All A Twitter w/ Professional Networks

Chris Champion

Amy Musone


"Are you following me?" Sounds like a strange opening comment to a professional, but it's actually "code" for "are you part of my professional learning network?" There are many tools available to professionals (educators and otherwise) to collaborate with peers and meet new people that share common interests.

What's a PLN?

PLN stands for "Professional Learning Network" - it's the answer to "why would anyone use social networking?" When you use the power of social networking to build a PLN, you leverage those tools to expand your knowledge and connections in your professional life. Exchanging contacts with like-minded people has been around forever - so this really isn't something new, just a new way to do it.

This session will introduce participants to some of the most-used tools like Twitter and Ning, as well as the Pennsylvania-inspired network Time permitting, additional tools as well as software to manage these tools will be included.

What's Twitter?

Twitter is a networking tool that combines the social aspects of FaceBook with the professionalism of blogging. Often called "micro blogging", Twitter uses short messages (140 characters or less) to communicate with your friends (and the world). This session will include an introduction to Twitter, a hands-on setup and configuration of Twitter, and "next steps" such as suggested people to follow and a discussion about what you should and perhaps shouldn't say when you Twitter.

People to follow:


Ning is a website that allows groups of people with common interests join together and share information about that topic. In addition to professional association Nings like ISTEConnect, some Nings discuss the use of Web 2.0 in the classroom, stopping cyberbullying, and even connecting after conferences like PETE&C.

Nings to Join:

EduWiki? is a project created by a group of 2005 Keystone Summit attendees and is a place to share clasroom resources, technology tutorials, and a place to meet educators with a common interest. With over 2,000 resources and more than 600 members, is a resource that you'll use again and again in your classroom and your professional life.


This session is designed to give you time to play and explore, then report back to the group. You'll spend 15 minutes exploring each network, then we'll regroup to share what we found.
2:50 - 3:15..........................
Introduce networks, show examples
3:10 - 3:25
Twitter sign up and explore
3:25 - 3:35
.....Twitter share
3:40 - 3:55
Ning sign up and explore
3:55 - 4:05
.....Ning share
4:05 - 4:20
Eduwiki sign up and explore
4:20 - 4:30
.....Eduwiki share
Here's the gist:

Sign Up

Create an account and join each tool as we step through them. You'll need a valid email address to do this. When creating a "username", remember that it should be professional, and that you will likely be giving out this name to people - or they may be searching for you. Your real name makes a good username, but if you're concerned about privacy, pick something that reflects your professional persona.


Once you've signed up, explore the tool. Bookmark or write down the 'BEST' of the sites/people you connect with.


After you've had a chance to explore, we'll ask everyone to share their 'BEST' so that they can add that to their PLN as well.


Twitter Homepage
Twitter4Teachers - a wiki directory by subject area
TweetDeck - a Twitter client for Mac, PC, and the iPhone
Edmodo - a Twitter-like resource for teachers and students

Standards Addressed

Because this session is strictly about professional development and not reinforcing specific classroom content, specific PDE student standards aren't listed. However, professional standards using the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS*T) addressed are:
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information. d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership a. participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.

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