Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are You Feeding Yourself?

PLN-2Image by cobannon via Flickr

I was asked to write an article for a coach workshop about personal learning networks and their ability to support those who may be the pioneers and trailblazers in their schools. Hopefully, this will also help you in supporting others just beginning their journey.

Are you feeling hungry for support?
As a coach you are continually giving of yourself. You provide support to other teachers, teach them new tools, and help them integrate them into teaching and student learning. While your job can be exhilarating, it also can be exhausting. When you constantly give so much to others, that full cup of enthusiasm, energy, and new ideas can quickly become empty.
While many are turning to you to support them in their new learning, to whom do you turn to support yourself in your new learning? Take charge of feeding yourself by building your own personal learning network using online tools.

Which of items from this smorgasbord of choices are on your personal learning network plate?
Twitter or Plurk
• Reading Blogs
• Educator Networks like Classroom2.0
Educational Broadcasts
Educational Videos
Streaming Video
Discussion Groups

Joining is step one in developing a personal learning network. Step two is participation. Put yourself out there for others to see and hear. Write your own blog. Create your own podcasts and videos. Step three is connecting with others. Recheck that list again. How much do you really connect with others using those tools? If you read an interesting blog post, leave a comment. If you listen to a thought-provoking broadcast, enter into the conversation. If someone tweets a question, answer it. Over time, these interactions will help you build relationships with fellow educators across the globe. Then when you make a request for help or information, you will have a community of like-minded people who will respond in favor.
Remember, whatever tool you choose, building a personal learning network requires joining, participating, and making connections. Do this and you will find you have a pantry full of help and support ready for any occasion.

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