Personal learning networks = professional development

When we were young, all that we knew of our teachers was what they would tell us in a class. In particular, if the teacher was your favorite, you’d try all means to extract some information about their likes and dislikes. Teachers too, on the other hand, had limited interaction with their students. Classroom was a platform where matters were discussed, questions were raised and answers were given. But now the concept of classroom has changed, it is not a place that is separated by physical boundaries.

For many, their classroom extends beyond the school. It might extend to PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, NING, WORDPRESS, FACEBOOK and blogs etc, where the educators have cultivated a learning environment letting students be a part of it. This networking has therefore transformed the paradigms of learning. All conventional ideologies have faded away as social media blankets every sphere of life and business.

Why is personal networking important and how can it be used is a question often asked. The point is that teachers are HUMAN BEINGS, not robots. If they chip in the element of emotion and interaction into their professional lives, it won’t serve as a cyclone. The aim of this networking is to set some goals for learners, let them become a part of the learning club and therefore allow them to manage the curriculum through their inputs.

Teachers or educators are vastly using PLN for their professional development. This leads to learning from content-area specialists. Creating your own PLN is not an out of the world task; teachers may start off with social media. Take for instance:

Facebook and Google+:

 An educator shall make sure he/she integrates all personal contacts using these tools. Following is easy when it comes to these informal forums, not to mention the interaction is swift and fast.

The second priority shall be given to more professional web tools such as LINKEDIN. Again an updated profile and some connections with likeminded experts will add up value to the network.

Then, we come over to blogging sites. How this invaded internet so rapidly is still an unsolved mystery. Students feel happy when their teachers provide them with access to certain web sites or blogs, in particular, where they are free to discuss an issue and shed light on an argument. Today the most popular forums solely made for blogging purposes are: WORDPRESS, BLOGGER, EMERGINGEDTECH, THE EDUBLOGS AWARDS, etc.

The next target shall be micro-blogging. With twitter very active these days, use of hashtags is spreading like virus. For example #edchat, #edtech, #elearning are just a part of the bigger pool. In addition, smartphones have indeed made the game easier.

COMMUNITIES shall be equally maintained. This might invite some real useful, professional discussion, letting everyone enjoy spoons of knowledge. For communities, the best options are Classroom 2.0 and Future of Education.

To embed your network with more interesting elements you may host live or online presentations on topics suggested by your contacts. Elluminate is a great example that allows experts to share their own view points and perspectives. In fact, there are some universities that actually have virtual labs on SecondLife.

So, we see how the changing times have thrown to us many wonders of technology. Since cloud computing has eradicated the need for papers, digital world has introduced some effective learning methods. Before I wrap up, the last suggestion is to create a landing page that will consolidate all your accounts in one place…That’s all

About Author:

Lorena Alice is a reticent girl with an obsession with scarves and an intense passion for everything academic. Her passion led her to a prominent company Elite Dissertation, which she’s been serving for over 2 years.

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