Before I delve right into the reasons why I have mad love for my PLN, let me explain who exactly is in my PLN. When I first started teaching in the mid 90’s (that was just a few years ago, right?), my PLN was limited to those whom I directly worked with; those teachers in my building. Now my PLN stretches across the nation and across boarders. While I still enjoy, and learn much from, collaborating with those at my site/district, I often turn to Twitter for help, collaboration, and/or ideas. I also belong to several communities on Google+, thus widening my network. So when I say that I have ‘Mad Love For My PLN’, I’m talking about hundreds of people.
Now getting back to my story. Recently I have started video taping the school announcements. I have 5th graders read, record, and upload the ‘Morning News’. This was the brainchild of a Kinder teacher, Ellen Lynch. One of the biggest issues I was having were the actual announcements. The old way of doing things required teachers, and students in some cases, filling out a form in the office. I wanted to make it more streamlined and efficient. So what did I do? Well, I turned to a small portion on my PLN – Manhattan Beach CUERockStar Teachers. Yeah, mad love for these folks.
I reached out to this amazing group of educators. I explained the problem and was given a few great solutions. In the end, I chose to use a Google Spreadsheet Add-On, AutoCrat. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s great, but really, did you need to blog about that?” Yes, yes I did. I needed to blog about this for a few reasons A) My issue was solved within 24 hours. Not only did they provide their thoughts, but Reuben Hoffman also provided me with resources. B) I had a Google Hangout (GHO) with Alice Chen, Karl Lindgren-Streicher, and John Miller. What started out as just sharing thoughts and ideas, and me realizing I solved the problem already, quickly turned into a 45 minute talk about Minecraft. When you have a Minecraft Guru/Master/Ninja/all around awesome guy like John in your midst, you take advantage of his wisdom. C) EVERYONE has access to this type of support. D) It’s this support and collaboration that gets me excited, inspired, and and ready to try new things.
So yes, I did need to share my ‘Mad Love’ for these amazing people. I am blessed to have them in my PLN. And if you don’t already have these people in your PLN, you need to jump on Twitter and Google+ now and start learning from them now!