Professional Learning Networks

This week’s article was a podcast entitled 5 Quick Ways to Build Your Professional Learning Network. The podcast covered a variety of different social media available, and methods to create a professional brand.

The main topics are:

  1. Find, Friend, and Follow
  2. Personal Branding
  3. Contributing and Creating
  4. Person to Person Networking
  5. Collaboration

Ed logoI would imagine that most people in the education program today have a good understanding of how to findpeople worth of following. Creating a personal brand is a different story. For the last few years I have been slowly working on creating a personal brand. One of the first steps is to create a personal avatar. This could be as simple as a professional photo, or a logo.

Because I’m a physics teacher, I have two different types of avatar. A fun cartoon version that I use for a logo around my website, and a photo of me dressed in a professional manner.

Part of personal branding comes contributing and creating. Keeping our profiles up to date is one thing, but creating useful content for other teachers, or answering questions and conturing lets a professional stand out. Twitter, linked in, and other social media allow for near instant contributions to the network of professionals.

As our professional learning network grows online, it should continue to grow in person. Workshops, education camps, and meeting are great places to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people! As we meet new people, we can connect digitally and further increase our online network, but with the added bonus of being able to contact the person an a personal level. Business cards with our avatar or logo further aid in our personal branding.

The last step is collaboration. Twitter offers the ability for hundreds of like minded people to chat about relevant and pressing topics. Issues can be worked on from the collective mind of ten thousand educators. Contributing in these not only increases your professional development, but builds yourself a reputation of a local expert and an active member of the culture.

This podcast was very enlightening. Although I have a twitter account, I never knew it could be used so productively. After listening to the podcast, I have a huge desire to go out and get my social media accounts up to date and start contributing to the network in order to build my own personal brand. I can now see how having a strong personal brand and a well established professional learning network can mean the difference between being on a sub list and getting a contract!

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