Guest Post: What is the Value of a PLN as a Coach?

We want to give you a peek inside our Coach Microcredential Online Mentorship Program. Coaches taking part in this academic-year-long journey have graciously given us permission to post some of their learning and reflections from the private coursework they are undertaking during this microcredential. Where possible, we have shared the course and the action task to give context for the guest post.

The Topic: What is the Value of a PLN as a Coach?

The Task: A PLN is about much more than just consuming content. It’s equally important to share and contribute to the community too. Even if you haven’t started sharing yet, what do you envision sharing? How can you contribute to your “virtual staff room”? Think about the content, format, audience, frequency, and relevance. In our private community forum (link below), share your thoughts and ideas using these question prompts to frame your thinking.

My PLN is an absolute blessing! I have used twitter on and off for the past decade, but in moving into my Tech Coach Role at my new school I have tried to intentionally pursue connections. When my husband and I recruit, one of the things we always do is check for teachers and administrators on twitter at a potential school. It can be telling of how (dis)/connected the community operates. We’re drawn to connected communities, but also strive to build and encourage connection where there is room for growth. HK is also a hotspot for building a PLN as an educator. The moment I announced my new job at HKIS, a connected educator welcomed me via twitter and I had 80 new followers overnight with many welcoming messages. At the end of my first year here in Hong Kong I still haven’t met a majority in person (largely due to protests and covid-19 in addition to the normal time it takes to settle into a new country) but talk and share ideas regularly with dozens of educators in Hong Kong.

The last four months, the remote learning adventures brought connection at an amped up level. It was incredible to watch the Global Educators Collaborative facebook group start up from day one when we branched off from the Teachers on the Move group to quickly grow to over 100k educators around the global seeking advice and support and offering solutions and encouragement. I was able to share a lot of tech resources and tutorials I created early on, as waves of schools were impacted in a domino effect globally. I got emails from schools in US, India, Turkey and more sharing that my slides had been shared with their staff (even one school asking for permission to translate the slides to Korean which was so cool!) it was amazing to see it spread and also felt so good in the midst of the chaos to felt like I could somehow offer support. It didn’t require extra time or effort, I had already created them for my teachers, it was just a matter of sharing the link.

I have been trying to more actively participate in twitter chats and recently hosted and moderated a few twitter chats for #isedcoach and #PubPDAsia. Earlier this year I went through and added the twitter chats I was interested in to my calendar to help keep track which I find extremely helpful. I absolutely love the easy access to absorbing and sharing great ideas and best practice.

A colleague said she was introduced to twitter years ago by a tech coach who told her “twitter is like a gushing waterfall. You step in with a cup and reach out to fill it up when you need. There’s such a flow you have to be careful it doesn’t get knocked out of your hand, but you can also decide how far in to dip. And you always collect plenty of fresh new (water) ideas 🙂 ”

One of my side goals for next fall is to build and encourage more of my colleagues to join twitter and begin connecting to other schools. It has already helped me connect across our large staff and two campuses, and see great value in building a culture of connecting within my school community and beyond.

Cross-posted on edurolearning.com/blog

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