5 Ways in 5 Days! Building the case for the PLN.

6 Feb

For the past year, I have been trying to convince our administration that helping teachers build a PLN  (Personal/Professional Learning Network) should be a professional development priority.

I’m making some headway, but not as much as I’d like. Later this week, I will have an opportunity to address this topic again with my administrators. This time, I plan to support my case with a clear and tangible example.

The list that follows details how my PLN has helped me, our students, and our school in five important ways just within the past five days. Please take a moment to add a comment and share at least one way you, your students or your school site has benefitted  within the last week thanks to your being an active member of a PLN.

1: A SITE VISIT GETS SCHEDULED! Thanks to a reader comment posted on this blog back in January, I made a connection with a technology teacher who works in a nearby elementary school. She clicked a link to my blog on Twitter and posted a thoughtful comment on a post. We commented back and forth and then I followed up by sending her an e-mail. This past week we scheduled a site visit! I get to have a guest, observer and helper in our classroom for two different elementary robotics lessons next Friday. What an opportunity for both of us, as well as for the school and students!

2. $1400 IN FREE MATERIALS GIFTED TO OUR SCHOOL! I really wanted our students to have the opportunity to participate in some type of robotics event this year. I decided on the MATE ROV competition. I tapped into my PLN and contacted a colleague  at U. Penn SEAS . She suggested I look into an ROV-in-a-Bag kit and offered to contact our local MATE ROV event coordinator.

Following up on her suggestion, I did a quick search for a “ROV kit”, and I stumbled upon SeaPerch.org. As luck would have it, they were offering a first come first serve mini-grant for teachers in honor of National Robotics Week. I wrote up a proposal, sent it in and Voila! $1400 in materials are already in route to our school. That’s ten ROV kits, a tool kit, and teacher training for me at no cost to our school. I tweeted my good fortune and who knows, maybe passed the good fortune on to another teacher.

3. FREE RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY DISCOVERED! The same day that I applied for the SeaPerch grant, eschoolnews tweeted a link to a free online professional development course offered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called “Why We Explore“. I immediately enrolled in the course and now will be more informed about the oceanic subject matter we will be exploring during the ROV project.

4. QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY AN EXPERIENCED MATE ROV MENTOR! I have no experience building submersible ROVs so I sent out this tweet:

Within less than an hour, I receive this:

I was able to ask “arnolddeleaon” a series of questions and he was kind enough to respond to each question. Our only connection? A Twitter PLN. Thanks Arnold!

5. QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVED! I connected to a community and had at least three laugh out loud moments this week. Everyone knows laughter has been proven to improve quality of life and although the official word is still out, it has been suggested that social networking has psychological and health benefits. Just think! My participation in a PLN may be eliminating visits to health care professionals that would keep me out of classrooms and potentially increase the overall cost of health care for our fine institution. 😉

If you need a laugh check out this great math humor piece by Jeffrey J. McGovern reposted on askatechteacher.com. I enjoyed it so much I had to pass it on in a retweet…

And that retweet led to yet another good laugh when a few minutes later someone tweeted this…

(Can't find the original source. Let me know if you know!)

So there’s my five ways in five days! Please help me strengthen the case for supporting teachers in their development of a PLN. Post a comment sharing at least one way your PLN has helped you professionally in the last 7 days! I can share it with my administration and you can share it with your teachers and administrators. I can’t wait to hear your responses. 🙂

4 Responses to “5 Ways in 5 Days! Building the case for the PLN.”

  1. Jacqui February 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Hi Stephanie

    I went out looking for an easy intro to Excel–and found it, thanks to a wonderful contact at my Elementary Tech PLN. It’s a Gingerbread house cell coloring exercise, apparently been around for years, but this was the first I saw it. I tried it during the holiday with my second grades and what a hit! I usually don’t intro Excel until 3rd grade, but this made it easy to discuss rows, columns, cells, tools. the kids still talk about it.

    BTW, glad you liked my post!

    • missgreer February 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      Thanks for sharing and getting the list off to a great start! Definitely enjoyed the post and will be checking back often. 🙂

  2. Sarah Kinder February 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    This was an amazing read first of all! What great connections! I’m proud to say I am one of them and I am looking forward to our visit! I’m already inspired to revive a fledgling LS program and find ways to connect it to MS and US and possibly with students outside our school.

    other connections recently made via my PLN:
    1. learned of a webinar on the Online School for Girls, attended it and am proposing our school join.
    2. found great resources for Problem Based Learning via PLP which is how I’ve launched my PLN
    3. using Twitter – found good resources for Internet Safety guidelines and since I’m revising ours, this has been very timely
    4. in general – Twitter feeds me great ideas. I am not as good at putting requests out there, but I do peruse regularly and find gems daily!

    • missgreer February 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

      Thanks Sarah. I can’t wait for your visit! Your additions to the list are great and I definitely appreciate your taking the time to comment. 🙂 See you soon.

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