Thank You to my PLN

As an educational leader in an elementary school district, I have always considered myself a learner. In fact, the willingness to be a learner is one of the qualities I most value when I am considering hiring others.  For a variety of reasons, though, I had not been pushing myself to learn about and use social media. I will admit I had been resistant and even a bit of a skeptic believing social media was a tool used by teenagers and others with too much time on their hands.   I have paid too much attention to the media highlighting stories where social media has been used inappropriately to harm others, and I let them reinforce my views that this was not a movement I would soon embrace.

That all changed a few months ago.  Following an introduction to Twitter by a new and valued colleague, I went home with enough interest to at least check it out.  After a full year of prodding from my husband (an avid user of social media), I finally asked him to sit next to me for awhile and walk me through step by step.  He helped me create a Twitter account, showed me the basics of navigation, and started to help me understand how to maximize its benefits and use it effectively.

In just a short time, I have connected with principals, assistant superintendents, superintendents, teachers, education leaders and authors from around the globe; I have received valuable resources through articles, blogs, and education links; I have participated in hosted Twitter discussions with educators across the country and nationwide sharing resources and information about the qualities of effective educational leaders, strengthening PLCs, and the most effective ways to help a struggling teacher improve and grow in his/her craft.  I have learned to use my RSS Feed, and I access it daily to read great blogs posted by many of you in my PLN. I have listened to multiple perspectives and grown in my learning tremendously.  Someone in my PLN (I am so sorry I don’t remember which of you it was) summed it up for me in a tweet –

“Twitter – In 140 characters or less you can touch my heart or shift my perspective from 5,000 miles away”. 

Because of what I have learned from all of you in the past eight weeks I have been inspired to:

  • Attend the ISTE conference in my hometown
  • Wake up at 4:30 a.m. (at least once in awhile) to join #satchat
  • Help my 8 year old daughter create her first website and write her first blog posts
  • Revise the Educational leadership webpage in my district to include a blog, links to great resources for learners and leaders (many of which I have received from all of you), and a discussion page for various topics
  • Join the #learn 365 project, create the “SBUSD Year of Learning” website,  and launch the project
  • Write a reflection that I shared with our leadership team about where we were, where we are now, and where we are going
  • Create a collection of blogs, articles, stories, and quotes about learning, teaching, and leading that I will access and use in my role as a leader
  • Collaborate with other learners and leaders to create and get ready to launch a Twitter chat with a focus on district-level leadership

And now, I have started my own blog which I hope to use to document my reflections on learning and leadership.

Through my PLN, I have been reminded that as leaders it is important to be clear about our vision and what matters most, and I have taken steps to clarify this for my team; I have been inspired to help my district tell our stories and share them with the community, and I am determined to make social media play an integral role in our system.

As a learner I took a step outside of my comfort zone and am now learning in new and exciting ways.  Because of all of you in my PLN, I have been a better learner and in turn I will be a better leader. Thank you all for what you have done for me!

8 thoughts on “Thank You to my PLN

  1. Shelley,

    I have just started using Twitter and started a blog very recently as well. I can tell it is going to be extremely helpful for my learning and professional development as well. It was great to read about your beginning experiences and uses.

  2. Inspirational! Thank you for leading the way in SB. In a short time, I have also made gains in the way I look and value the use of technology in the classroom. A turning point was when you shared your daughter’s first blog in the parking lot, and when you and Amy supported my attending ISTE Conference 2012. It was my very first technology conference! Before that, I was not as confident in my technology skills. Last night I stayed up until 2 a.m. while my Brazilan exchange student who is a software engineer navigated me through some of his favorite Google tools. Small steps have been empowering. Last night I learned how to insert hyperlinks into my grade level planning which is now on Googledoc, a working and collaborative document. Can’t wait to share and hear what everyone learned at ISTE 2012. Again, thank you Shelley and Amy for leading the way. Last night I read Amy’s blog. Wow, loved it! My PLN has opened new “doors” to sharing and learning. After more than a 1/4 of a century as an educator and half a century in this world I still get excited about all the possibilities! 🙂 p.s. My first blog is under construction!

  3. Shelley – this was very inspirational. I, too, must start my blog as like you I have connected and learned from others in this fabulous PLN but need to take the next step with reflections of my learning and my leadership. Well done!

  4. Great entry, Shelley. I have been an avid learner this year myself in many aspects of social networking. Twitter has become my “go to” whenever I need to learn more about something related to edtech, Web 2.0, social networking, flipping classrooms, wikis, blogs, QR codes, etc., etc., etc.. I started a personal blog to get my feet wet in that arena. And YOU are inspiring me to step up my blogging professionally, as well. I’ll be sure to let you know when my first one is ready to go. I look forward to hearing more from you here and on Twitter.

  5. Shelley! Congrats on your blog! Okay, i am FBB when it comes to this:) what’s a PLN and RSS feed? Hee hee

  6. Shelley!! You are inspiring! I guess it is never to late- even for me. I am at the beginning of my journey into social media and it is because of people like you and Amy that show me the possibilities. Check back with me in a year.

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