How to Effectively use PLNs in your Classroom
- Apr 22, 2015
Are you sure you are employing the best teaching tools in your classroom? While some educators make the most of the available learning opportunities at their workplace, others might not be lucky enough to be able to do so. This necessitates the requirement of a proper learning network that enables you to collaborate with several other teachers associated with different educational institutions. Once you connect with them, you can easily work with all of them in unison with an aim to provide a holistic learning experience to students.
The idea is to extend your learning network much beyond the confines of your schools to experiment with various concepts of imparting education! This opens up golden opportunities for you to explore innovative options for teaching. Are you wondering how to make it possible? Well, you can accomplish this goal with the help of PLNs (Personal Learning Networks).
What is a PLN?
A PLN is a kind of learning network that helps you interact with innumerable educators over a common platform. While establishing this connection, here is what you must bear in mind: create your associations based on your learning aspirations and only with like-minded people from across the world. That way you can re-discover new avenues of teaching ideas that might motivate your students to improve upon their academic performance!
Let us now learn how you can effectively use PLNs in your classroom:
- Connect deeply: Connecting well with educationists from different corners of the world would stimulate the growth of your PLN. So, always be ready to reach out and build new connections. Why not join communities on some popular social networking sites that specifically focus on the concept of teaching? Just join a similar group and leave a comment on any relevant ‘post’ or discussion in LinkedIn or Facebook. And make sure your students become members of these groups and notice your activities within these groups.
- Contribute generously: The secret to gaining more knowledge is sharing your personal wisdom with the world. So feel free to share your opinions on teaching techniques or other ideas related to education on the Internet. I call it the ‘share-and-learn’ technique. Instead of merely ‘liking’ a Facebook post or ‘retweeting’ a particular tweet, go the extra mile by adding your personal viewpoint about the subject.
- Communicate effectively: Next, it is time for you to make your online presence felt. Your connections and acquaintances must be aware of your interests as well as certain details regarding your profession like your style of teaching. You will notice that as you continue sharing your thoughts about any subject, you gradually develop a bond with your associates. This expands your chances of receiving a greater number of responses to any question you post online!
Also recommended: 10 Essential Skills for Today’s Teachers.
Now let me introduce you to two online resources that have been proven to be quite successful in helping students learn their lessons faster. I can assure you that you can expand your PLN if you use them in your classroom:
- Join Classroom 2.0: As you already know, technology facilitates the process of learning to a great extent. So, join Classroom 2.0 that is an interesting social network connecting over 80, 000 members who are all associated with the teaching profession. The best part about this online community is that you don’t need to ‘add’, ‘follow’ or create ‘circles’ to grow your network. All you have to do to contribute is: share your own ideas or concepts about education.
Now introduce this online forum into your classroom. For instance, if you are teaching your students about a topic that has been discussed extensively in Classroom 2.0, do refer to their website.
- Use Google Plus: Another unique way you can use PLN is to utilize Google Plus. It helps you categorize the people you follow into distinct circles that range from professional to personal or plain acquaintances. This feature makes it possible for you to share your information only with a particular section of your network. For instance, if you post anything focusing on the latest trends in education, you can restrict your target audiences to a ‘professional’ network. This increases the visibility of your posts.
These are some of the most convincing ways in which you can employ PLNs while explaining lessons to all sorts of learners. It would add a Midas touch to each of your lessons, making them more interactive for students!
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