Power Up Your Professional Learning Network

You can download the archive of my keynote presentation at the Discovery Educator Network Virtual Conference (October 25, 2008).

Stages of PLN Adoption


Jeff Utecht posted a terrific article on the adoption cycle of professional learning networks. He created the visual above. The explanation of the stages below are copied from his blog, The Thinking Stick. You can view the copyright licensing for this information by clicking here.

Stage 1 Immersion: Immerse yourself into networks. Create any and all networks you can find where there are people and ideas to connect to. Collaboration and connections take off.
Stage 2 Evaluation: Evaluate your networks and start to focus in on which networks you really want to focus your time on. You begin feeling a sense of urgency and try to figure out a way to “Know it all.”
Stage 3 Know it all: Find that you are spending many hours trying to learn everything you can. Realize there is much you do not know and feel like you can’t disconnect. This usually comes with spending every waking minutes trying to be connected to the point that you give up sleep and contact with others around you to be connected to your networks of knowledge.
Stage 4 Perspective: Start to put your life into perspective. Usually comes when you are forced to leave the network for awhile and spend time with family and friends who are not connected (a vacation to a hotel that does not offer a wireless connection, or visiting friends or family who do not have an Internet connection).
Stage 5 Balance: Try and find that balance between learning and living. Understanding that you can not know it all, and begin to understand that you can rely on your network to learn and store knowledge for you. A sense of calm begins as you understand that you can learn when you need to learn and you do not need to know it all right now.

Benefits of Professional Learning Networks

The following bullets are copied from EdWeek Leader Talk Blog - A 21st Century Professional

  • Teachers become more aware - of new research, new strategies, new educators, and new ideas that can enhance and impact their teaching and learning
  • Teachers become connected- they develop learning networks as they meet teachers with similar interests and issues
  • Teachers become empowered - as they take control and responsibility of their own professional growth.
  • Teachers become model - With first hand experience on how to operate in a 21st century learning environment, teachers become equipped to demonstrate and model learning behaviors and strategies for their students
  • Teachers become confident-Teachers feel appreciated and respected for their contributions and knowledge and become confident and more competent in their own teaching practice
  • Teachers become a connected community - teachers who share, learn, and connect become leaders inside and outside of their classrooms
  • Teachers become Learners - the most important requirement to being a 21st Century educator - don't you think?

Mapping the EdTech PLN

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Click here to open the map and add yourself.

NOTE: This map was started by Martha Thornburgh

Ten Tips for Growing Your Learning Network

Personal / Professional Networks

Social Networking in Plain English

LinkedIn in Plain English

RSS Aggregators / Internet Start Pages

RSS in Plain English

Google Reader in Plain English

RSS For Educators
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web2.0 technology)

Microblog / Lifestream

Twitter in Plain English

Twitter Search in Plain English

Maximize your microblog experience

  • Ping.fm post to all your microblogs, blogs, Facebook, etc. at one time with one application
  • Hellotxt - does essentially the same thing as Ping.fm
  • AtomKeep manage all your online profiles
  • PeopleBrowser - similar to AtomKeep
  • Fuser - manage all your e-mail and microblogs from one inbox
  • LifeStreamBackup

Shorten URLs / Messages


Build Your Network

Measure Your Twitter Influence

  • TweetStats - offers detailed stats of your tweets, who you sent them to the most and when you usually sent them
  • twInfluence - tool for measuring the reach of your account and your entire network
  • Grader for Twitter - grades your relative reach and influence on Twitter - also suggests a few people you should follow based on your profile
  • TwitterSheep - visualize your Twitter followers with a tag cloud of their bios
  • Twitter Counter - measure which Twitter users visit your site

Maximize Your Twittsperience

  • 8 Useful Tips to Become Successful with Twitter
  • Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher
  • Your Twitter Karma
  • Twitt(url)y - a service for tracking what URLs people are talking about as they talk about them
  • Twitter Search (formerly known as Summize ), Twazzup, Tweetfind, Twitalyzer Search -- SEARCH TWITTER (also try the Twitter Search Firefox Add-On)
  • Tweetag - search for topics on Twitter
  • Twilert - create an alert for any keyword in Twitter
  • Tweet2Tweet - follow a Twitter conversation more easily
  • BrightKit - manage multiple Twitter accounts; schedule future Tweets; track statistics
  • Twemes and Twittervision - alternative viewing options for your Twitter feed
  • Twiffid - find out what links your Twitter network has shared
  • GroupTweet - allows users to send messages via Twitter that are instantly broadcasted privately to only the team members
  • Twitly- separate your Twitter friends into groups
  • Plodt - use Twitter to track and rate things that are important to you
  • Phweet - open a private chat with one of your Twitter friends directly through Twitter
  • TweetBeep - Great service that notifies you whenever your name (or any other word you specify) is mentioned
  • Social Oomph - you can automatically 1) send ‘thank you’ and welcome messages to new followers, 2) “return-follow” your new followers and 3) schedule tweets to be delivered at a specified time in the future (formerly TweetLater)
  • Twuffer - Twuffer allows the Twitter user to compose a list of future tweets, and schedule their release.
  • iTweet - Built-in auto-refresh, search and hashtags / Full follow, block, notifications features / View user bio, location, URL inline with tweets / Watch conversations with "in reply to" links
  • TwitterCal - add items to your Google calendar directly from Twitter
  • TwitPic - post images to your Twitter feed
  • TwitSay - record a 10 second voice message and share it with your Twitter friends
  • StrawPoll - create a poll and solicit responses just by tweeting
  • HashTags - lets you tag your posts as a way to group and organize them with others
  • TweetCongress
  • Twtpoll - create an easy Twitter poll (even ask multiple choice questions)
  • PollDaddy Twitter Polls
  • Spy - follow conversations across multiple sites, including: Twitter, FriendFeed, blogs, news, Flickr, etc.
  • Filttr - filter your tweets to focus on the most important information
  • Snipt - Just copy and paste your code into Snipt, tell it what programming language it is in, and Snipt will give you a short URL for your code snippet to hand out on Twitter.
  • 140it - shrink your too long tweets into a short URL
  • twonvert - convert your too long tweets into SMS shorthand
  • PrettyTweet - create beautiful Twitter backgrounds
  • TinyChat - create a disposable chat room
  • Screenr - create quick screencasts to post on Twitter
  • Listiti - Google Alerts for Twitter lists
  • Vidly - share videos on Twitter
  • 10 Twitter Safety Tips

- I learned about many of the Twitter tools listed here from 47 Awesome Twitter Tools that You Should Be Using at Deontee.com. You can access additional Twitter tools and integration strategies by visiting the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies Twitter Application List and Twitter Reading List.


Social Bookmarking

DiigoSocial Bookmarking

Blogging and Podcasting




iTunes U

Record and Syndicate Your Own Podcast


Education-Friendly Wiki Hosts

Wikispaces Tutorial UPDATED
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: wikis wikispaces)

Publishing and Collaborating

Collaborative Document Authoring and Hosting - Whiteboards

Mind Mapping

Document and Presentation Publishing

Image Sharing

Image Editing

Virtual Book Clubs and Bookshelves

Online Discussions and Meetings

Web Conferencing / Webinars

Create Your Own Web Conference

Chat Rooms / Discussion Boards / Scheduling Tools

VOIP / Chat / Video Conference

Second Life

Discovery Educator Network Second Life Blog
DEN in Second Life SLURL

Digital Business Cards

Create Great Profile Pictures and Avatars

  • Picnik - image editor with lots of cool image filters and extras
  • Phixr - image editor
  • FotoFlexer - image editor
  • SplashUp - image editor
  • SUMO Paint - image editor
  • BeFunky - cartoonize your images
  • MyOats - create original drawings and designs
  • Dumpr- add creative filters to yoru images
  • MyPictr - resize any photo to meet the specifications for profile pictures
  • Gizmoz - create cool avatars from your images
  • Comic Tools

  • Open Link in New Tab
  • Download