Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) are a means of collaborating to learn more about any given topic. Unlike school-based Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), or district-based Learning Teams, PLNs are not limited by geography. Members of PLNs use technology and social media to share idea and resources to learn and collaborate with teachers, administrators, and experts all over the world.
PLNs are an amazing way to connect with others who share your passions. They offer fresh ideas and diverse perspectives. They not only help participants share information and resources, they can also create opportunities for participants to build relationships by chatting about what is going on in their classrooms. It's truly invigorating.
There are many ways to start, or join PLNs:
- Create a Twitter account - This is a great way to find other professionals and groups who share your interests. There are many Twitter users who are interested in UDL. If you are new to Twitter, I'd suggest starting out by searching for "UDL". This will generate a list of users you can follow. When you follow someone, their tweets appear in your newsfeed. These tweets are often full of useful information, such as blogs, articles, links to websites, or resources that you can check out. There is no shortage of information on Twitter!
- Join Twitter chats - Some of the users you follow may post the time and date of chats on topics that interest you. You can also search for chats or tweet questions about chats on topics of interest. I stumbled on #udlchat, and for half an hour weekly the chat facilitator asks questions and all of the participants tweet their responses. It's a great way to learn. They also post links to websites, webinars, and other useful resources.
- Join a Facebook group - you can search for terms of interest (e.g. UDL), and find groups that post information about it. Or you could start a page of your own, and invite your friends to join.
- View webinars - these are videos and/or presentations that you can view online. You may search for a topic of interest on a search engine (e.g. "UDL webinars), or you may find out about them from a Twitter chat, on your Twitter newsfeed, or from friends.
- Blogging - You can follow blogs (like this one!) or start one of your own!