My Journey to a PLN

For Connected Educator Month, Sheri and I are leading a webinar called “Extend the Conversation.” We will be sharing our own stories of how we became connected educators. Becoming a connected educator for me was a steep learning curve, but it was well worth it. I’m a slow and steady learner, but like the tortoise, that is sometimes a good way to be!

As a teacher, I have always been a lifelong learner, but since I became a connected educator, I now have the joy of learning and growing with an incredible group of people in my PLN. Not only am I learning and growing from them, but I am also now a contributor and collaborator. My PLN has given me courage and confidence to be a leader in my classroom, my school, my state, and the world. I am no longer afraid to “share my genius with the world.”

I made this timeline to show my journey to a PLN. (Click on the speech bubbles for more information.)

19 thoughts on “My Journey to a PLN

  1. Denise,

    THANK YOU for sharing your genius with the world. If you put me “meeting” you on that timeline, I think it was Feb. of 2012, and you really got my PLN going. You taught me how to blog, RT, join a chat, comment on blogs, ask questions… If you have a “happy” file, please put these thanks to you in it. I follow a few people on Twitter (not too many – I can’t handle it!), but there are some who I read every tweet they write. You are one of those few, and I learn so much from you. THANK YOU.

    Here’s a question for you now… what tool did you use for the timeline? I couldn’t read it on my iPad, so I went to the laptop for it, but it was worth it!

    You are one of those people I’ve never met that I feel is my friend. I look forward to many years of learning alongside you, and from you. You genius, you!!

    With many thanks again (I’m sure more will come later!),

    1. Joy,
      THANK YOU for being a ball of fire in my PLN! I just edited my timeline (that’s the tool I used). You can check out my timeline again. I hid a little blogging cache for you! See what I edited!

      It is a delight to know you, Joy! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and learning with the world. You are a genius, and the world appreciates your contribution!


  2. Denise,

    That day was a big moment for me too! I am so thankful to have met both you and Joy! You are such inspirational teachers and so KEY to my PLN đŸ™‚

    I can’t wait to see what I learn from you two next…today it was about this timeline tool. Tomorrow it will be something else amazing…I just know it!

    Who knew that I would end up collaborating and learning with such amazing teachers who don’t work in my school, my district or even the same country as me!?! I love twitter!

    #youmatter to your PLN so much,


    1. Gallit,
      Thank you so much for the comment! I appreciate you too. You have given me confidence as a teacher, and helped me to appreciate all the opportunities surrounding me for lifelong learning.

      I am glad that you #ChoosetoMatter to so many!

  3. Denise, Your part of the “journey” in our story is so powerful; it shows the step by step day by day connection to people, tools, and students. Everywhere I look you are helping others even as you learn something new, like the timeline app.

    Working with you has been a joy, and helped me gain confidence to keep trying. Your story talks about confidence, and I think that is a key point — we have learned confidence because we can try things and reflect and ask for help from our PLN: we don’t have to wait to “get to school” to ask!

    This blog is also your focus point, where you share your journey. If anyone wants to see a journey of success, step by step, this blog is it! I refer to it often because I want to “rub shoulders” with a genius!

    Thanks, Denise

    1. Sheri,
      Thank you for your kind words. I really think it’s true when Laura said that PLN’s are where the energized find and fuel each other. Reading these lovely comments make me feel like I’m part of a mutual admiration group! However, it’s so much more than that.

      We challenge each other to success. I definitely feel fed and fueled by you, Gallit, Joy, Kris, Laura and so many others. Thanks! I’m looking forward to presenting with you on August 18!


  4. Denise,
    Your enthusiasm is definitely catching. I never really understood the importance of a PLN until this summer, and it was you that I first reached out to and am so glad that I did.

    I really didn’t know anything about Twitter with regards to it as a great way to meet and connect with educators until last summer. Then I was just a stalker. Now I feel comfortable enough to engage in a chat and create tweets…thanks again to you. And it’s been through you that I’ve met JoAnn, Dawn, Laura, Silvia, Joy, Hugh, Gallit, Andrea, etc. I love our flickr group!!

    I hope our classes get to do some things together this year.
    Thanks again for all of your inspiration and role modeling.

    PLN Friend,

    1. Kris,
      That’s so exciting to hear your story. We really do need each other, don’t we? Finding and fueling each other, so we can bring it back to our own school staffs and students. I love it! Thanks for sharing your journey with me too. Delightful!

      Your friend,

  5. Denise-

    Like Joy, I had to switch to my computer to see the timeline, but it was well worth it!

    You are it for me when it comes to discovering the power of a PLN. I started blogging and twitter at EdWeek 2012 – in June. I spent the next few weeks looking for blogs by middle school teachers and discovered yours. After commenting, and getting a response I soon came to feel like you were (and are) my friend. So many of the “connected” things I do were inspired by you. You Rock!

    Your friend,

    1. Of course I meant EdWeek 2011… I almost just robbed myself of my first connected year!! đŸ™‚

      1. That’s right! I knew that I’ve been reading your blog for over a year. This year at EdWeek you were a leader to the other teachers in your district and connecting face-to-face with people like Dean Shareski and Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano who you already knew online! Awesome!


  6. Oh, Laura, your comment brings tears to my eyes! I am touched and humbled and grateful for your friendship. Thanks so much!


  7. Denise – I love this…chronicling your PLN journey! I remember when we started that KSYB Teacher Challenge as that is where we met. We responded to each other’s blogs and continue that today. Like the others, I have learned so much from you. Your genius shines through because you share it with so many!

    Something I enjoy about being connected to you is that we our fields of education are different – you are middle and I’m elementary. This is where being a connected educator is so valuable. We get to see the world through the eyes of someone who looks at things through different lenses. You said in one of your comments “we challenge one another to success” and it’s true. You have inspired me (and others I’m sure) in ways you will never know.

    One of the nicest surprises that sprang from our connectedness was when you sent me that lovely potholder…a gesture that shows you are willing to give to others!

    So glad to be a party of this journey with you and all those who are on their way to becoming Connected Educators!

    Be Well!



  8. Nancy,
    Thanks so much for the comment! Yes, I love that I am able to follow your elementary experience and recommend you to other elementary teachers as a great colleague / friend to follow.

    Thanks for being your best and encouraging me to be the same!

    Your friend,

    P.S. I didn’t notice any mistakes on my first reading of you comment! There aren’t that many typos! đŸ™‚

  9. Another powerful post by Denise! I read through the comments on your post and hear so many amazing stories, and that inspires me. Being a connected educator has also helped me grow in so many ways, especially in my confidence and my no longer feeling alone in my job.

    I am thrilled about yours and Sheri’s webinar coming up in a little less than two weeks. I look forward to participating and learning with you both!

    Kind regards,

    1. Thank you, Tracy! You are certainly a dear part of my connected educator story! I know what you mean about not feeling alone. That is certainly one of the best parts for me.

      That will be awesome if you can join us at the webinar!


  10. Hello Denise,
    You put in words what I have been feeling since embarking on my journey through blogs, Twitter and a host of other online opportunities…

    “As a teacher, I have always been a lifelong learner, but since I became a connected educator, I now have the joy of learning and growing with an incredible group of people in my PLN. ”

    Very well said. đŸ™‚

    Teacher, NSW, Australia

    1. Ross, thanks so much for your message! We joined this rich conversation about the same time, I believe.

      It is great to know you. Thanks again for all the sharing and teaching you do for students around the world.


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