Last week I delivered an after school session about the value of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) to a handful of colleagues who had signed up. I had considered doing one as part of our CPD programme last year, but bottled it. Towards the end of last academic year when the call came for volunteers to deliver sessions (we opt in to three twilight sessions in lieu of a disaggregated Inset day) I bit the bullet and put myself forward for a session on Building a Personal Learning Network using Social Networking. In retrospect, maybe I could have thought of a snappier title.
I was more anxious about it than I know rationally I should have been. It’s just that I’ve sat through enough sessions thinking “Who does s/he think s/he is?!” to imagine that nobody would be thinking the same about me, and I’m thin skinned enough for that thought to really bother me.
Anyhow, nine colleagues turned up after school on Tuesday. I hope I got across the fact that I hadn’t put the session on as a “hey look how great I am” ego-fest, even though I did chuck in the handful of examples of webby things I’ve done with kids that seem to have gone down well. I felt it was important to show some of the things I’ve learned from developing a PLN that have made on impact on classroom practice to give a context and sense of purpose to the session. I also introduced Edmodo as an immediately practical tool that can be used for networking with students, and because I thought for the very un-techy ones it might be a bit less alarming way in than immediately putting something out there in public in the way Twitter does. You can see some of what went on that bit of the session here (just to betray that sense of security!).
The Prezi that I used is below. Some of it may be a little mystifying without my accompanying commentary. I’m adding bits of explanatory text here and there as I come back to it now and again.
So, was the session a success?
A couple of colleagues have started using, or re-using Twitter, (@emsiwemsi & @Nad1neB) while @antmcride and @mariedarwin signed up but haven’t tweeted yet. Maybe you could give them a tweet and see if it wakes them up! @mbelleini by contrast not only began to use his new Twitter account, but was also moved to write his first blog post: http://mbbamused.blogspot.com/
Of the nine participants, seven filled in the feedback and their evaluation was largely positive:
Of course the two who didn’t return the form may have found the session useless for all I know, but I’ll take “It has reignited my joy of teaching” and “I think this should be introduced to all staff” as indications that it was worth the effort.
If nothing else, it’s given me a bit more confidence to start sharing more of what I’m learning from my external PLN with my colleagues in school.
(The big question now, is ‘how?’