Here are just a few quotes from some smart people about making oneself available to learn and grow via a Professional Learning Network.
“Isolation is now a choice educators make.”
“To have thousands of fellow minds in your pocket via mobile devices is to have an immensely unfair advantage over humans who think alone.”
“Being a connected educator is the single most important thing I’ve done to transform how I teach. I have gathered and tried new ideas. I’ve learned, asked questions, and developed an amazing online, professional learning network.”
“I realized two important things at this conference. First, as leaders, we must take time to engage in specific learning opportunities that help to improve our craft. We spend so much time in our positions working to help provide learning and growth to our staff that we forget about developing ourselves specifically in our roles. Secondly, I was introduced to the incredible power of a professional learning network (PLN) to combat the isolation of leadership. Until that moment, I thought Twitter was just another social media tool to keep up with what the celebrities were up to at the moment. PIRATE principal Jay Billy taught me the ins and outs of using Twitter as a tool to connect and gain access to 24/7 free professional development.”
And here’s proof of the power. This morning several colleagues and I were talking about ‘fidelity.’ Did asking educators to attend closely to new materials mean we didn’t trust them? In reading Lead Like a PIRATE: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf, a cogent argument could be made to that point. However, we didn’t feel like that was from where we were coming. Trust was not the issue compelling ‘fidelity’. So we used the power of Twitter and our PLN to reach out to both of the authors. And we heard back from both. Consider that. These two authors have roughly 73,000 followers between them on Twitter. And we felt comfortable sending along a message with our thinking on ‘fidelity’, and they were kind enough to reach back. Amazing.
Here’s the exchange:
This would NOT have happened 4 years ago for me. I didn’t get the power of Twitter or a PLN. I thought Twitter was simply to take pictures of stuff and share it to 33 people. Wrong. And dead wrong.
If you are not making use of Twitter and a PLN, you are in danger of becoming illiterate. And it’s by choice. A little harsh, I realize, but I’m living the life of ongoing, on demand, learning, after 34 years in the education racket. And it’s wonderful.