I have been contemplating my personal learning network (PLN) as of late, and I have shared my off and on dealings with such tools as Facebook, Twitter, and the like. As an educator, a PLN is vital in gaining new ideas, sharing, seeking support, and maintaining all sorts of human relationships that get one through the days, weeks, and years. I have never been a good giver over my digital PLN, but living as a taker has helped me to survive.
Sometimes people come along and give you a good shot in the arm when you least expect it, and two gentlemen did just that for me many months ago. Dale and Jarred were two new teachers, just finishing up their programs of study at university. Last year was their first year in the classroom, and now they march along in the second. I had followed these teachers, and visited with them on rare occasion, but I lost them for a bit (my fault). I backed away from my digital PLN to gain some perspective, that I never quite found, and added them back today. Hopefully they will take me back.
Chances are good they didn’t know I was gone, and that would be my fault for being a taker. That’s okay. I need to take from them, I need their enthusiasm, I need to hear of their struggles and triumphs, and I need to be ready to offer encouragement when I think they need it. That encouragement makes me a giver. Support is one of the great benefits of a PLN. It comes from strangers, those you least expect, but they become familiar: they become family through one’s PLN.
We come to the end of a calendar year. This is a time of reflection for many, and a time to set new goals. I’ve been thinking about goals, been taking stock of the past, and wondering how to navigate the future. I have been looking for perspective. I was referring to my PLN via my RSS feeder to find some wisdom, and Dale provided just the perspective I needed in the following video (Dale and Jarred: Thanks for finding me many months ago even though you didn’t realize I needed to be found!):
They truly are not average, they are great!!!