Developing your Professional Learning Network

Jim Maloney

Jim is a primary school teacher and SLT member who's interested in pushing the boundaries with regards to teaching and incorporating new technologies where there is direct benefit to the children's learning.

Follow @mister_jim

Website: iammisterjim.blogspot.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ever wondered how certain teachers always seem to have new or more interesting ways of doing things in their classrooms? Chances are they haven’t been as innovative as other people seem to think they are. Chances are they have a Professional Learning Network (PLN).

So what does that mean in layman’s terms? It’s basically a support network from which anybody can share experiences, draw support or find resources. It contains a plethora of expertise across all stages of education in all parts of the world. My PLN is on Twitter.

I use my PLN as a tool for developing my professional practice, broadcasting the work in my classroom, highlighting any good articles or comments made by others and promoting or sharing events that I feel could have a positive impact on people and their development.

On a regular basis, I check in with people on Twitter and, although I set out with the aim of keeping the dialogue purely professional, over time, the conversations become more familiar. I think the best description of my understanding of a PLN is ‘A Global staffroom where there are always enough mugs & chairs for everybody’.

Through my PLN I have learnt about new technologies that have enabled learning opportunities in my class, I have made links with other schools, I have organised successful CPD events & broadened my own horizons.

Most importantly, the children have benefited from this. I have a sounding board for my crazy ideas – like getting 5 & 6 year old children to blog independently. I also have a core of experienced professionals who are prepared to help. Tony Parkin, Head of ICT development for the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust; BECTA; Jan Webb, Microsoft’s European Innovative Teacher of the Year; John Davitt, keynote speaker & educational guru; are all part of the same group.

This small change in approach has yielded more dramatic improvements to my own professional development that I could have imagined. I have tried and tested ideas that seem to be on the cutting edge – but have been proven by teachers.

Another immediate advantage is that people are prepared to help. Last year, a teacher needed something interactive for a Science Observation Lesson. I put a request out through my PLN and they responded within an hour with 5 different potential activities that they had used to good effect. 3 of them were from sites I’d never heard of. That is the power of the global community. If you are able to, I’d suggest you start creating your own PLN, it makes your life easier and your teaching better.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"