“Ask Not What Your PLN Can Do For You…”

Whew! It has been quite the 24 hours for this little blogger. Yesterday at this time, I was nervously typing away, wondering if anyone would even waste 5 minutes to read the 1st installment of ‘Principal Reflections’. Fast forward to today: 100 views from 3 different countries (Yeah France!), and 8 comments from dedicated members of my Personal Learning Network.

It was incredibly empowering to know that people were reading my ideas and responding with connections to my experiences. A calming sense came over me when I found out that others are feeling the same way that I am, and they have been doing this much longer than I have (which is only 2 whole months).

After my wife deflated my head (had a hard time fitting through the door) and convinced me that I wasn’t quite ready to quit my job and go on a book tour, I realized that I was getting a great deal of support from my PLN, but wasn’t really returning the favor. The fact of the matter is that when I engage with other educators electronically, I am usually looking for help/answers/ideas to benefit me and my staff/school. It’s all about ME! (According to my wife, it has taken me quite awhile to get to this acceptance stage)

If everyone took this approach, PLN’s wouldn’t exist because everyone would be asking for help and no one would be there to provide it. I understand that getting started with something like Twitter or a Blog, there is a learning curve, which probably starts with getting familiar with what the tools can do and ends with teaching others to utilize the tools (see @principalJ, @Wiscprincipal, @Howeprincipal, @posickj et al). If it weren’t for those that pay it forward, PLN’s would turn quickly into the Shakers (don’t be ashamed if you have to use Google to get that joke :)

My personal goals include blogging more often (check), and being more active on Twitter (check), but more specifically, I want to contribute to my PLN so that I am an active, helpful member, rather than an egocentric, self serving mooch (sorry to those who I may have abused up to this point)

Responding to questions, providing ideas that are unprompted, and providing encouraging words are just a few of things that you can do to be a responsible, contributing member to society (well, your PLN anyway)

And remember, ask not what your PLN can do for you–ask what you can do for for your PLN!

P.s. …and still trying to figure out how to indent my paragraphs! :(

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6 Responses to “Ask Not What Your PLN Can Do For You…”

  1. Eric,
    Love the JFK paraphrase!

    Your writing is very easy to follow and understand. And your quirky sense of humor is infectious! Nice length! You ended in a good spot with a nice thought!

  2. Thanks for the mention Eric. The connectivity that is present in our world certainly makes it easier and more fulfilling to “pay it forward,” as you mentioned. A PLN is a powerful thing and could very well be the type of learning that becomes most powerful and common in our schools in the not so distant future. I just finished reading Will Richardson’s book Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. It is a fantastic 144 pages– a must read even for people who are already using a PLN approach. http://goo.gl/Ga0Jx

  3. Brittany says:

    It is perfectly acceptable to continue to double space in between paragraphs. In fact, I don’t know that I have ever seen a blog that used indentations instead of double spaces in between paragraphs. I looked this up in HTML (a computer language that alters formatting), but from what I have read there is not HTML way to change this either.

  4. Jay Posick says:

    Thanks for the mention, Eric. Having a PLN that I can ask questions of and provide suggestions to has changed the way I think about professional development. I consider it an honor to be a part of your PLN and to have you be a part of my PLN. Keep blogging and tweeting.

  5. Katie White says:

    I just wanted to pass on words of encouragement for diving in. I, too, just started blogging last week and I felt a mix of exhilaration and panic when I hit the “publish” button. Way to go for putting it out there!

  6. Tron Young says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am trying to develop a PLN. My first approach was as a moocher. However, my goal is to expand my professional and personal network. I am in my first year as an administrator and looking forward to contribute and pe actively apart of a PLN.

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