As a part of a quick fire I had to do for my MAET year 1 class, we were asked to visualize our personal learning network. I chose to use Mind Meister as my digital tool to help me do some mind mapping to visualize my PLN. Developing and remembering the entirety of your PLN is important because these are the the people that you are going to learn from. They will help you to grow as an educator and individual. A personal learning network is your support system. They are the people you will collaborate with. These are the people who will help you enhance learning experiences for your students. It is necessary to have a PLN if you plan to better your teaching practice and directly model life-long learning for your students.
How do I expand my PLN?
Having an online presence can help your PLN grow. Be an active participant on social media. Create a website or blog. Your online presence will help you connect with countless amounts of educators. Having this presence of being known in a digital world is also modeling appropriate digital citizenship for your students. If you are active online, you are more apt to find out about professional development sessions, conferences, tweet ups, upcoming trends in education, events, and more. People who have things in common are drawn together. If educators communicate in a virtual world, the possibility for connections will exponentially increase.
Following the quick fire, I realized that I have a lot more connections than I though. This mind mapping exercise was very powerful because I was able to see my thinking and connections. I chose to map my PLN by separating it into four major categories: school, work family, and social media. I wrote down individual twitter handles and names because I wanted my map to be very detailed. I chose to map it in this specific way because I wanted to be able to revisit the map and use it later on. I want to continue adding to it. My map reminds me of an address book. It tells me who the person is and where I know them from. This will make it easier for me to contact them in the future.
A couple weeks later…..
Our class was given time to refine any one of our quick fire assignments we hadn’t had a chance to finish. I chose to revisit my PLN map. I chose to do this because after being overseas for a while, I truly felt like a part of the MAET family. I wanted to reflect on how my PLN has grown and changed. What was I able to add when I went back into this mind map? I was able to add old connections that I ran out of time to add before. I was able to add old connections that I hadn’t thought of the last time. I also was able to add all the new connections I’ve made through my MAET family.
Mind Meister was an easy tool to understand quickly. Going back to my map a second time gave me a chance to mess with more of the features of Mind Meister to see how I actually liked the tool. Before, I spent my time just getting everything “down on paper”. This helped me see how many people I actually can go to and that I have a lot of connections. It can be easy to forget who all of my resources are. It is busy and big and I don’t know that I necessarily like the design of it but because I designed it and filled it in with specifics. It isn’t visually appealing but it is informative. I think there could be better tools, such as Popplet, that could retain the data from my PLN in a more appealing way.