Keeping Up – Growing My PLN

OK, I admit it. I’m an information junkie! I like reading and learning about new things. I’m also all over the place in how I gather this information.

GOOGLE+ – I never really got into Google+ or Google Circles. If current rumors are true that Google+ will be discontinued, I doubt I will worry about learning how to utilize it as a learning community.

GOOGLE HANGOUTS – I’m not sure how the demise of Google+ will affect Hangouts but I’ve enjoyed the Dear Myrtle hangouts I’ve been able to participate in this summer. Fortunately, she also records her hangouts and I can watch them on YouTube in the evenings during the school year.

PINTEREST – Every once in a while I will search Pinterest for ideas – particularly for bulletin boards or library displays. Or, when I’m researching a topic that involves a lot of graphics, I will create a board. Then, my Pinterest account will just sit there waiting for my next need for imagery.

TWITTER – This is one of my favorite places to garner information. I don’t have time to read my Twitter feed on a regular basis. However, when I get immersed in a topic, I love to search Twitter and connect with others discussing the same topic. My first experience with this was the Swine Flu Epidemic. Because of my interest in the global impact of the flu, I connected with a lot of genetic researchers around the world via Twitter. When I’m up early on Saturdays, I enjoy reading the #SATCHAT feed. The questions and responses shared by other educators cause me to pause and think about how I could implement a new idea or make a change. In the winter, Twitter becomes my go-to source for how a winter storm is affecting us by reading the #KSStorms and #KSWX tweets. Hootsuite makes following these topics a cinch since I have the searches already saved and just have to open the app on my phone or tablet.

FEEDLY – Sometime last winter, I switched from trying to read my Twitter feed to following some of my favorite bloggers on Feedly. Now, I get my morning information fix by reading Feedly and Tweeting the articles that I think would interest my followers. The drawback to Feedly is that I’m not accessing the same wealth of information I would encounter on my Twitter feed. However, this is manageable in the time I have available.

TEACHERCAST – Sometime last year, I decided to check out Teachercast – a live technology ‘podcast’. I spend my Sunday evenings in front of the TV (connected to the Internet) ‘attending’ my second church service of the day and then watching TeacherCast. This broadcast incorporates a variety of technology integrators from across the nation and guest speakers discussing a particular product or tool each week. I’ve picked up a lot of great hints over the past year on how to improve my usage of Google and other tech tools.

FACEBOOK – As long as my home computer is on, Facebook is probably open. Thus, it appears that I’m on it all of the time. Even though I’m not on it during most week days, I do enjoy the variety of information available on Facebook. This summer I discovered a lot of closed Facebook groups that are great learning communities. Most of these are genealogy related but the ability to ask a question and get an answer is truly amazing. I’m even participating in a 13 week ‘class’ via a closed Facebook group. Thus Facebook is becoming my go-to place for learning!

I still like the ability to network and learn provided by conferences. However, having my own personal learning community means I don’t have to wait a year for the next conference – I just have to access one of my online tools and join a community.

What’s your PLN tool?

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