I believe I am at Stage 1 (Immersion) of Utecht’s 5 stages of PLN adoption (Utecht, 2008) – I feel driven to find out more and particularly to check my Twitter and Yammer feeds at least daily. But I am beginning to drop some Twitter “follows” that aren’t specific enough for my interests and to narrow my focus, so think I am moving into Stage 2 (Evaluation). I’m also having Stage 4 (Perspective) moments, particularly when family demands are high.
My PLN consists of:
- teaching colleagues in my school and professional development providers. These are the people I go to day-to-day for professional advice and in some cases, for personal friendship.
- professional blogs, which I manage through the use of RSS feeds.
- MEd(TL) students and lecturers
- membership of the OZTL-NET list-server
- educators on Twitter (only joined since beginning INF506) who I ‘follow’ and educators who tweet using hash tags such as #tlchat and #austl
- NSW Department of Education colleagues on Yammer (joined in late 2010) – I now belong to several Yammer interest groups
The impact of this rapid expansion of my PLN in the past few months, since joining Yammer and Twitter, has had both positive and negative effects on me professionally and personally. These are:
- connection with like-minded colleagues local, nationally and globally
- exposure to national and global trends in education (expanding my universe)
- opportunities to attend professional development activities I wasn’t even aware of before (e.g. online conferences)
- sense of community – these people are interested in the same things as me, have the same questions as me and struggle with the same issues as me
- inspiration – every time I check my Twitter or Yammer feeds on my mobile phone (which I do at least every couple of days) I have a “wow” moment
- Lack of time to explore more deeply – as my network has expanded, I don’t have time to follow up every lead
- Frustration with moving from inspiration into practice – opportunities to explore web 2.0 tools with students are limited by filters and my current status as a casual TAFE teacher
- There is never enough time to follow up during working hours, so tension develops when my professional demands conflict with my family commitments
Gaps in my PLN
- how to develop e-learning programs and related tools (e.g. Moodle)
- how to engage ‘at risk’ learners using web 2.0 tools
- Practicalities of day-to-day TL work in primary schools
Utecht, J. (2008, 7 January 2011). Stages of PLN Adoption. http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption.