Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful for my PLN

I experienced something wonderful earlier this week, and it happened because of my Professional Learning Network (PLN). 

A few days ago, I gave a presentation to fellow librarians in my school district on how to get started with flipping the school library. My presentation was among four others in what was branded as the Library Technology Exploratorium (great title, by the way). Admittedly, it's somewhat unnerving to stand up and present to others, especially when one has limited previous experience with giving a presentation in front of a group of peers. But my experience that day was very positive. As I left the Library Technology Exploratorium, my faced beamed for two reasons. One, I wouldn't have to work on the presentation any more, and that meant I might have time for a little television when I got home. Two, I had the opportunity to get to share my recently acquired skills with others in my district.

During the hour-long drive home, I found myself wishing I could personally thank those who made this presentation possible - the people of my PLN. Without them, this experience wouldn't have been possible for me. The people I interact on a weekly basis, during Twitter chats or backchannel discussions during webinars, have had a far greater impact on my life as school librarian and life-long learner than they will ever know. 

What is unique about my PLN is that I have only personally met three or four out of the 500-something plus people I connect with on social media, with only two of them being librarians in my district. In other words, an overwhelming majority of the people I learn from and share with are complete strangers to me in the real world. Yet they still help me develop new skills and improve upon the skills I already have. That is fascinating to me - I can connect with others from all over the world to share and learn. 

While I wish I could thank them all for what they've done for me, it is almost impossible to get the message out to all of them due to the expansiveness of social media. But I will do my best to make sure they know. Meanwhile, I would love to share my presentation with you in an effort to "pay it forward." 

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