Wednesday, 24 September 2014

30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 22

Day 22: What does your PLN look like, and what does it do for your teaching? 

My PLN, online and in person, continues to grow. There are people who I have never met that I learn from regularly, but I don't think they'd have a clue who I am. There are people who I chat with online and hope to someday get to chat with in person. There are people who I work on big projects with. There are people who are in my building each and every day.

People Who I've Never Met and Would Have No Idea Who I Am:
I was a part of #SummerLS hosted by Todd Nelsoney this summer, and enjoyed virtually learning with and from educators from all over the world. I hadn't been listening to EduAllStars, Todd's podcast, before this challenge. It ended up being a big part of my professional development this summer, introducing me to the ideas of amazing educators like Angela Maiers and Kevin Honeycutt.

People I Chat With Online and Hope to Meet Someday: 
I have been getting more involved in Twitter over the past few years and really enjoy edchats, especially Dave Burgess' #tlap, Doug Robertson's #weirded and Jonathan Kegler's #nbtchat. Spending an hour online sharing ideas, discussing education and learning from inspirational, passionate, devoted educators has become something I'm totally addicted to. I have gotten so many "TODAY" and "SOMEDAY" ideas that I use in my classroom from my PLN on Twitter.
This summer, I started an online community called Comment Consortium. Educators read one another's blog posts and engage in conversation about what we're learning. I have met or know a few members in person (Amy Bowker, Aviva Dunsiger, Sue Scott, Rola Tibshirani and Tiiu Tsao). Others, I hope to meet someday (Sandy Otto, Ann Pimentel, Sean Robinson, Heather Theijsmeijer, Maria Verwey, Elisa Waingort, Brynn Morgan Williams and Victoria Woelders)
Robin McLaren from California and I met on Skype in the Classroom and worked together for the past two years, collaboratively planning and connecting our students.
Heidi James and I chat a lot on Twitter, and I'm so happy she's back in the classroom after a long BC teacher's strike. I'm trying to push her into blogging so I can peek into her classroom daily!

Connections I've Made Online that Have Led to Friendships:
It cracks Captain Handsome up when I meet my "Internet friends" for the first time.
Dean Shareski let me mentor some of his university students and then, when he was in Ottawa running a conference, we got to meet in person and I got to present.
Pam and Toby Jones are a super cool married couple who I met through emails and then, with whom, I attended a GAFE conference in Montreal.

People in Ottawa:
In Ottawa, there are terrific educators doing mind-blowing things and I'm thrilled to be building my in-person PLN. I love working with people from the Public and Catholic boards, as well as educators at other institutions in the city. I worked with an incredible team for Playdate Ottawa, who we called the "Task Force". Amy Bowker, Bill Corcoran, Jeffrey Humphries, Julie Joanisse, Jennifer King, Nick Lafrance, Karen McEvoy, Rola Tibshirani, Tiiu Tsao and (new mom) Megan Valois were a pleasure and inspiration to work with. I miss our regular collaboration and look forward to planning with them again in the future.
Tomorrow, I'm finally kicking off a project that has been a dream for me for a while. Amazing educators are coming together to talk about the future of education at our first Think Tank meeting. I'm really looking forward to seeing incredible thinkers come together and collaborate.

People in My Building and my Daily Real-Life Life:
I work with terrific people. I love being challenged, supported and pushed by my colleagues, Gillian Penman, Tiiu Tsao and Natalie Shorkey, among others.

I use my PLN to give me energy, ideas and inspiration; to support, witness, validate and support me and to bounce ideas off of. I love that, not only have our classroom walls come down, but so have our staff room walls. I can collaborate in real time (or asynchronously) with people who I admire and respect from all over the world. It's pretty amazing and I know I would feel much more isolated without the people listed above (and others as well!). One of the (many, many) reasons I love the Internet is for the people I have access to on a daily basis. Going back to not being a Connected Educator would be so lonely and isolating.

If you aren't connected and building a PLN, you're missing out on SO. MUCH. Dip your toes in. See what you learn!


  1. Thanks for the mention Shauna, I always admire your thinking and how you challenge yourself with new approaches. Thank you for including me with your community of thinkers.

  2. Shauna, I'd like to first echo Rola's thoughts. I definitely feel exactly the same way. I'm also very interested in your Think Tank. What do you hope to get out of this opportunity? I'd love to hear more!


    1. Hi Aviva,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I have lots of ideas and hopes for where the Think Tank will go! You can read about my hopes here:

      Tonight, I hope to catch up with old friends, meet new people, engage in interesting, purposeful talk and start to put together common goals and plans. I'm also excited to see people I admire connect with each other.