We are, by nature social beings who are constantly trying to make sense of the world through our interactions with others. It is therefore no surprise that we learn best when we learn from and with others. As educators, taking an active role within a professional learning network can be beneficial for our professional development. Below are some reasons why networking with fellow teachers in your region or around the world would be beneficial and some suggestions on how to begin.
Professional learning networks are important to educators because:
- we can share each other’s practices and hear each other’s stories to avoid local blindness
- we keep up with change, innovation and technology as we use technology to enhance our networks.
- we have a place to reflect on our practice and improve it. Feedback from others will be helpful for reflection to improve our teaching and learning practices
- we can build shared understandings of concepts and topics that are being discussed within the network.
To start networking and to maintain your network the following platforms are suggested for you:
- Blog: The most ideal platform to share current practices, not only for your inner circle but also to wider audiences (unless you prefer to set it up to be private)
- Twitter: Create a special hashtag for your community conversation which will empower communication or join a conversation on twitter using some popular hashtags e.g. #edchat, #pypchat etc.
- Facebook: Great for keeping in touch with others since many people have Facebook accounts. Create a Facebook group for social bookmarking and for sharing resources in your network.
- Google+: Follow famous people, join a community, keep updated on popular topics using the power of Google apps including Google hangout, Youtube, Blogger and Google drive.
- Flickr/ Instagram/ Pinterest: Great visual galleries for your network use.
- LinkedIn – professional learning network platform which provides a more formal look and context.
Personally, I’d suggest a blog as a good starting point for a professional learning network. It’s one of the reasons why we started this PYP Dunia Blog…how about you?
Yan Yulius – PYP Coordinator at Sekolah Ciputra