Extending my PLN through Twitter

My adventures in creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is only weeks old. However, through OntarioExtend – the modules, the blogging and the Dailies, I already have a fruitful PLN growing.

First Steps:

Photo by Daniel Hjalmarsson on Unsplash
  • I began with the Daily Extend. I created one and tweeted it. Then I watched for people to either tweet a Daily or like a Daily. If they did, I followed them.
  • I created my first blog and added it to the ExtendWest blog feed. Then I read other blog posts that showed up and found those folks on Twitter and followed them.
  • I attended two conferences in early May, the Open Education Summit 2018 held in Windsor, Ontario and the OntarioExtend’s ExtendWest Kick-off event held in Sarnia, Ontario. I added people I met to twitter. I tweeted about the events and searched #oes2018 and #ExtendWest and added people who were also tweeting about these events.

Second Steps:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Then I started cleaning up:

  • I did not follow back everyone who followed me. When someone follows me, I check them out first. Is this person just looking to increase their follower count or do they have something interesting to offer me? If the person is creating new tweets (not just retweeting) and has interests in common with me – particularly in teaching, learning, technology, professional development… I follow them back.
  • I checked the list of people I follow and thought about why they are on the list. If I couldn’t come up with at least one good reason, I unfollowed them.
  • I discovered Twitter lists. I love lists. After I add someone, I put them in a list based on categories. It helps me remember why I added them and when I review, I can decide if they are worth keeping. Sounds mercenary, but you have to be worthy of my time and I will do my best to be worthy of yours.

Taking Further Steps:

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash
  • Now I am watching my feed and looking for people who people I respect follow especially those that more than one person I respect follow! I add these new sources.
  • I am also thinking about and looking for organizations that work towards goals that are important to me. Here is one to consider adding to your PLN: @Womenalsoknowstuff
  • I am also beginning to explore Twitter Chats and VConnecting.

The Big Step:

I can’t just lurk in the background, taking from my PLN and offering back only likes. I have to figure out what I can contribute. I am not sure what that is yet.

Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

In the meantime, I am okay with the idea that it is early days and I am still learning about cultivating my PLN. But along the way, I am doing a lot of learning by observing. And of course, the Collaborating Module in OntarioExtend is providing a good road map. I am going to repeat this activity in about the month and see how my PLN has changed!

Featured Image screenshot from TAGSExplorer while playing with Replay Tweets was taken and decorated with TechSmith Snag-it.


Guess who’s coming to dinner?

dinner table

Recently, our department began work on a project to identify information new students would need to ease their transition to college. The goal was to begin the work on a BlackBoard module set that could be shared with students before they arrived on campus. This process was initiated by our Director and I was given Faculty lead.

We had a nice mix of skills and perspectives around the working table and this was supplemented by others outside our group who were invited to submit information or who participated in meetings led by our Director in order to give input.

The primary form of communication was face-to-face meetings in small groups about every other working day with lots of brainstorming with larger group meetings once a week for updates and goal setting for the next week. Email communication was frequent. Given that we were all from the same institution and the core group all worked in Student Services, this process worked well for us.

The fact that we brought different skills to the table also helped our team. We had a good mix of big picture, strategy thinkers and detail oriented implementors. We had faculty, support staff and administrators on the team as well. In addition, we had students contributing their skills and ideas in the area of HTML and CSS as well as their impressions of the work from a student perspective.

Missing at the table was a representative from the IT department. This would have been helpful to address some of our questions and concerns in a more timely fashion.

This post was created as part of the Collobrator Module for Ontario Extend.

Original dinner table Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash