If you’re an educator of any level, you know the importance of a great personal learning network. It’s your professional lifeline in the digital age. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, administrator, or any other form of educator. A personal learning network sustains and nurtures you in many ways.

Developing your own personal learning network gives you flexibility to get information on your own terms.

You’re no longer only limited to professional opportunities that your school provides. Social media and other online tools have broken down the barriers to learning. This is just as true for teachers as students. You have much more control in your own professional development nowadays. So what are some of the best tools that can help you?

6 Tools for Building a Personal Learning Network

Let’s look at some of the finest avenues for support in sharpening your career and craft. These are some of the best tools out there for perfecting your personal learning network.

LinkedIn

linkedin-icon-logo-vector-400x400It would be a crime not to mention LinkedIn when talking about professional development. That’s why this one heads the list. It’s true blue and made just for you. LinkedIn is currently the world’s biggest professional network.

They boast more than 400 million members in 200 countries and territories worldwide. They connect professionals everywhere in every field of expertise. It gives you access to people, opportunities, news, and insights to help you grow your success.

Teachers adore LinkedIn because of its scope of community. LinkedIn’s Becky Krill has a great list of the top LinkedIn groups for educators to explore.

Twitter

Twitter-iconThis microblogging website is a great starting point for teachers. The key to following people on Twitter is to focus on those whom you want to emulate. Follow too many people and the information flow can be too much to digest. It’s a learned skill to be able to scroll through hundreds of Tweets for information that is important to you.

Another tip is to ask questions to the right people. Sometimes throwing out a question into the Twittersphere yields no results. The trick here is to pick your battles. Locate the best professionals in the field and tweet them a quick message. You stand a better chance of being guided in the right direction.

EdWeb.net

edweb-icon-smallThis is a professional social and learning network specifically for educators and other leaders of education innovation. Its members are teachers, faculty, administrators, and librarians at preK–12 schools and post-secondary institutions.

It offers some fantastic personal learning network features. They have great free professional learning programs. The feature-rich site has Web 2.0 tools for every educator’s needs. They even offer personal training and support for educators embarking on edtech adventures.

Powerful Learning Practice

plpbadgesmThis group has been in the professional development biz since 2008. It’s personal online learning for teachers at its best.

You can take self-paced courses, instructor-led courses, and browse digital books. They have an impressive list of schools they’ve worked with in countries all over the world.

Educators can learn anytime, anywhere with what interests them. Topics of note include blended learning, tech-infused lesson plans, Google Apps, Web 2.0 tools, and lots more. They also connect you with a community of learners just like you. This isn’t a free program, but it allows teachers to earn valuable education credits.

Classroom 2.0

class2.0-iconThis is an online community discussing technology in education. It was created by Steve Hargadon. Classroom 2.0 is a free community-supported network. If you’re interested in Web 2.0 tools, social media, and other classroom technologies you can join some great discussions here.

Applying for a membership to access their features and discussions is free. It goes through a short approval process. While you wait you still have access to many great things on the site. These include blogs, forums, recordings, and the Learning Revolution Project.

The Educator’s PLN

educators-pln-titleThis is a Ning community created by Thomas Whitby. He is the author of the book The Relevant Educator. His site and blog are dedicated to the professional development of educators all over the world. Members can join chat groups, explore videos and resources, and read user blogs. There are currently almost 20,000 global educators on this site and it’s growing all the time.

Explore Our Own Personal Learning Network

We have another great platform for personal learning network perfection. The Solution Fluency Activity Planner is a global community of educators just like you. It’s a great way to connect with professional learning in the coolest way you can imagine.

Our Activity Planner community offers thousands of inquiry- and project-based lesson plans for you to explore, use, and share. Join over 18,000 global educators now and plan your best learning adventures yet.




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