Throughout my COETAIL experience I have steadily been building my PLN. I began with Andre DeKoker and other people I had previous connections to. It’s always easier to approach friends and former colleagues than strangers. I was new to the idea of posting comments on blogs and other online forums (ok, I admit it, I had posted on Facebook), and I was nervous. Despite my command of the English language, I had the usual fear of posting and being judged by others for my content, grammar and presentation. As time went on, I add additional COETAILers to my reader as well as other tech bloggers. My PLN began to slowly take shape.
I moved into searching for information throughout the web and joining newsletters for teacher technology. I sought out help from online contacts and teachers at my own school to help expand my tech knowledge and keep me moving forward.
My latest excitement in my own PLN development was two recent emails at school. YIS is far from a tech savvy institution. Rarely is technology mentioned and I find most teachers are frightened of anything tech related (a fair fear as anything requiring electricity is liking to fail for large portions of the year). Yet twice this week I received emails sent to the entire staff highlighting tech topics. One was the article Flip Your Students’ Learning, which I was sent a scanned copy of, and the other related the use of iPads in the classroom. 7Ways to Use Your iPad In The Classroom got me excited as many of our students use iPads on a regular basis and have begun to consider how I can use them in my new role as the MS ESL teacher next year. But really it was seeing my pen and pencil school helping to expand my PLN that gave me hope.
My PLN has helped me move in a positive direction, support me through my rough patches, and remind me that we are not alone in this vast digital world.