Over the past three weeks I've put a lot of time and energy into building my own personal learning network. And the thing I most noticed was that it takes a LOT of time and energy. At times I even asked myself, "Why am I spending time doing this? Is it really worth it? No one really cares what I think, do they?" Good questions, huh? So let me answer them...
Why am I spending time doing this?
The answer to this question is simple...because I'm desperate for resources and who better to get them from than experienced educators! Over the years I've learned that the best experts for teaching advice are other teachers. There are a lot of people who call themselves "experts" out there, but only those who have been in the trenches really know what they are talking about. Twitter is the best way to get ideas and to find out about new resources. But what do you do when your Twitter following is so small? That's simple, too...find people to follow. And so I did. I've built my following list from 25 to over 500 in the last three weeks.
Is it worth it?
I can emphatically say YES! I have learned so much from reading the posts of others and from checking out new websites, browsing blog posts, and reading articles. The more I teach technology classes, the more I realize how much I DON'T know. My Twitter "experts" have given me a greater wealth of knowledge in the past three weeks than I was able to accumulate on my own over the past three years. Worth it? No doubt!
No one really cares what I think, do they?
This is a tougher one to answer. A big part of me wants to say "Yes" other people do want to hear what I have to say. If I'm totally honest with myself, I must admit it makes me feel good when I see my "followers" number increase. I feel that tiny bit of excitement when I get an email that says that someone else is following me on Twitter. But is getting a huge list of followers my number one reason for spending valuable time building up my PLN? No, it isn't. In the big scheme of things...it doesn't really matter. And while there may be a few out there who think what I post is of value, that's not my main motive. So I guess my answer to this question is this...It doesn't really matter. Take that you evil ego!
In light of all this I've come to one conclusion: I'm doing this for me. I want to make myself a better teacher. Nothing else matters. After all, it IS called a Personal Learning Network.
So to all of you who are a part of my PLN...