Many teachers within a school are used to asking each other for help. Teachers are usually very willing to help each other with instructional strategies, classroom management techniques, and other slices of a teacher's professional life.
But what about when a teacher goes home and has no peers to ask for help or advice? More and more teachers are turning to the WWW and creating an online, personal learning network (PLN). The PLN, as defined by the Educational Technology Guy, can extend beyond your peer teachers at school, it can encompass Web resources and teacher-based discussions in online forums.
As you can see from the graphic above (courtesy of this blog) here are many, many resources from which you can choose to focus your professional learning. One person's PLN will be very different from another's PLN. A middle school science teacher's PLN would focus on sites related to middle school instruction, classroom management, as well as lower-level science, whereas a secondary English teacher would be very different.
A few PLN sites are here:
- The Educator's PLN: http://edupln.ning.com
- Classroom 2.0: http://www.classroom20.com
- Google for Educators: http://www.google.com/educators
- Edutopia (Please view the "Community" menu at the top & consider "Liking" Edutopia on Facebook): http://www.edutopia.org
- PBS Teacher Connect: http://www.pbs.org/teachers
Lastly, here's one teacher's take on how she was able to create and thrive in an online-based PLN. She presents the 8-step system that she went through here.
Please explore the WWW for PLNs that might be of use to you. It's truly a great way to enhance your teaching! If you find something worthwhile, please comment on this Blog post and let us know what you've found!