Personal Learning Network Evangelist

There has been so much change going on in my professional life this school year. When I was asked to do the Powerful Learning Practice, I was definitely interested, a little nervous, but definitely interested. I love professional development, I always have. I love the way professional development can recharge your batteries. When Sheryl Nussbaum- Beach and Will Richardson (the creators/owners of PLP) met with our group, they told us to be learners and not worry about changing a thing yet in our classrooms. How freeing that was! I was truly able to just read blogs and lurk (although not for long) on Twitter and enjoy this new world of technology and community. At first, it felt as though I was on a roller coaster ride passing by hundreds of technology choices. At first, Twitter felt like the party I was always late arriving to and how was I ever going to keep up?!  At first, I didn’t understand what being part of a real community was and that you cannot just be a taker but you also need to be a giver. Being a learner, I realized of course, also requires being a risk taker and wasn’t that what I wanted from my students? What I realized was that I could get off of the roller coaster ride and choose a couple of the technology tools I saw along the way and try the ones that would help me be a better teacher and of course, my students be better learners. And when I was ready, I could incorporate something else I had learned along the way.

However, the most valuable thing I am learning now is the power of being connected and having a personal learning network. I almost hate to say it because it’s such a buzz word right now but it’s so true, plns are invaluable really.  Having a community of professionals that I can reach out to has absolutely been the most valuable thing I have learned. It has helped me to remember that I need to be empathetic in this process of shift, that I am not alone and I really do not need to know everything. I have many people who can help me along the way. At first I was frustrated with the lack of movement or enthusiasm from my colleagues for all of the new stuff I was learning. Now, I am sharing the importance and value of creating a personal learning network with one colleague at a time. One at a time, I am sharing with teachers how to use Twitter, what is Symbaloo, what is Quadbogging, how did I Mystery Skype, how do I know this person or that person. It’s amazing and I truly feel like a personal learning network evangelist, as corny as that sounds, but it has been really rewarding. It’s not happening at the rate I would like but maybe this is how it’s got to be, slowly but surely, teachers at my school are opening up. Time is always a complaint and I totally get it, but you do make time for what is valuable, it’s very true. I am excited and anxious about what must be next in my journey of shift, but I am still looking forward to it!


One thought on “Personal Learning Network Evangelist

  1. Great post, Heidi! I love that title – Heidi Hutchison, PLN Evangelist. 🙂

    I’m glad our PLNs crossed and helped us to find each other. Whether Mystery Skyping or Quadblogging, it’s great to connect with you professionally, and to connect our students! As a fellow PLPeep, I completely understand how you felt going through the program.

    The great thing about the PLN community, is that there are always new folks joining – You establish relationships, learn from others, and then all of a sudden, you find that others are learning from you! On Twitter in particular, it seems, the educators are warm and welcoming, whether they’ve been “at the party” for weeks, months, or years!

    Looking forward to our future connected endeavors!

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