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How can you help new or aspiring teachers develop a PLN?

Colleges and universities

Hold workshops for students. Faculty and student organizations on college campuses can teach education students about the power of digital footprints (both 2.0 and 3.0) and how to begin to establish their own professional learning networks. Teach the tenets of professional online discourse and steps to forging a positive presence in a digital world. Provide opportunities to learn about web 2.0 tools to create and develop a professional learning network as teachers forge their teaching identity.

Share exemplars. Give education students powerful exemplars of students developing their identity online and connecting with other educators. Allow preservice teachers who have begun to develop their PLN to share their progress, stumbles, and successes.

Model the power of a PLN. Faculty can share how they use a professional learning network in their work and use that PLN in classes with education students. Consider opportunities to Skype with colleagues in other institutions. Pose questions in class to teachers on Twitter. Find ways that extend the classroom beyond the university walls to model the type of learning and instruction that can be happening in schools for teachers and their students.

Professional K-12 educators

Invite education students and new teachers to be part of your PLN. As preservice and beginning teachers continue to appear on Twitter and other social networks, follow them. Suggest them to others in your PLN. Suggest some key people they should follow. Not only is this a great way to pay it forward, increasing our professional connections with both experience and novice teachers can only strengthen your own PLN.

Share your war stories. For an aspiring or beginning teacher, being able to relate to the experiences of someone who has been at the same stage of their career and experienced the same triumphs and tribulations can provide the reassurance or support needed to persevere. Post tips for those just starting in their careers. Share anecdotes about the key learnings in your career. Comment on things you wished you would have known in your first years of teaching. By purposefully blogging, commenting, or posting in relation to some of our first teaching experiences, we can provide another level of emotional and practical support for our rookie colleagues.

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Title Annotation:professional learning network
Publication:Phi Delta Kappan
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2013
Previous Article:What size is your digital footprint? A powerful professional learning network can give a boost to a new teaching career.
Next Article:Just the facts: PLNs.

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