
1. Invest in a virtual learning environment (VLE).
2. Talk up the fact that web 2.0 can be incredibly easy to use.
3. Use web 2.0 tools for professional development and community building.
4. Show your support via social media as well as the old-fashioned way.
5. Share success stories so teachers can learn from each other.
6. Allow teachers to customize their virtual classrooms.
7. Ease teachers’ administrative burdens with simple productivity tools.
8. Update tools regularly.
9. Keep communication open.
10. Create clearly defined virtual communities to foster vibrant learning communities.
Infographic from Jessica Bonin, 2019, using Pictochart.
Light, D. (2012). Principals for Web 2.0 success: 10 ways to build vibrant learning communities with the read/write web. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(8), 18-20. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?ID=EJ982841
Moreillon, J. (2016). Building your personal learning network (PLN): 21st-Century school librarians seek self-regulated professional development online. Knowledge Quest, 44(3), 64-69. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1087618.pdf
Schrock, K. (2013, October 1). Stay connected all year long with your PLN! Discovery Education. Retrieved from http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2013/10/01/stayconnected/
Amazing People to Follow
Start (or add) to your Personal Learning Network by following these blogs/sites with a free RSS aggregator such as Feedly on your phone and/or on your web browser.
Where to start with teacher-librarian discussions on Twitter?
(List originally compiled by Jennifer Branch-Mueller; modified by Shannon Thiessen Burton)
Will Richardson (@willrich45)
Gwyneth Jones (@gwynethjones)
Jennifer LaGarde (@jenniferlagarde)
Joyce Valenza @(joycevalenza)
Alec Couros (@courosa)
Ross Todd (@RossJTodd)
Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin)
Steve Hargadon (@shargadon)
Scott McLeod (@mcleod)
Judy O’Connell (@heyjudeonline)
Danah Boyd (@zephoria)
Joanne de Groot (@joannedegroot)
Jennifer Branch (@jennbranch)
Carol Tonhauser (@cmt1)
Shannon Thiessen Burton (@SThiessenBurton)
Emily Huang (@sillynemobait1)
Jessica Bonin (@jess_bonin)
Devika Chudy (@ChudyDevika)
Joseph Jeffery (@josephjeffery1)
Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1)
Common teacher-librarian hashtags:
#infolit (information literacy)
#tlchat (second Monday of each month at 8pm EST)
#libchat (Wednesday from 8:00-9:30pm EST)
#UKlibchat (first Tuesday of every month from 1:30-3:30pm EST)
#inaljchat (I Need A Library Job chat - Monday from 9:00-10:00pm EST)
#alscchat (Association for Library Service to Children - second Thursday of every month at 9pm EST)
Find more at
Amazing Guest Speakers/Presenters/Authors
Cultural Intelligence Educator
Great with Primary and Secondary. Easy to make a variety of curriculum connections (Drama, Tech, English, Pastoral, Media Literacy, International Mindedness, ...)