This is a blog post version of my talk this morning at the Fleming College Spring Teaching & Learning Day. I spoke about how using Twitter can help you grow a professional learning network. And maybe a little bit about how PLN building is not a shmoozefest just for your own personal benefit. It can and should also be of service to others.
I only had 25 minutes, and I’m writing this before it happens, so here everything is in a more lasting format. What I hope happens is that we, the people reading this and those in attendance can hatch ourselves a nice, juicy PLN that leads to innumerable mutually beneficial connections.
For starters, here are the slides I used. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure situation here. As I lay this out in blog format, I’m going to have to choose the pathway for us. I hope that’s ok.
I choose to start with “Twitter is a Sauce”.
What I mean by that is that if your PLN is a stir fry, then Twitter is the teriyaki. The protein and veggies are friendly, shary people, communities, and organizations. It’s also things like podcasts, blogs, sites, courses, conferences, events and more. Twitter helps them stick together and turns them into something tastier and more fulfilling.
We don’t even need to take my word for it. Here in this post by Sarah Wendorf, as part of her work in the Ontario Extend mOOC, are no less than 18 ways, with awesome examples, how she uses Twitter to make that stir fry for your heart and mind. And many of those ways are not for Sarah’s sole benefit. Most of them offer her own expertise and ideas and access to her PLN in service to others. Saucy!
Okay, we are ready for our next path. I choose to go to “Sweet Tweetin'”
The Sweet Tweetin’ section is your basic “what exactly can we do with a tweet” 3 minute tutorial on how twitter works. I tried to find a couple of tweets with a lot going on so that we could break it down and see what can happen. I found this one which includes an original tweet with an image and a link, a quote retweet, tagged people, likes, retweets, a reply. This gives us plenty to look at. You can do a lot with a tweet.
A second busy tweet to look at is this one which included a Twitter moment (which represented a conference presentation that was held ON Twitter), some hashtags, another quote retweet and tagged people:
These were just examples of the things you can do. It didn’t hurt that the tweets themselves were about things I hoped were of interest to the attendees to check out, hopefully serving as an example of Twitter being saucy.
I guess now would be a good time to see what the No Problems Here choice is all about. Is that a herring?
I hope we survive this pathway.
Go check out slides 9-11 in the slide deck to see what happened there. It’s just a reminder that Twitter is not always sunshine and lollipops. Let’s go back and try again. “Working the Net” next okay with everyone?
Working the ‘net’ is seeing what we can do with our PLNs. What can we get out of it? What can we make it do? For starters, we can ask it for help:
I once asked two people in my PLN directly for some Open Education Slide decks to work with. What resulted was this collection of slide decks from about 30 fabulous people and orgs that advocate for Open Education. There are probably 1000+ slides to work with in there. Nice work, PLN!
I also wanted to show how you can offer access to your PLN to others. It will still benefit you to find out what your PLN can come up with for answers to a question posed by a friend. This one just took a quote retweet:
Look through the replies and follow threads and you’ll see that now McMaster has like 30 awesome books to order for their Teaching & Learning unit and that I am now part of a book club with some awesome folks in Oklahoma.
Okay now we have no choice but to head to “Follow”ship. What’s that?
“Follow”ship is a short fellowship in following people, in order to kickstart a PLN, right here and right now. I started by going over a few things that I have found via twitter that I treasure. You can check those out in the slide deck.
There’s nothing left to do now but make our PLNs grow by attacking this twitter list – PLN Kickstart List – with a whole lot of pressing of the “follow” button. The link takes you to the member list, so you can follow the heck out of everyone on the list that you’d like. DO IT!
The list includes any of those attending the talk in person that I could collect and anyone mentioned in any of the slides. I hope this list amps up a whole whack of networks. You want on the list, too? Ok! Pop your name in here.
I find that the PLN makes the work that we do less lonely, so I hope this talk and this post can serve to help you make some new connections that will work for all of us. I’m happy to connect with you.
Want to go deeper? Do today’s Daily Extend, today’s involves that same PLN Kickstart List and takes it a step or two further.
featured image credit:”Hatch!” flickr photo by chidorian https://flickr.com/photos/chidorian/173712147 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license