Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Build your PLN!

There are thousands [many thousands] of excellent educators out there that have something important to share with the rest of us.  Through experience [success, failure, talent and plain old hard work] they have honed their skill, their attitude, their approach and their outlook so they can do what is right for kids.  Connecting to these educators is the primary purpose in growing you own PLN [Professional Learning Network].

Here is one example of how technology can support the growth of your network:

I use a service from Google called Google Alerts.  The service sends you an email alert if a blog entry, news story or web article meets search criteria you provide.  In this case I had a query item entered for Assessment as Learning. Because of this I got an email listing of items that fit the criteria for the day. One of the items in the list was for a posting that had appeared on the blog for the Parkland School Division.  It just so happens that while I was interested in this particular posting to the right of the blog item was a twitter feed from a Principal in their division named George Couros.  I have read George's stuff before but have not kept up of late....I should.   In this case one particular tweet caught my eye.  Couros stated clearly that this item was a must read so I clicked on it.  The blog posting he was referring to was from Grant Wiggins and dealt specifically with what he sees as the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher.  You might be familiar with Wiggins through our use of the book called "Understanding by Design" [Wiggins and McTighe]. The blog posting [and the book] was a great read.  However...the important point from the perspective of your PLN is that in the process of looking at one blog posting I learned about one division's take on assessment as learning,  I re-connected to an educator [Couros] that I should pay more attention to, I added another educator's blog [Wiggins] to my Google Reader service and got his take on what makes a teacher great and I also added both blogs to my online Google Bookmarks.  I am actually shocked that I had not added Wiggins' blog long ago.  In any new items posted by both Couros and Wiggins come to me through my Google Reader service without me having to go out and look for them.

BTW.....George Couros is the brother of another educator you should all be familiar with and whose blog and twitter feeds you might also be interested in.  Dr. Alec Couros is a professor at the University of Regina.

PLN support: Google Alerts, Google Reader, Google Bookmarks, Twitter