Professional Learning Networks (PLNs)
I love this idea.
Love love love it.
First, I really love what I do for a living; I love watching students making sense of the world, I love working with colleagues on projects, and I love professional dialogue. That's a whole lotta love!
For the uninitiated, a Professional Learning Network, or PLN, is your own specially selected network of bloggers, tweeters, posters, and colleagues who ask for help and share information on what interests them. There are not necessarily close friends, or colleagues in your school, but may be individuals who have a reputation as good aggregators of information, or observers of trends, or staters of opinion.
Three years ago, when I made a Twitter account, I didn't do much with it. In fact, it took me ten months to make my first tweet. It has only been in the last couple of months since reading about PLNs on Edmodo that I returned to Twitter to see what was up. I soon identified some hash-tags (words preceeded by the pound sign: #education) that were active and started to recognize active tweeters (at symbols followed by a nickname: @milesmac). You can "follow" the individuals and search the hash tags to collect relevant tweets about trends, learning/teaching strategies and experiences, web tools, and blogs.
I've been using Twitter on the iPad and selecting the READ LATER option for links to sites. The InstaPaper app lets me read these longer articles when I have time and off line, which is convenient.
There are already myriad instructional sites showing how to get up to speed with Twitter and explanations of PLN's. I guess I'm just singing their praises here encouraging other educators to hop on board.