A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Getting your network in order

Friday, 01 January 2010 | 5 Comments

Reading blogs and networking on Twitter seem an obvious part of being a teacher. Yet when I take in to school a shiny new resource that I’ve received through one of these means, I usually get asked “where did you find this?”. The person behind the question is often thinking that I spend copious hours sitting at home in front of a computer “web surfing” or trying endless combinations of search terms in Google.

I rarely “surf” the web, my interactions with the web are through Google Reader to keep up with blogs (and really any site that offers an RSS feed), Delicious to keep bookmarks and see what my network is bookmarking and Twitter for conversations.

Given that you’re reading this blog, then I figure you’ve got one piece of the equation of creating a “personal learning network” or PLN. It’s a trendy term, and I dislike trendy terms. Nevertheless, it simply describes having connections through the web for discussing and sharing resources and ideas. Sue Waters has a Wiki that explains a PLN really well: PLN Yourself!.

Image: Where to start with a personal learning network shared under a Creative Commons BY NC SA

If you need to get your network started in 2010, here are some folks that Maths teachers looking to build a PLN should start reading and interacting with:

There are many other great maths teachers out there, see my Maths Blogs links in the right-hand column of the homepage of my site for some of them. But, a PLN is truly a network, because as you start to follow and interact with just these three people, you will meet many others.

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Tania Kennedy on  01 January 10  at  12:16 PM #
Have you tried "Diigo": instead of Delicious for bookmarking? I've just changed over and I really like the way I can highlight/add sticky notes and organise my bookmarks in lists as well as by tags. I've also joined various groups and there is a way to follow people, although I haven't done that yet.


Simon Job on  02 January 10  at  04:08 AM #
I've considered Diigo a couple of times, and wish that Delicious would continue to develop their service and introduce some new features. I know I can basically link Delicious and Diigo, but for now, I think I will stick with Delicious.


Simon Job on  02 January 10  at  04:10 AM #
I said in my post that if you follow those couple of people, you'd find other great teachers - Kate has proven me right, here is her list of "Blogs You Probably Aren't Reading But Should Be":
Sue Waters on  02 January 10  at  11:08 AM #
Glad up you like my PLN yourself wiki. I really must do some more makeover of it again (one day). The image you found for a PLN is so much better than mine -- thanks for sharing. While I'm not a fan of lists, in your situation I can understand the need, but I'm wondering if 3 is too few? Would a better option be to have more maths teachers plus a separate list of people who are helpful with Web 2.0 and connecting?


Simon Job on  02 January 10  at  11:09 PM #
Thanks Sue for the comment. I have some other blogs linked on my site, so once someone got started they could look at those. A lot of the people that interact on Dan's site are not maths teachers, and Kate's list in the comment above also had more than maths teachers... so, even with 2 or three people, you make a lot of connections quickly.

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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