According to a blog post I found, PLN: You're Personal Learning Network Made Easy, a PLN is defined as, "the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online." I'm sure that we all have numerous people that we communicate with daily via technology and by creating your own PLN, it gives you the opportunity to communicate, connect, and collaborate with those people. Whenever I first enrolled in college, I was given the option to join a learning community. A learning community is a basically a group of people that are taking a common set of courses and get together to help one another and share ideas. In Steve Anderson's Building Your PLN- A Primer for Anyone, I learned that a PLN is an extension of a learning community. It's taking that same concept and making it global by making connections all around the world. PLN's give teachers the freedom to do their own research and actively discuss things with other teachers.
With that being said, I think that PLN's will be very beneficial to me as a future educator. It's great that I am already learning about them now, before I have a classroom of my own, to get me started. Contrary to popular belief, teachers don't know everything. Having your own PLN is a great tool for asking questions and obtaining more information. In order to form your PLN, it requires research. You will have to read blogs, use Twitter, watch videos on YouTube, click on important links that lead you to other places, consult with other people, use Facebook, use podcasts, etc. The list really does go on and on. It's important to keep up with these things because these tools are constantly changing. There is always something new to learn in the life of an educator.
One thing that I read that really got my attention was an article written by Vicki Davis called Personal Learning Networks Are Virtual Lockers for Schoolkids. Just the title says it all. If a PLN can be used as a students' virtual locker, it can be used as a teacher's virtual locker. In my "locker" I will have much information that I obtained by using Twitter and following various teachers and educators such as, Dr. Strange and Dr. Vitulli. I will also have YouTube which I will use to research videos on certain topics. In addition, I think that Pinterest is a great thing to add to your PLN. There are so many wonderful ideas and links to follow that can keep you up to date with the latest trends in education. Also, I plan to use all of my C4K (Comments for Kids) and C4T (Comments for Teachers) assignments in creating my Personal Learning Network. As you can see, I'm just now starting to "fill my locker" and create my PLN, but it's off to a great start. Establishing a solid PLN is really a never-ending process. In order to keep track of my PLN, I want to use Symbaloo. It's a great tool for organizing your PLN and it reminds me so much of how I have my iPhone set up, which will make it easier to navigate. I love the idea of a PLN and I think it will help me grow as an educator.