The slide I'm attaching represents the power of a strong PLN. It's a photo from our #ISTE12 panel: "Collaborative Mentoring for New Teachers."
The panel consists of: administrators, teachers, librarians, Edutopia bloggers, tech. coordinators, new teacher, etc... I think you'll recognize all of the people. :)
I have taught for 4 years. Within the last 18 months, I have been blogging and tweeting... my blog and social media reach have evolved into a mini-success because of my PLN. Here is my blog: http://www.kleinspiration.com and my Twitter handle: @KleinErin I've received many awards from my blog (seen on my right scroll bar) but most of all, I've learned. I also love the comments teachers send me:
Hi Erin -
Thank you so much! Your blog has been such an inspiration in my little first grade classroom! I was so motivated by u I wrote a grant in the beginning of the year for 5 iPads and 5 iPods! I wasn't selected, boo! ... But know that teachers are growing and changing their expectations of what technology integration can and should be in their classroom bc of u! Thanks again!
For me, this is what is is about... sharing and learning from each other. Teaching isn't what I do, it's who I am... it's a lifestyle. I find the time to do what I love and to always make it better. I look up to my PLN for what they have taught me, and as a new teacher I look forward to what they will continue to teach me each day. I try to pay it forward by sharing my learning with other teachers. Blogging helps me to reflect and have an archive of my favorite resources along with sharing them with other colleagues.
I hope this slide makes your presentation or even a blog post.
If I can provide you with any additional information, please let me know. I have really enjoyed following you for such a long time. It's an honor to potentially be a part of your presentation/and or blog. I'm excited to hear back from you.
Are you going to DC in September? I'd love to connect f2f as well.
Best regards and safe travels,
Meanwhile, I received another email this morning from the organizer of an upcoming conference where Sir Ken Robinson will be keynoting. She was given my name by dear friend, @thenerdyteacher. She's interested in having me attend the upcoming conference as a social media ambassador. Again, because of Twitter, these opportunities are opening doors.
I often get asked, "How do you have so many followers?" Though Twitter refers to people in your network as followers, they're actually peers and colleagues. It's not that I have thousands of followers; I have several friends and colleagues. I always answer this question by explaining that I invest a lot of time in my network. I don't simply post Tweets from my blog. I actually interact and engage. I participate in Twitter chats. I try to answer questions when I see them posted. I support other friends when they need help. I ask questions when I need clarification. It's a give and take. It is very social for me. It's a two way street. It's true, I've only been actively Tweeting for around 18 months. Prior to this, though I had an account, I forgot how to login. Once I kept hearing about Twitter at conferences, I figured I'd better access my forgotten account - most awesome decision of 2011.
Once I figured out how to login, my first challenge was to unlock the secret code of the @ sign and the # tag. It was frustrating, but I was seeing the advantages other people were discovering, and I was eager to have that same experience. Honestly, I felt like I was learning a foreign language. It was rewarding as I began to successfully learn how to navigate properly responding to people and initiate my own Tweets. I'll admit, I was a lurker at first (@web20classroom has a great post about this topic here). I think you have to be... I needed to see conversations being modeled (this I do phase of teaching). Then I slowly dipped my toes into the 'we do' phase and interacted with people. My final independent step of sending out my own Tweets was a bit scary. Would people respond to me? What would I Tweet? Who cares what I have to say? What if I say something stupid? Is there a permanent record of my Tweets? What if someone disagrees with my Tweet? Do I simply stay on the shore, or do I get my feet wet? Perhaps I should jump right in? I always try to run fast towards what scares me the most. I think it makes me a stronger person. So, a little over a year later... here I am.
These opportunities don't happen because I'm an expert. They happen because I put myself out there. I stay connected, and I share. I've only been teaching for four years. I have so much to learn still. That is exactly why I need my network. I rely on my network to keep me grounded and to share their experiences with me so that I can continue to grow. I'm not afraid to take risks and try new things. It is part of who I am. I grew up in an ever changing world (plus my dad was in the military - we moved a lot and I needed to adapt quickly). I learned quickly to adapt and be flexible - to have a vast toolbox to share. Because I network, I learn. There is no way I'd ever embrace an audience with the notion that I am an expert. I do present. I do travel across the country. I do host workshops and give talks in front of large audiences, but never as the expert - always as someone who was fortunate enough to learn something great and who is eager to share it with others so they can have a similar experience. I get so excited when my students do something wonderful or when I learn about a new tool. Why wouldn't I want to share that with others? After all... someone shared it with me. It's only right to simply pay it forward. That's the least I can do. My close mentor and friend, Lisa, taught me to share and always continue learning by staying involved. That's what I aim to do - for my students - because they deserve the best.
|Twitter... connecting educators from across the globe!|