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Teacher Provides Three Steps for Building a Professional Learning Network

Teacher Provides Three Steps for Building a Professional Learning Network

A professional learning network (PLN) is a group of connections where teachers can share and learn different methods of educating their students.

Brianna Crowley, a high school English teacher and Instructional Technology Coach in Pennsylvania, provides more context about using this network to improve the classroom experience. In her article on EducationWeek.com, Crowley offers teachers three steps for building a professional learning network.

"These groups reflect our values, passions, and areas of expertise," she said. "Teachers build PLNs the same way they build any network: by investing time to find and connect with people they trust, who have shared interests and passions. To me, a PLN includes the organizations, communities, and individuals who help me learn and grow as a professional. My PLN also provides me with a broader perspective on education—beyond my classroom, school building, state, and even nation. It is a blend of face-to-face and digital interactions with professional buddies, mentors, and rockstars."

Crowley said that PLN "is about relationships."

"To conceptualize a PLN, envision three layers like the ever-widening rings formed when a rock is dropped into still water," she said. "The smallest inner circle represents buddies and mentors; a middle ring holds niche passion groups; and the outer layer comprises professionals and rockstars. The smaller the ring, the closer that group is connected to you in your PLN. Let’s explore how to develop each of these layers of relationships and understand their role in professional learning."

The first step Crowley suggests is to "find the professionals."

Crowley said that finding professionals to join a PLN "begins by connecting with educational organizations whose mission statements and resources align to your personal beliefs about teaching and learning."

"Join these organizations, get on their email lists, and follow them on social media," she said. "You can also connect with published authors, researchers, or speakers who have earned your respect. Follow them on social media, find their blog, and set up an RSS feed to notify you when they post new content. My PLN 'professionals' include the following organizations and individuals. I have memberships with these organizations to receive their print and digital publications, when applicable. Additionally, I follow them on Twitter and attend their yearly conferences to physically connect with other like-minded educators."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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