Coming into this project I was not very familiar with personal learning networks (PLN). I have heard of them before but never looked into them or knew what they were. However now that I have looked into them and do know what they are, I think they are a extremely useful tool and everyone that has not built one should do so. PLNs are a network of people that contribute to your professional development and knowledge. They are built through following people on various social media and internet sites that pertain to your field of interest. For example, I follow Simply Kinder on Twitter because I want to be a kindergarten teacher and they post good ideas on how to conduct class and organize your classroom.
As a teacher, PLNs can help you gain knowledge on a certain area of teaching that you are not familiar with. Maybe you want to learn more about project based learning. So, you consult your PLN and browse various blogs or websites that pertain to project based learning. You can also correspond with other experts in that field of teaching to see how they conduct their class. You can search the internet, follow blogs, follow sites, sign up for newsletters, etc. There are so many possibilities when building you PLN.
PLNs can also be useful to students in your classroom. In the video, A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment, the student talks about her PLN and how her teacher creates assignments based on her PLN through the website Symbaloo. Using Symbaloo, the the student has access to various websites that interest her. For example, the teacher asked the students to create a power-point presentation on venomous snakes and the young lady in the video used Symbaloo to complete the assignment. As a 7th grader she has already started to create a PLN that will be useful to her throughout her scholastic and professional career.
I have started to create a PLN of my own as well. I have signed up for various websites that were suggested to us in this class. I have a Twitter that is strictly used for educational purposes. I receive newsletters from Edutopia and Challenge Based Learning Community. I follow the blogs of the two teachers that we were assigned to comment on. Although, I have not received any feedback from them I hope to very soon. Also, I signed up for Symbaloo and made it my homepage because I think it a very cool and interesting website and I love how everything is right there on the home screen. I strongly suggest that everyone sign up for this website because it organizes all the websites, blogs, or social media sites that you follow right there on the home page. Furthermore, my PLN is still a working progress and I will continue to expand it over the course of my professional development as a teacher.