Gary Stager posed this question on Twitter: "As a result of your PLN*, what can you now DO that you couldn't do before?" I decided to answer this question for myself and these are some of the things I came up with:
- Get support - I am lucky to have an amazingly supportive PLN. I can ask questions and get answers. If I feel discouraged, someone comes along with an encouraging word. They celebrate with me. They have lunch and chat with me. They let me bounce ideas off them. To a pre-service teacher, or to anyone for that matter, all these little things are so meaningful.
- Discover new tools - People are always blogging and tweeting about new tools they've discovered and it gives me an opportunity to discover new ones I might not have found or a unique way to use it and it builds my technology toolbox.
- Build global connections - As a result of a PLN, I have built relationships with people all over the world. Technology and social media helps us to stay in touch so those relationships aren't lost.
- Chat - I know that sounds silly but as a graduate student not many people share my interests which can get a little lonely. But having a learning network allows me to meet and discuss with people who share my passions and get excited about the same stuff I do.
- Build my network - My PLN helps me to build my PLN. Sharing my blog posts, retweeting my tweets or making a simple introduction at an event helps me to add valuable members to my network.
- Be inspired - This one I could have done without my PLN but with it, it's exponentially better. I am daily inspired by the people in my PLN for their fortitude, creativity and willingness to take risks. I hope that when I've been teaching as long as some of them, I will still have the same passion and dedication to education.
*PLN= personal/professional learning network