When you’re little, you dream of the chance to meet a Disney princess, or a Marvel superhero, or any other famously out of reach character that you’ve looked up to and hoped that someday you’d have a glimpse into their world. Then you grow up. But those characters turn into real people, doing amazing work in your field and you still get a little star-struck. For me, that’s ed-tech rockstars like Matt Miller (@jmattmiller), Kasey Bell (@shakeuplearning), Eric Curts (@ericcurts), and Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler), just to name a few. You get inspired by their keynotes and use their work to continue to refine your skills in this constantly growing area of education. Don’t get me wrong, they are, in their own sense, super heroes at the top of their game, but you realize at the core of it all, they’re humans, doing what they’re good at – TEACHING, and trying their best to help you and I learn through the resources and tips they share via their websites, blogs, and podcasts.
After listening to Matt Miller & Kasey Bell on the Google Teacher Tribe podcast for about a year, I submitted a question and an idea that was featured on the show. When I found out Matt would be keynoting at the Flipgrid Conference in Minnesota this past year, I reached out on Twitter and said I looked forward to meeting him there and hoped I could ask him a couple questions. What I didn’t know was when Matt was getting started in the ed tech consulting industry, he did the same exact thing by reaching out to his personal super hero – Dave Burgess (@burgessdave), author of “Teach Like A Pirate” and eventual publisher of Matt’s book “Ditch That Textbook.”
Matt was excited to pay it forward and pass his knowledge onto someone else with the same passion and along the same path. Fast Forward a few months and lots of emails and conversations later, I’m now thrilled to be a part of Matt Miller’s Speaker Bureau.
Working in the world of education, I’ve learned to never be afraid to put yourself out there. To continue to get better, we must continue to grow and connect with others in the field. I’ve made so many fantastic connections and shared so many valuable ideas over the years. Social Media, conferences, and conversations all have attributed to weaving together my own group of educators I call my PLC.
There are many ways to develop your own PLC. My five favorites are listed below. If you’re already a part of some communities but have disconnected, I would encourage you to reconnect and continue to look for new ideas for your classroom. I find I can renew my energy from simply feeling the excitement another educator has about a new idea or something new they just learned!
Following those that are at the forefront of the ed tech frontier may spark new ideas for you to use in online/blended learning, create new and unexpected friends, or even open doors you never thought would be a part of your story. Continue to connect & share!
5 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR OWN PLC
1. Search on Twitter: Follow leaders in your field and find hashtags to follow for new ideas.
2. Engage on Twitter: Find Twitter Chats you can participate in and connect with others on shared interest/topics.
3. Attend Conferences: Look for opportunities to attend and learn in person so you can meet and talk to others.
4. Present at Conferences: Put yourself out there when people come together on purpose. If it works well in your classroom, you can help others.
5. Listen to Podcasts: Starting to connect comes from knowing who has great ideas you’ll want to connect with. There are plenty of educational podcasts to listen to for FREE!
Lissa Brunan (@LissaBrunan): Lissa is the owner of Engaging TECHniques and a committee member of MACUL SIG OBL. She is also an adjunct professor for the College of Education at Grand Valley State University. She can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/LissaBrunan.