What would be your advice to educators looking to start a Personal Learning Network?



Start small. Select one area and build a group of people that have common teaching interests. Once you are comfortable with that, then use the advice of those individuals to build the next group/level.

Complete your profile as much as possible. Share what you teach and what your interests are. Contribute.

Don't be afraid! Start off with a small network but you will probably expand it quickly.

Read some blogs, try a few searches on twitter, be patient.

Start small - choose one. It is easy to get overwhelmed.

It is great to be able to share ideas and communicate quickly.

Always check profiles to see if they are in education. In your profile be sure to put something about being an educator.

Be PATIENT. In the beginning sit back and observe. If you subscribe to a feed or follow that is does not not provide you with what you need, don't be afraid to unsubscribe or follow.

Find your VOICE. As you begin to share REALIZE that you may feel invisible for some time. That is fine. Plod on. It is well worth the trek.

Jump in with at least 100 contacts copied from someone you respect.

Piggy back off of someone else's network until you get your own started. For example, on Twitter, follow a name you know, and then see who THEY follow and start following some of those people. Contribute to your network as much as possible responding to other people's requests for ideas an assistance. This makes them more likely to follow you in return (which is what you NEED if you're going to get responses to your own requests).

Follow the #education tag for a few days and then begin following a few people who's tweets match your philosophy, a few people who share out great resources, and a few people who challenge your thinking. Then start following the people who show up repeatedly in your first group's tweets. All the while read the blogs of as many of the people you follow as possible and join the community of commentors and contributors on those blogs and other social networking sites for teachers, like Nings.

Don't give up! It is well worth the time investment.

Start small - Twitter has been invaluable to me. It's OK to be a lurker while you build your confidence with a new tool. Then, take a risk and get involved!

It takes time to develop a strong network. I recommend following all of the people that @teach42 follows. Many will follow you back and they will have great information I also recommend joining the DEN (Discovery Education Network.)

Find a few that you respect and admire and follow. See who they are following and start from there.

Plan, plan, Plan. Update!

Keep your list of who you're following small - no one can REALLY follow 1,000 people. I try to keep my list close to 50, though I'll admit it is difficult to do.

Tend it like the fertile garden it is! If you want to harvest the best crops from it, you've got to be willing to put the work into making it happen.

The bigger, the better. When you have a lot of people helping you answer questions and throwing ideas your way, your knowledge base grows exponentially.

Use Twitter. Find others to follow who have similar interests. Share your thoughts and materials as much as you get from your PLN.

Realize that it takes time to begin and time for it to grow into something useful. Your PLN can be any size that works for you.

Where one person has their PLN might not be what works for you. Find your own place and be happy.

If you don't like Twitter, try PBS Teachers, or try Discovery Educator Network or try Scholastic.

Sit back and watch for a week or so. It can be very overwhelming at first, but is so worth it in the long haul.

Step 1. Find a few people that you know, admire, trust. Read their blogs, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their Delicious or Diigo accounts.
Step 2. Comment on their blogs, respond to them on Twitter, start your own Delicious or Diigo accounts. Join an educational Ning.
Step 3. Find people that THEY read/follow, and do the same.
Step 4. SHARE your own experiences through a blog, Twitter, etc. This step is crucial. PLN's are 2-way streets. Give as much as you take. :-)
Now your network will begin to grow-- you will be surprised how quickly it does!

Find a couple places to start (specific Nings, Twitter, etc.) and stick with it for a while. I didn't get Twitter for about 3 months, and then I figured out that it has everything to do with who you follow. Now I can't get enough. I think it was Darren Drapper (don't quote me) who compared social networking to a buffet - try a little of everything, but you'll keep going back to what you like.
Also - your family comes first. Have a balance in life. Sometimes I have to step away to be re-energized. If something is that good, it'll get mentioned more than once. You may miss it the first time, but not the 10th.

Start small. Be very selective in who you follow. Find folks with the same passion you have for teaching and learning, and who share tools that they've found valuable. Don't worry about posting yourself for a while. Just read what others are writing and explore the resources they share. In short, invest the time it takes to learn to use the tool effectively. You won't be disappointed.

Start small - find something that works for you , then add to it.

Find a site like or Twitter Search to identify educators on Twitter.

Get an account and find out who other people are following.

In NYS we are often warned about how to use a PLN by NYSUT our teachers union - remember to filter yourself - you never know who will view your page or look at what you say - keep it professional.

Search a topic on Twitter, browse through a few names and look at their profiles. If its maths you want, you'll find a maths teacher and chances are they also follow maths teachers. This way your PLN builds quickly.

Start small and build the network based on responses, common interests and people you already know.

Find a buddy who has a network. They can help you figure out who to follow for information that is perfect for you!

Start with people you know personally and build gradually and carefully

Just spend a few minutes each day. The time you put in will pay off exponentially. When I show people how fast I receive help from my PLN they can't believe it.

TAKE YOUR TIME! A PLN doesn't develop over night or by itself. You get out of your PLN what you put into it. Cultivate your garden of learners. Find people who are interested in the same things you are and pick their brains. We're nearly all learning addicts on Twitter. Share what you can, and we'll learn with you!

Start small and follow a few people. Look at who else the people you follow are following. If a person retweets an ideas, go and look at the person who posted it originally and see if there are other things you might be able to "get" from that person and possibly follow them. Don't feel like you have to follow everybody who follows you. If you decide to follow someone and after a while don't want to follow them anymore, that's Ok just unfollow them. Make whatever you do work for you. The way I use and interact with my PLN is what works for me to best meet my needs.

Start with what you know! I started looking to develop my PLN, but checking out the PLNs of people I know and admire. You can find some great contacts that way.

Jump in and don't be shy! Whether you use Twitter or another social network, it takes a while to build a network. Until you have a large enough people in your PLN it can be challenging to find the value.

Know that you are not in this alone. On the front end- it is best to research best practices of knowing how others are using PLN's to enhance their own PD and for personal and social connections. Showcasing and sharing of exemplar educational models or examples of student or educator projects can be an "essential hook" to build your online community- this too should be an ongoing practice. Regular update your online presence to be truly active in your community, and share regularly- don't always take :-)

I would advise them to go at their own pace, start with people they know and share both knowledge along with a little personal so they appear human but aren't only telling us what they ate for breakfast. Without a network and a purpose, they will feel that these tools are useless.

Start small and build slowly, making meaningful connections. Don't make it a popularity contest.

Start small. Don't get overwhelmed. Follow a couple of thinkers, read a few blogs. Add more as you get used to it. Don't feel that you have to read every blog or every tweet. Turn it off sometimes. Share what you find, respond to others, ask questions, share useful things that others share.

You need to work at building a network before it starts to offer any benefits.

1. Before following anyone, write a profile and get an avatar. (Would you network with someone you knew nothing about?)
2. Start off with a public timeline. (Would you network with someone if you had no idea what they are saying?)
3. Choose carefully who you follow - read what that person writes. Do they offer something to you?
4. It's OK to unfollow or block if someone isn't adding anything to your network.
5. Don't just chase numbers of followers - quality makes your network worthwhile
6. For Twitter, use a site like to get rid of people who neither add value to your network nor follow you. (I follow plenty of people who don't follow me - but they are all people that I learn from.)

Find one or two people you really like and then find ou who they follow and so on.

Do it. Get on twitter, start reading blogs, reach out. Other teachers will reach out to lend a helping hand, all you have to do is ask. My PLN on twitter is an incredibly giving, helpful community. I know that they are making me a better teacher.

Starting a PLN is overwhelming at first as information flow is massive. But the power lies in "filters" for this information (as Clay Shirky insists) using RSS feeds, Nings and Twitter (in my case). My advice: Start slow, contribute, and your PLN will begin to take shape before your eyes.

Keep with it. Find the right group of "friends". Find the right application (twitter or IM'ing may not be it, but you may prefer email, facebook or just reading blogs)

Start with Twitter and RSS. To start, let others recommend people to follow, or blogs to read. And then, click with alacrity. You're bound to find new people and new ideas.

Twitter is a great starting block - find someone interesting and then check out who they follow and so on and so on. I know it's hard to get started, but once you get it - it's hard to stop.

Look for people willing to respond. Many on Plurk / Twitter only broadcast... and never respond.

Start slowly, by using an RSS aggregator like Netvibes to follow blogs of people in the same field as you.

When that feels comfortable, search for a professional Ning to participate in & participate actively.

Get yourself into Twitter & follow people whose blogs & Ning posts you like.

Make a regular PLN appointment with yourself.

Do what's most important-- eventually, you won't be able to keep up with it all.

Follow a few "useful" people. I like @Teach42, @khokanson

Search for educators in similar disciplines to yours. Start following 15-20. See where that takes you!

Find other educators you like and follow some of the people on their list. Then, as you see more and more tweets that impact you, you can add to the list of people you follow. There are many lists out there of great educators using Twitter... and my favorite list is the list of ADE's (Apple Distinguished Educators) who have a million great ideas!

I would suggest that whoever introduces them to PLN is their first friend. Whatever the location (ning, plurk, twitter) follow 10 of those friend's friends. Watch how they interact, follow their conversations to other conversations. If what someone (who is nt on your new list of friends) interests your, challenges you, etc......add them to your list.

Also -- ask who people read for blog posts and bookmark or RSS those blogs. Then check to see who they are reading (called Blog Roll) and add a few more names to your list.

Start small with some people that are recommended. Too many people to follow can get overwhelming until your used to adding it to your workflow.

Twitter is a great place to start and a desktop client helps you manage it (Nambu, Tweetdeck, etc). A great way to find educators is through the Tuesday night #edchat on Twitter. Also, find some educators you like, read through their timeline and decide if you'd like to follow them. See who they follow and give them a try. Add value to your PLN. Don't just get resources, but also share yours. Help answer questions and join the conversation.

Take small steps. Don't feel that you have to add a whole bunch of stuff all at once. Join a professional association's listserv or wiki. Or look at some of the "educators to follow on Twitter" lists that are out there. If someone you already admire has a blog or a Twitter feed or whatever, check out who they follow or link to.

Using Twitter, Blogs, and Second Life to start, find people who seem to be passionate about the same things you are passionate about or whose passion fills the space yours does not. During my years as a classroom teacher prior to social networking, I went to computer users groups to meet like minded people. Now it's so easy I wish I'd had this all those years.

Don't go all out too fast. Take your time and be discerning about who you follow.

Don't get too obsessed with what you might be missing. If you don't see it, let it go!

Start with something specific in mind and then expand your interests (otherwise it will be overwhelming)

I think it is a good idea with so much information on the web. It can be overwhelming an you miss the important stuff.

First, utilize social bookmarking, and connect with educators who use the tool to find out what others are bookmarking. Then set up a reader (google reader) and read at least a few blogs every day. Join a social network like Classroom 2.0 to connect with others. Learn how to contribute to the forums on the Ning. Also, the Classroom 2.0 Ning is a great place to start blogging - even if it's just to reflect on what you have learned. Lastly, get a Twitter account. Read blog posts about Twitter so you have a sense of the amount of commitment it takes to cultivate a following. Twitter can be complicated, but worth it.

Unless you have a colleague with a lot of followers (talking twitter here) who promotes you, it might be hard to get reciprocal followers.

Find some educators you trust to follow, start reading blogs, tweets or plurks, add to follow other educators you feel can help you.

Start with something simple that you enjoy. Connect to people in your field and see what other programs they use and let them lead you to a broader range of resources.

Don't be afraid to "friend" other educators in your field! Most teachers are more than willing to share ideas and experience. Use an RSS feed reader, like Google Reader, to collect your favorite blogs in one place. I swear by to keep track of all the resources I find. Also, Twitter is a great tool to get in touch with other like-minded teachers and get ideas and answers quickly.

Stick with it & stay active. It takes some time for your network to grow.

Choose one thing that meets your needs. I started by listening to the live taping of the Women of the Web 2.0 webcast. I got to know other teachers through the chat room. First I just listened, then I started adding a message here and there. From there, I was introduced to Twitter. The website was pretty new back then. I found it hard to join in the conversations at first. As I got to know a few people it became easier. I joined, too. It is a huge group now, but was pretty small at the start. It helped me see the value in posting and answering questions in forums.

Definitely get plugged in, as there are so many great educators out there willing to share.

Start with something that is manageable like a blog or simply a Twitter account. Allow your PLN to grow naturally when you are ready. Try to pass along your experience to your students.

Don't give up! It is not always easy to see the potential at first.

Start small - don't fill it with noise which will overwhelm you

Start with the people around you, then slowly expand it outward. Ask the people you respect who they learn from, and go learn from the same people.

Just do it. I started reading blogs, then went to Twitter. I hated it. It made no sense. Then I decided to give it another shot and I was hooked. It may well be that you do not have a local PLN in your school, but you can learn from others and thru this process may learn to lead others locally.

A PLN takes tending like a garden. You have to put time into it to reap the benefits.

Use twitter

Jump in the water is fine. I suggest that the find about 25 people to follow to start. Then look at who responses to that first group and add to the PLN as they go. I also tell them to fill out their bio, add a picture, and I recommend that they do not block their tweets. Finally, I tell them to install Tweetdeck.

Start small otherwise it could be easy to get overwhelmed. Pick a few blogs or networking sites and get comfortable. If you aren't active you won't get as much as you want out of your pln.

Find some one who can connect you with others with a similar focus as yours

Remember, you get out if it what you're willing to invest.

Pick someone in your area of interest who is already on a PLN and see who they follow. HOWEVER!!! Don't ignore the 'little guy' -- their input is as valuable.

Take a workshop for ideas, or ask your librarian or tech person for help. Just start, create a Twitter account. Locate one or two other educators to follow. Let it grow.

Look for variety. You should include people who you respect and respect you, but may not share your point of view. Be trustworthy by staying current, don't develop a network with the idea that you are going to ride anothers coat tails . . . do the work, be an active member in your network - meaning, share ideas, lots of ideas.

You already have one. Start doing it on purpose instead of by accident. Find more people to listen to. Listen to some that you don't agree with. Listen to some that you have no real interest in.

Feel free to change them around a little from time to time. Get a blog and aggregator. Start participating in the world.

Pick and choose who you follow carefully. The stream is daunting and doesn't need a lot of garbage floating down it- that distracts from the good stuff.

Find someone who has similar interests and follow who they follow. Don't hesitate to unfollow people who are not meeting your needs. Also, don't ever feel guilty for taking more than you give on Twitter. Very few, if any, teach more than they learn on Twitter. I have found some of my most meaningful conversations happen with educators I have met on Twitter. We take those conversations to other places such as Skype or Google chat.

Start with the people around you. Don't exclude anyone, everybody knows something.

Be patient. Twitter often gives a false sense of time. It seems very easy but in reality it takes time to find value and create a network. Also go beyond twitter. It's a snack, not a m meal. There are richer communities and ways to connect and build a network that will server you even better.

If you are planning on using a PLN for professional use, give yourself time. Get in and use the tools and find the one that works for you and what you want to gain. Then, work to get the right "critical mass" of followers/followees (fill in appropriate term there for whatever tool you choose) so that the information flow is not too slow or fast and contains what you want/need. And, don't be afraid to prune the list if what is being shared turns out to not be helpful. I also am a fan of keeping professional PLNs in a different tool from my personal PLN.

Find a social networking site you are comfortable and build up a group of people to follow.

It is 100% necessary and will quickly accelerate your teaching abilities as well as lift your drive to teach and keep you calm and sane on a day to day basis.

Try to see who other teachers are following and interacting with (especially with something like Twitter) in order to expand your own network. Make your network interactive--try to be a true participant. I find that actively participating in conversations is usually more valuable than simply "lurking."

Ask somebody how to find the people who have the same interests as you and give it some time. At first it may seem silly or even useless but something will spark your interest and you will not believe that you ever survived without a PLN.

PLNs take a while to develop into something "real" - add people as you find them, contribute when you can, let them know you value their opinions... and every so often go through and re-evaluate who should be in your PLN and who you should take out.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just start somewhere and add to it as time goes on.

Start small, follow or lurk for awhile to get your feet wet, then contribute when you can. Don't be intimidated by how much others know, or how often they post. Go at your own pace. Also, use some form of social bookmarking to save all the useful information that your PLN will share.

Find one connection to someone who shares your interest and then check out who they follow. Start adding people who have tweets of interest to you and keep expanding your network.

Be sure not only to follow people but to contribute to your PLN. Try at least once a week to share with your PLN.

Find a few people to follow or watch and then build your network off of other people. Who are the people you know following? Who are those people following? You can always get rid of someone if you are not liking their posts!

You need to have enough followers to really benefit - at least 100 before you will start to see results. And share, answer questions, and help. The time you invest will pay off!

Start with just one or two tools and build from there.

Twitter and professional Nings are a great place to start. Get involved and choose carefully those that you follow.

Fill out your profile with your professional interest and background so people can "friend" you based on compatible interests.

Do it! Now! Now that Twitter has lists, find an educator you respect that shares good materials and see who he/she follows & if they have a list you can follow. There is always the "Educators on Twitter" wiki and other great sites you can go to with groups that you can follow. I made a wiki of resource for my teachers. Also, I would have them check out the Twitter group on the Educator's PLN on Ning.

Lurk for a while, but don't be afraid to jump right in. You have much to contribute. A PLN is a living relationship. You must put in the effort to receive the rewards.

Be patient. Be creative. Be responsive. Be active.

Don't try to follow to many people at once. Do a search for whatever area you teach or focus on, choose a few people and read their last few days worth of tweets. This will give you an idea of the types of info or comments they post, and you can follow some of their links and see what you think. Then if you think they might be useful for your learning, follow them. Start with about 15-20 people to follow, and add as you go. You will probably find that someone you follow re-tweets some people, and you can then click on them to see if you want to follow their tweets also.

It's something you have to let yourself develop into - don't worry about how many you follow or are followed by - it's about sharing ideas, collaborating and helping each other!

Read advice on blogs and Nings

Join Twitter and search for someone they know and start from there.

Google Reader, Delicious, and Twitter- start there and you will find that your PLN will grow and grow...

Do it! Follow other educators in your subject area and who are interested in how technology can help students learn. When you find someone who you are learning from, check out who they follow.

Start with an established site like Classroom 2.0. The topics are broad and people will respond to your requests for help or sharing. Give Twitter a try next. It takes time to develop a following. Listen to EdTechTalk to hear about real teachers and connect with those in the chat room.

Read tweets and follow some well-known Edubloggers. Follow #edchat and you will find wonderful educators to follow.

Ask questions. See your PLN as professional development.

Don't just look for those other like yourself, look for those who you would chose to emulate. Look for those who will help you to grow and will grow with you.

Follow teach42

Start slowly, find people with similar interests, and participate by asking questions and sharing ideas.

Get out there and look around. Find a format that works for you and shake a few hands, virtual or otherwise.

Find some good educators to follow and become part of the conversation by getting involved.

Try it, do it at your own pace, start with people you know and converse with them

Get on board but ensure u connect with likeminded profesionals

Be patient. You have to build your network. You have to spend some time finding people and making connections. Respond to others. Help if you can. Share good ideas. Ask questions.
Check in regularly to see what is new. Get involved in collaborative projects.

Find followers with similar interests to you. Find someone that is in your career area and look at who she is following - and then follow them. Twitter works best when you are engaged in the dialogue - not just sitting and passively watching.

There are a few different types of ways to approach a PLN. You can be a taker, a giver, or even an observer (among other methods). I began as an observer, then a taker, and now I will begin starting the daily goal of giving to those who give to me. Choose which method you wish to take and don't let it overwhelm, but appreciate what it can offer.

I think starting a PLN is like starting a new diet or fitness routine. Don't try to do it all at once. Pick one thing (or one social network) and try to be consistent with it. Don't give up if you don't see instant results. It will take time to build your network. But the results are worth the effort.

Go for it. Use Twitter as a tool to help you grow professionally. Always thank anyone who helps you out. Stick with Twitter don't give up if you don't have many people following you. Share what you know and use with others. Remember it is important to fill out your Bio that how others get to know you.