Ok, today I took the plunge and decided to schedule a summer inservice for my county on developing a PLN. Here is the proposal description that I sent to our Technology Director:
July 22 (1/2 day inservice)- Using Social Networking to Connect Yourself and Your Classroom
Learn ways that educators build PLNs (Professional Learning Networks) and utilize services like Ning, Twitter, Skype, and Blogger to collaborate with other classrooms and educators and to pursue professional development customized to your needs.
I have found my experience with my PLN to be so invaluable that I feel it is absolutely necessary to share with other educators. This will be brand new to most (if not all) in attendance. I don't know of anyone else in our district who uses any of these tools except for Skype. I held an inservice on Skype last summer and most everyone in our county have really used it and loved it. Right now, though, they only use it's IM capabilities to communicate with each other. I want to take the next step and help them realize it's ability to connect their classroom with others. Their problem, though, is that they don't have the connections to do that. I want to introduce them to ways to make connections first and foremost.
My goal is to introduce them to the benefits that come with a PLN, show them ways to start building theirs, and hope that they take off from there. I would really like to have them leave excited about the possibilities. I hope to also have some ideas for them that they can begin to pursue immediately that won't require developing relationships right away. I found some great ideas in Kathleen McGeady's last blog post. I would love to hear other ideas/links that you all have to share with these teachers.