Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why A PLN?

Later this week I will be presenting at the North Carolina Technology In Education Society (NCTIES) Annual Conference. For one of my sessions I will focus on how I discovered the power of the Personal Learning Network (PLN), how I built mine and how other educators can do the same.

Whenever I do sessions like this I always get the question, why? Why a PLN? Why do I need to connect to other educators? What is the point? For me, the advantages are obvious. But just like when I do a technology workshop, the points of view of other educators are more important. I can stand up all day long and tell how wonderful they are and give evidence of that but there is something about hearing it from another classroom teacher that makes it meaningful.

So how could I do this in my session? I guess I could secretly fill the audience with members of my PLN and I could "call" upon them randomly and ask them. But educators are smart and they might get wise to that. I could Skype a some teachers but that can get complicated. Then it dawned on me. Voicethread. I recorded what I needed and put it out to my PLN. I wanted to hear stories of how the PLN did something for them or if asked the same sorts of questions, what do they say. I got an overwhelming response and I wanted to share what was shared with me. So below is the Voicethread that I will share in my session. I encourage you to listen to and read every response. They all tell the story of Why A PLN.

If you have a story or a reason to Why a PLN please leave a comment on the Voicethread. The more comments the better!

On a side note: If you will be at NCTIES this week you can catch my sessions both on Thursday. The first at 3:30 in Room 301B. There I will be talking about the tools that Administrators need to start their journey to being tech savvy. And of course my PLN session at 4:45, also in room 301B. Hope to see you there!


  1. If it isn't too far a drive for you, I still need 1 more presenter for the "Developing a PLN" section of TeachMeet Nashville and another panelist for our social networking in schools panel. It seems like you would be perfect for it. You can find out more information at http://teachmeetnashville.wikispaces.com. I'm @jasontbedell on Twitter if you have any questions.

  2. Great VoiceThread! I wasn't able to comment on it for you, but please feel free to use information from the following two articles in your presentation! (and you can quote me :-) )



    Good luck with your presentation.

  3. My PLN is where I learn on a daily basis. I try to share the information that I have with my network, too, to be a valuable contributor to the people who follow me.

  4. Thanks for sharing this VoiceThread. I am going to show this to our teachers to encourage them to start their own PLNs.

  5. Thanks for this post. I've shared it with a learning team of school principals that I'm facilitating. Some of them have this type of topic as core to their research question. You've also inspired me to explore voicethread, something I've been avoiding... learning overload.

  6. Steven, just Monday I did a similar presentation and asked Hadley Ferguson to Skype in (is that a verb?) and share her PLN story (http://is.gd/9CqL7). She is delightful and her story was extremely effective in communicating the value of her connections to her, her students, and her school. You might want to consider contacting her.


  7. The Voice Thread was a great idea! I hope everyone realizes just how valuable a PLN is. I appreciate being a part of yours!