Miss Galvin Learns

July 3, 2011
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Developing my PLN

… or Learning to Navigate Twitter!

This year I am determined to develop my own PLN to support my learning and teaching practice. As such, I am taking part in the Edublogs Teacher Blogging Challenge “30 Days to a Whole New PLN.” Having tackled challenge #2, I am moving on to challenge #3. (I am working my way up to challenge #1!)

Challenge #3, written by Kathleen Morris, is about using Twitter to build a PLN.

I actually joined Twitter around the time it was considered the ‘next best thing’ since Facebook and it was probably while I was still at university, somewhere near the beginning of my teaching degree. At that point I didn’t use Twitter effectively and somewhere along the lines it got left in the wake of the other ‘important’ things I had to do.

Recently I had a great conversation with @UTess_13 – an Ultranet coach for my region. While we were initially discussing the Ultranet and how to get a group of preps (and their parents) online, our conversation drifted into other online tools and resources and she started to talk to me about how she used Twitter as a professional development tool.

Now, I’d heard of that before, but hadn’t seen it, or been involved in it, and while I followed a few of the same people as Theresa, that wasn’t how I used my account. But I was inspired. And that night I logged on for the first time in a long time, reset my account and made the resolution to use Twitter to learn.

Over the last couple of weeks I have found lots and lots of fascinating and engaging educators on Twitter and I have been inundated with links to resources and articles and ideas. I’ve become pretty good at sifting through the things that I’m interested in (and not so interested in). I’ve been saving links left, right and center and am falling behind on updating my Diigo with them.

Now to answer Kathleen’s challenge questions:

What are my initial impressions of Twitter?

I  am looking at Twitter in a completely different way, so my impressions now are different to my impressions a few years ago.

I think it’s great. I really do. It’s not perfect, and I think to expect it to be would to be doing it a great disservice. But it is what you make it. For me, at the moment, that means lurking and taking in the vast amount of information that is available. And while I’m certainly not a shy personal in online environments, I think lurking is the best way to start with a PLN on Twitter because it can be overwhelming.

The most overwhelming part, from my perspective, is that it seems like I’m late to the game. Everyone seems to know everyone; everyone has a rapport with everyone else… and I’m hiding in the corner trying to think of something intelligent to say!

As a result, I’ve posted sparingly myself, and participated mostly through reading and retweeting the posts that are of interest and importance to me.

Where am I hoping Twitter leads me?

Honestly? I’m hoping it leads me to bigger and better ‘things.’ I don’t want to limit what the ‘things’ are, because I think that limits my experiences. Who I’m following now and the reasons I’m following them may change and I might expand and find other interests. I hope to take the knowledge and resources shared and become a better teacher, a better learner and better connected in the vast community known as ‘education.’

I do hope that I become brave enough to jump into the amazing conversations I’ve seen, in time, and that I don’t make a complete fool of myself (it’s been known to happen)! That’s my big goal for 2011, now that I’ve embarked on this very rewarding journey.

So, thank you to Edublogs (and Kathleen) for the inspiration and the challenge!

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