Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Social Media and your PLN

Incorporating Social Media strengthens your personal/professional network.  Finding individuals, organizations, and companies that provide focused information on your interests increases the amount of information that you may gather and use. 

Currently the most utilized social sites are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.  Each one of these services may be used to share information with those you connect with within those services.

Twitter is used by professionals to share quick links to interesting blogs and sites.  Breaking news and fresh information may be found using Twitter if you follow the people and organizations who provide this type of information.  I like to use it to share resources with my Twitter followers.  I also have Twitter linked to my Facebook account so that I share information with my Facebook friends.

Facebook is used by many to keep in touch with friends and family and share interests.  This site may contain more personal and private information and be best used for a personal learning network.  One of the advantages of using Facebook is the ability to see when your friends are online and use the Instant Messaging feature for quick communication.

LinkedIn is more of a professional networking service.  A perfect place to share an advanced resume or Vitae, the site also offers several groups that share professional interests.  You may also subscribe to University Alumni groups, specific disciplines for teaching and so on.  LinkedIn also has a timeline that you may place information on to share with your colleagues, associates, or groups.

Google+ is a bit newer in the social media arena.  Google has been integrating Google+ with Gmail, Google Talk, Google Drive, YouTube, to name a few.  The strength of Google+ is the ability to collaborate and share with circles of individuals.  For example, you may wish to share different information with family and friends than you would with professional colleagues.  In Google+ you can create groups called circles and indicate which circle you wish to share a post with.  Very handy and easy to use.

The advantages of integrating these types of social media sites into your personal and professional networks are the ability to get and share timely and focused information with others.  You may also use these sites to search for the information you need at a later date.  Using these resources will expand your personal and professional knowledge base.  Take full advantage of them.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Personal and Professional Learning Networks (PLN)

Professional Development doesn't take place exclusively in conferences. Creating your personal and professional learning network (PLN) will provide you with information and ideas for your class. I've built mine to learn what constitutes best practices in the classroom for both traditional, blended, and online teaching and learning. My network also provides me with ample information technology news and perspectives.

There are several webinar and video sites as well as blogs, forums, and online groups. I use these resources every day for focused professional and personal purposes. Having my network is only one part of the process. I share this concept with my students as well. I've created and used several activities that help the students start building their PLN. This ties directly into the concept of expanding digital literacy.

We need to teach by example and provide the students with this skill-set. Building a PLN is part of life-long learning. Many of the concepts and issues that we cover in class will impact the students well after the semester.

Here are a few ideas to get your PLN started.

First, create a Google and Gmail account. This Blog is written on Blogger which is part of the Google tool suite.  There are several collaborative tools available for your use.

Second, find websites to inform you.

Most of these websites will have a way for you to get information delivered to you. Explore these sites and discover what others are doing in education. These websites will provide you with a great place to start this PLN process.

Here is a blog that shares 10 simple ideas to build your PLN

Next Post: Social Media, how to tie it into your PLN