Friday, November 22, 2019

The Power of a PLN

"Just close your door and teach." These words were well-meant when they were spoken to me during my preservice years over 20 years ago. They were meant to inspire confidence in our ability to manage student learning and be autonomous. But over the past 20 years of my career I have learned a valuable lesson: Open the door! No man (or teacher in this case) is an island. In this profession, there are so many things to learn and know, that we need one another's support and guidance. This is why building a Professional Learning Network is so important.

My Professional Learning Network has contributed to my professional growth over the past several years in a tremendous way. I have been introduced to new web tools, new ways of thinking, and have been a part of collaborative conversations with people from all over the world. As an educator, I believe that growing my PLN is one way to continue my growth and effectiveness, not just in my classroom, but within the education community.

During the course of this workshop, my PLN has now grown to include podcasts and RSS feeds. I had never really listened to or created podcasts, but through this workshop I can see the benefits of short audio broadcasts. I'm also excited to have been introduced to a tool for subscribing to RSS feeds. When my Google Reader closed down many years ago, I was frustrated. I had spent quite a long time creating feeds of my favorite blogs. The prospect of starting over was not something I looked forward to I didn't. This workshop has reminded me of the enjoyment and learning I gained through those feeds and provided me a simple way to start organizing them again.

Utilizing RSS feeds and podcasting are two ways I plan to continue growing my PLN. I plan to do a few more podcasts and just see if that's something that would be beneficial to others in my field. I'm also toying with the idea of using podcasting in the classroom. It would be a great way to meet speaking and listening standards, and I know my parents would love a weekly update delivered by their child. When I implement these ideas, I will chronicle them on this blog and on Twitter so I can share with the education community and further their professional growth. Perhaps I could share within a Twitter chat or on a popular hashtag thread. That will invite many comments and opportunities for collaboration with colleagues.


  1. Farrah,
    You got my attention with your introduction; you seem to be a very creative person. I love your comment “open the door! No man (or teacher in this case) is an island” that statement is so true. Education takes an entire community.
    I also agree with your comments about how PLN can not only contribute to the classroom but also connect an entire community of educators. I have been an educator for 27 years; I can assure you that some of my best practices comes from collaboration with other teachers.
    I am also interested in adding podcasting into the classroom setting. I work with high school students. I think podcasting would be a good way for teachers and other staff members to communicate with the parents and students. Teachers could use podcasting to send out make-up or sub information, as well as, classroom announcements. Administrators could use it to make school announcements, stream fundraiser information, broadcast emergency information or school calendars. By using podcasting, the entire community would be able to stay informed about school events.
    My question is how are you going to educate the parents? Are you going to have parent meetings? What about the families that cannot afford internet connection, how will you contact these parents? Will you offer professional development to teachers? How will you deal with teachers who are not tech savvy?
    I really enjoyed your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Farrah, you said "I have learned a valuable lesson: Open the door! No man (or teacher in this case) is an island. In this profession, there are so many things to learn and know, that we need one another's support and guidance. This is why building a Professional Learning Network is so important."

    This is a very powerful yet profound statement! For so many years teachers haven't wanted to share under the mentality "I want to be the best." but this is actually detrimental. It shouldn't be about us, it should be about the students and ensuring they all have access to the best ideas and plans.

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