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Beyond PLN

We live in connected times. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how powerful the devices we casually tuck in our pockets really are.

I joined Twitter in 2012, and since that time I’ve had the chance to experience the power of a Professional Learning Network (PLN) firsthand. Lately, I’m also noticing the power of connecting with people outside my PLN. An example of this is a connected literacy project we’re trying.

If you've heard of the hit television show "Shark Tank," you know that guests on the show present their ideas to a panel of sharks who pick which projects they want to invest in.

For our connected literacy project, we flipped the shark-tank concept around. Instead of having an elite group of adults select which student inventions are worthy, we're empowering students to decide which literacy shark they want to invest their time and talent into. The video below features authors, educators, and literacy-leaders from around the country (at least one of whom is beyond my PLN). Each of them shares a unique problem they've encountered in the reading world. We had students watch the video and select a problem to tackle (or identify their own).

In the end, we're hoping students’ literacy-themed inventions represent the fusion of reading and innovation. Our plan is to share students’ solutions and possibly connect with other classrooms who are interested in joining us using the #LitTank hashtag on social media. Your students are invited to join us…feel free to use the video if it’s helpful as well.

When we’re intentional with how we approach connectivity, we can co-create powerful networks to further our learning and increase student opportunity, both in our PLN and beyond.

If this blog post resonated, you might like my newest book, Reclaiming Our Calling: Hold on to the Heart, Mind, and Hope of Education. The book tackles a tension many educators are feeling using a combination of stories and practical strategies. If you’re interested in technology integration, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students is a best-seller with Corwin Press. Both books are built on the belief that everything we do in education starts with relationships and connectedness.



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