How do the attributes of the “Connected Educator” relate to the characteristics of the PLC? 0

This post is by Bob Slane and is crossposted here.

Being “connected” is all about developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) which informs your Professional Learning Community (PLC). The “Connected Educator” creates a PLN that provides pathways for: seeking out, following, sharing with, contributing to, and relying on groups that have common interests.
“Education” loosely defines the common interest that we as educators share, however, there are many aspects of education which might be one’s focus at any given time (i.e., organizational culture, curricula, materials, learning styles, technology applications, research, assessments, etc.). The importance of developing a PLN is that this network webs in many directions allowing one to make connections with those interested in the specific component about which information is desired at that moment. Each member of the PLN brings unique experiences and interests which allows connections to be made based on these. One is able to tap into and explore rich resources that others bring to the table due to their own interests or experiences on the topic. The more “connected” an individual becomes, the more likely there are people somewhere in the network who have knowledge, understanding and experience with a given topic in which an individual finds him or herself interested or in need of information.

Being a “contributor” to the conversation is the best way to develop this network. Sharing of one’s own ideas, opinions, experiences and resources helps others who are looking for this type of information.  If one is contributing, this individual is being noticed by others in the group and is more likely to be “followed”. Creating followers and following others builds the PLN, thus opening one up to a larger base of contributors.  A “connected educator” should desire to build an extensive Personal Learning Network in order to have ready access to those with common experiences. This will allow the individual to both validate their own experiences and grow from suggestions provided by others in similar situations or with related knowledge.