As part of my Masters study into Connected learning, I am developing my Professional Learning Network (PLN) in the area of reading promotion within a school. This area is something I am particularly passionate about and in recent years as a primary school teacher, I have noticed a steep decline in the number of students reading for pleasure. As an aspiring teacher-library this deeply concerns me and without a resident teacher-librarian on staff in my current school, I wanted to learn more about how to build a culture of reading within my classroom.
I had been an early adopter of social media back in 2007, but had rarely used it for professional purposes and was more of a ‘lurker’ than an active contributor or participant (Jenkins, 2006). As a deeply private person, the fear of being judged or saying the wrong thing held me back from offering my own opinions or suggestions. What did I have to offer? I was only a classroom teacher after all. Inspired by this clip, I took the plunge into the world of twitter. It seems there were a lot of teachers out there just like me, who did have a lot to offer.
About a month into developing my PLN on twitter, I am surprised by how inspired I have become following the posts of other educators and professionals (Novak, 2015). It was exciting to see that there are others out there, all over the world, who are interested in the same topics and ideas as me. It can be isolating in a school environment where others do not necessarily share your same excitement or passion for a topic (Casas & Zoul, 2015). I have found connecting professionally with others online, to be a stimulating and energizing experience (Trust, Krutka & Carpenter, 2016). It can be addictive with so many interesting articles to read and interesting ideas to discover.
Slowly building my confidence, I began to share my thoughts on articles and comment on other people’s tweets. I was delighted and surprised when people liked and commented on my Tweets. I was surprised to find that I had gained 15 followers within the month. A particularly positive moment was when I built up the courage to ask for advice on how to update my classroom library and through my tweet being retweeted, I was given some useful tips and feedback. This then built my confidence enough to start blogging on this website.
Buoyed by initial success, I am now pushing myself to be more of an active participant in order to further develop my PLN. My next steps include setting up an instagram page to share snippets of my daily classroom practise and blogging on a more regular basis.
I look forward to seeing where my PLN adventure takes me next!