Thursday, July 23, 2015

PLN: Sharing, Giving, and Taking

I've been participating in a summer book study of What Connected Educators Do Differently by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas through the Indiana Department of Education. Many educators in this group are brand new to Twitter, PLNs, and the idea of being connected. Over the weeks, I have seen my fellow teachers gain comfort and confidence in navigating Twitter, and they are building their connections and beginning to share ideas. Here are my thoughts on the idea of giving and taking with your PLN. 

Public Domain image via Pixabay

It's easier and safer to be a "taker" when we're new to things, teaching in general, a specific grade level, or Twitter. However, being connected means we become more comfortable and willing to begin "giving." It's important to realize that EVERYONE (yes, you!) has something valuable and important to share in the education conversation, and to share those ideas and gifts we all have to improve education! I know many teachers who feel they couldn't possibly know enough, be expert enough, or be a good enough/speaker/writer to share with the world--and nothing could be farther from the truth! If you are willing to participate in a summer book study, you are exactly the type of educator who SHOULD be sharing! It can be scary at first, but it is well worth it!

I have become much more connected in the last year, thanks mostly to Twitter! Yes, it does take time, but I am a better teacher and will eventually be a better administrator because I have fellow educators across the state, the country, and the world who will help me if I'm investigating something new, will help me tweak an idea, and, most importantly, encourage, support, and stretch me to be the best educator I can be!

I "steal" great ideas from my PLN all the time, but I credit to whoever gave me the idea in a Tweet or a blog post to support that person if it's an an original idea. I also try to give a Tweet or a mention to anyone who shared an idea with me and ask if I can reuse it. Crowdsourcing ideas, adapting them to fit the needs of our schools and students truly gives us power to grow and make positive changes! If I only had my own ideas, or even the ideas from the teachers in my own building, I wouldn't have half of my good ideas or be half the teacher I am because of my PLN!

I give much more now that I am comfortable with social media and have established connections. I share ideas on several Twitter chats a week, tweet pictures of projects in my classroom, and I try to blog regularly about my ideas for education. I know that this way I am giving my PLN some ideas to work with, and giving back to them for all of their sharing!

Thank you to all of my PLN colleagues and friends for your support!