By Sarah McKinney
Welcome back! It’s good to see you here at Saints IgnitED. From August 2013 to April 2014, we ran three iterations of the #CreateaPLN 30 Day Challenge. The goal of the challenge was to expose each participant to technologically-based opportunities for online professional learning network (“PLN”) creation through a series of web-based challenges. While interacting with other educators through educational blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, and Learnist, participants diligently responded to surveys and submitted comments through the Challenge’s Google Site.
This post’s purpose is twofold: to provide our readers with some of the Challenge’s survey and anecdotal results we’ve been saving up over the past year (*drumroll please*) and to inform new readers who find themselves here as a result of our Washington State University TECH-Ed Conference poster presentation QR code. We will be presenting on the development of online professional learning networks for professionals in all fields.
We hope to see you there on Thursday, September 25 and Friday, September 26 in Pullman, WA!
“I enjoyed this challenge. I never thought of blogs as a source of learning new things. I read the blog post of Lisa Dabbs on 5 tips to foster a love for #Reading. I loved that some of the things I would want to use in my classroom like reading aloud to the students or having a classroom library were listed as things that a teacher can do to foster a love for reading.” – Monique O.
“The more I use twitter the more impressed I am with the connections you can make! It gets easier the more I use it too. Keep it up guys!” – Sharon R.
“Twitter will fit like an old pair of boots in a couple weeks. Re-tweeting a popular post with embedded hot links and hash tags can lead to spam, so I use it sparingly. Nice tool when you run across a real gem.” – Glenn T.
“Loving the twitter challenges. Always thought twitter was useless until starting to create my PLN. I have already connected with other teachers from around the country and have found lots of useful info.” – Alexzandra C.
“There are some music educators that I love that I can’t find on Pinterest, which bums me out. But I’ve started following a few people that have similar music education boards with a ton of pins, so that’s definitely helpful. I like Pinterest, and I can’t believe I didn’t think to put up a string pedagogy board until now. Pinterest, it’s not just for recipes and weddings….:)” – Lisa P.
“I took this opportunity to really push myself to connect with users who I didn’t know personally, which was a little weird for me, but, hey, that’s the whole point of this, right? I’m definitely starting to feel more comfortable on Learnist. The iPad app is awesome and I’ve been using that a lot more than the web version.” – Breanne S.
“First of all, I was surprised that how many teachers were on twitter and blogging sites! This PLN Challenge gave me fresh eyes to use blog, Pinterest, and twitter for educational purpose. I have used couple of websites we have been through for my personal uses, but I feel so much connected with other educators since I opened my new blogs focusing on education. Without PLN Challenge, I may think that I will try these blogs later someday when I feel needed. I am so glad that I had a chance to go through all these now. I am ready to roll!” :-) – Hana K.
“Before the PLN challenge I was very closed minded about using social media. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it because having a facebook previously, I knew I was unable to be disciplined enough to avoid it and study. This challenge has really opened my eyes to using social media as an outlet for sharing useful information. I’m glad I took this challenge because now I know how to use social media cites to better my understanding of teaching in such a way that it’s professional rather than casual.” – Danielle C.
“I definitely grew my PLN through Twitter by connecting with educators and educational organizations. As far as Twitter goes the biggest benefit I get is by following the various educational organizations such as Nat’l Geographic Education. It is through these connections I get current event info that is beneficial as an educator.” – Ahna J.
If you are interested in learning more about the research behind online professional learning networks, we encourage you to browse our reference list.
Arnold, N., & Paulus, T. (2010). Using a social networking site for experiential learning: Appropriating, lurking, modeling and community building. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 188-196.
Bauer, W.I. (2010). Your personal learning network: Professional development on demand. Music Educators Journal, 97, 37-42.
Beach, R. (2012). Can online learning communities foster professional development? Language Arts, 89, 256-262.
Donne, V., & Lin, F. (2013). Special education teacher induction: The Wiki way. The Clearing House: A Journal for Modern Junior and Senior High Schools, 86(2), 43-47.
Duncan-Howell, J. (2010). Teachers making connections: Online communities as a source of professional learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41, 324-340. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00953.x.
Gunawardena, C.N., Hermans, M.B., Sanchez, D., Richmond, C., Bohley, M., & Tuttle, R. (2009). A theoretical framework for building online communities of practice with social networking tools. Educational Media International, 46, 3-16.
Kim, H.J., Miller, H.R., Herbert, B., Pederson, S., & Loving, C. (2012). Using a Wiki in a scientist-teacher professional learning community: Impact on teacher perception changes. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21, 440-452.
Lawless, K.A., & Pellegrino, J.W. (2007). Professional development in integrating technology into teaching and learning: Knowns, unknowns, and ways to pursue better questions and answers. Review of Educational Research, 77, 575-614.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2009). Creating effective teaching and learning environments: First results from TALIS. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/school/43023606.pdf.
Polly, D. (2011). Teachers’ learning while constructing technology-based instructional resources. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42, 950-961.
Ranieri, M., Manca, S., & Fini, A. (2012). Why (and how) do teachers engage in social networks? An exploratory study of professional use of Facebook and its implications for lifelong learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43, 754-769.
Sie, R.L.L., Pataraia, N., Boursinou, E., Kamakshi, R., Anoush, M., Falconer, I., Bitter-Rijpkema, M., Littlejohn, A., & Sloep, P.B. (2013). Goals, motivation for, and outcomes of personal learning through networks: Results of a tweetstorm. Educational Technology & Society, 16(3), 59-75.
Woods, A.M., & Weasmer, J. (2002). Maintaining job satisfaction: Engaging professionals as active participants. The Clearing House: A Journal for Modern Junior and Senior High Schools, 75, 186-189.