Tag Archives: pln

Day 11: Why Our PLN is a Professional Standard in Education

Today is Day 11. If you are just starting with us today, you might want to check out Day 1 here.

OSSEMOOC is a project of OSAPAC, and over the past three days, the OSAPAC group has been meeting f2f in Toronto, doing incredible work for Ontario students.

Members of OSAPAC sharing with OSSEMOOC participants, the role of the team in ensuring great digital resources for Ontario students.
Members of OSAPAC sharing with OSSEMOOC the role of the team in ensuring great digital resources for Ontario students.

IMG_0151On my way back to northern Ontario, I was reflecting on what a privilege it is to be part of a group of educators so passionate about what is best for children, so knowledgeable about digital resources and so determined to make a difference.  I am proud to have them in my PLN, both face-to-face as it was this past week, and over social media, as we work together until our next opportunity for a f2f session.

My Professional Learning Network is critical to my success as an Ontario (OCT) educator.

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Today we explore why building that PLN is especially important in 2015.

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From Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger

We will also take you on a tour of some of our favourite places to find personalized information online.

Thank you for continuing your journey to becoming a connected leader.


Day 6: Developing your PLN

Yesterday,  the Day 5 activity  explored the idea of twitter being a large online library.

Today we look at moving from searching and finding information, to building and leveraging people connections. This brings is to a big question – who should I follow?


Creative Commons image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/markwcarbone/23373163706/

In terms of making connections, it is natural to start in a comfortable place,  perhaps by following people in your own organization and/or noting people with similar interests or professional focus.  Over time, you will be strategic about developing your network with some consideration to ‘access’ as noted in our day 2 post – “access to people, their time and expertise, questions, answers, viewpoints, resources, and new ideas”.

Enjoy an opportunity to explore new connections through the day 6 activity.  


Tom Whitby has created a valuable resource for educators: Whom Should I Follow on Twitter?

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 11 – What Do We Need from Our Professional Learning Network (PLN)?

Update, December 2015

Below we refer to ZITE and Flipboard.  Flipboard has purchased Zite, and all Zite content needs to be migrated to Flipboard by Dec. 7. 2015.




Recently we have been discussing some of the tools that help us collect and share information online.  As we dig deeper into the concept of “curation” this week, it’s a good time to review why we are doing this – why setting aside time every day to connect with other educators in our PLN is so vital to our practice, and to the learning experiences of our students.

Last year, Tom Whitby (one of the co-founders of #edchat) wrote a passionate piece on The Connected Educator Culture. Reading it is well worth your time as you become a connected leader.

He concludes his post with the following statements:

What does it mean to be a connected educator?

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano explores this thinking further in the Langwitches Blog.

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(View the video by clicking on the image. The video is also embedded in Day 1 of this series.)


Getting connected is an intentional practice. It challenges our thinking about our practice and helps us engage in further learning.

As a connected learner, what do you ask of your PLN?

Consider the following list:

What I need from my PLN


How are you connected to the constant flow of resources?  In the list above, “customized magazine style RSS readers” is mentioned.

Often on Twitter, you will see a number of items shared from the personalized magazine “Zite“.

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Zite is a much-loved personalized news service with the connected educator crowd.  About eight months ago, Zite was purchased by Flipboard, a similar app.  Both products stream to your device the newest articles on the topics you choose.  As you “like” specific items, the algorithm continues to target your interests more precisely, while still maintaining access to headlines.


While Zite is still available, and Flipboard has promised to provide a process to migrate your information to Flipboard when Zite is cancelled, if you are not currently subscribed, it seems wise to start with Flipboard.

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After downloading the app to your device, follow the simple instructions to sign up.  If you link your account to your Twitter account, you can share directly to Twitter from Flipboard.

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Begin by choosing some areas of interest to start the feed.

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Instantly your customized feed becomes available.

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As you look at the articles provided, “like” those that you find valuable to your learning by clicking the heart in the bottom right corner.

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Explore the options to share directly from the article.

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Sharing directly to Twitter looks like this:

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Many connected educators have made it a habit to spend a few minutes each day, reading a customized feed like Zite or Flipboard, and sharing what they discover with their PLN.

If you are already reading and sharing, what is your favourite service or app?  How did you establish your routine of reading and sharing?  What advice do you have for those just starting to build their PLN?

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 6 – Building Your Professional Learning Network (PLN)

In yesterday’s “10 minutes to getting connected” post, we asked you to get a Twitter account so that you could start learning from some of the best conversations and sharing that are happening online for educators.

If signing up for Twitter in 10 minutes was difficult, please do not hesitate to ask for help in the comments for this blog.  #OSSEMOOC is here to help.  We are a community of education leaders who believe strongly in the importance of collaboration and connecting to build the supportive team we all need to continue to learn in this ever-changing world.

Last year, on the last day of the #BIT13 conference, ECOO President Mark Carbone emphasized the importance of going out and nurturing other educators.

Nurturing is a powerful word.

Change is fast and we can often feel that it is too hard to keep up. We sometimes feel overwhelmed with all that there is to know and understand to stay on top of change.  If we all take the stance that we are here to nurture each other in getting connected and learning together, we will create a much friendlier environment for learning and risk-taking.  This is the culture we need for innovative thinking to thrive.

Building a supportive Professional Learning Network is a critical component in continuing to grow as educators.

Today, we will focus on following other educators on Twitter.  As you watch your Twitter feed today, think about who is sharing information that interests you.  Who is pushing your thinking?  What is resonating with you?

Below, we have listed a few educators who are committed to sharing online.  Feel free to explore their work, keeping in mind that a PLN is very personal, and you need to build the network that works for you.

This is a starting point, but it takes a daily commitment to continue to grow and nurture a PLN that can transform your professional practice.

We all look forward to learning and sharing with you!



Help with Building a PLN:

Sue Waters: Guides to Building your PLN

Edublogs Teacher Challenges: Building a PLN


Some educators to follow on Twitter:

(Please share in the comments who you follow on Twitter so that those new to Twitter can enrich their experience)


Andrea Gillespie

Sue Dunlop

John Malloy

Julie Balen

Doug Peterson

Donna Miller Fry

Mark W. Carbone

Peter Skillen

Aviva Dunsiger

Heidi Siwak

Grant Montgomery

Brenda Sherry

Lisa Neale

Just-In-Time: PLN Support

(Pic and Post shared by Deb McCallum)

This image is an example of one way to use twitter as a PLN.

My image is just a snapshot of a longer informative and helpful conversation I had on twitter this June. When I had a question about Minecraft, and chromebooks, Ontario educators on twitter came to the rescue!

I think that this is a great example of how timely, supportive, and resourceful a twitter PLN is! This spurred on other great resources and ideas being shared, and left me feeling inspired and energized about new connections for Mincraft inquiries next year!

Ontario educators are AMAZING!!


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Pinterest isn’t just for crafts! Leading learning happens there too!

I have followed Eric Sheninger on Twitter for years, and I have learned so much from him.  His work in digital leadership is outstanding.  Yesterday I learned that he also shares on Pinterest!

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This is an awesome Pinterest board to follow if you are new to building a PLN on Twitter.

This “picture and post” is shared by Donna Miller Fry.

Day 20: Sharing My Learning at #OTRK12

Written and shared by Heather Touzin


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I had the fantastic pleasure of presenting at OTRK12 on April 1st, 2014. It was my first time ever presenting to a group of educators outside of my board. I loved it. Maybe it was the topic (TLD class at AMSS and the Provincial Learning Management System D2L), or maybe it was because I felt like everyone in the room understood the struggle to engage adolescents with their AT. The most powerful moments came when members of the audience shared their experience, and their questions. I was able to illustrate to this group the ways the D2L addresses the needs of some AT learners. I feel there was a strong need for educators involved with AT to connect and share. I follow the #ATCHAT hashtag and conversations on Wednesday nights on Twitter.

 Twitter has fast become my go-to for keeping up with AT and other edtech based questions I have. My ever-growing PLN has offered me more in two years, then all my PD days combined. I value the sharing, the questions, and the support I receive from the Twitterverse of teachers out there.

This connected network of teachers, is by far the most exciting learning I have experienced.  We live in a fast paced, ever-changing tech world. We educators need to keep up. We need to adapt. But most importantly, we need to teach our students, HOW to adapt to change, and HOW to wield that change to their learning needs. And that makes for exciting times as an educator.

 Heather Touzin is a special education English teacher with the Lambton Kent District School Board. Recently, her focus shifted to assistive technology and blending learning. For the past three years, she taught English to a dedicated one-to-one SEA computer class, at Alexander Mackenzie Secondary School in Sarnia. Currently, she provides support to secondary AT students, resource teachers, and classroom teachers in her board.

Follow Heather Touzin on Twitter: @heathertouzin