The Power of the PLN

These 2 images of Alec Couros’ never cease to amaze me. Quite often just the networked teacher image is shown in isolation, but I feel that the power of these images works best as a pair. For when you compare the opportunities of the second image to those of the first, who in their right mind would opt for being a just a typical teacher.

Typical Teacher Network

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by courosa:

The networked teacher

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by courosa:

Recently I had the pleasure of being the tutor for the EDUC3625: Numeracy and ICT across the Curriculum topic at Flinders University. In one of our later workshops, we spent a session looking at the benefits of being a networked teacher, and how to go about starting your own PLN.

Over the last few years I have participated in this workshop virtually, being one of the online mentors who engages with the students as they take their first steps into the world of Twitter. This year, in my new role as tutor, I wanted to call upon my own PLN to engage in a Twitter Chat with the students about the benefits they see as being connected educators. I wanted this to be not just “text book” style information about why Twitter is a great resource for educators, but a practical example with real life advocates on the benefits of having a PLN.

A little before the workshop I, along with other workshop tutors, put the call out to my PLN and the response was fantastic. I was thrilled to have such educators that I look up to, for example Brett Salakas (@MRsalakas) from AussieEd, Simon McKenzie (@connectedtr) and Andrew Woodman from the Futuristex Project (@futuristex). My biggest professional thrill came when Kathy Schrock (@KSchrock) also joined in the conversation after I tweeted to her.

Please have a read through the Storify of our Twitter conversation from this week. I think you will agree that this was a great opportunity for these students to connect with some amazing educators and was a great way to take their first steps in building their PLN.

What I Learnt From ISTE – A Brief Overview

Whilst I intend to post in a lot more detail about what I learnt at ISTE2013 in San Antonio, I am going to start with a brief overview that I am also sharing with my staff about the main “takeaways” I had from this experience.

So where to now…


Lots and lots of resources to check out!



  • First and foremost the must see video from the conference is the final speaker, Adam Bellow and his keynote entitled You’re Invited to Change the World. It was a very moving and inspirational keynote and I feel very privileged to have been in the room to witness it and to meet Adam throughout the conference. If you weren’t there though it is well worth the watch.
  • The Ignite Sessions that happened before the opening keynote were fantastic – 10 speakers with only 5 minutes each to present their ideas. It was fast paced and full of great ideas!
  • ISTE also have a great YouTube playlist that showcases a wide range of presentations on topics from iPads, Digital Image, BYOD, Storytelling and much more. I know I will be going back here to view some things I wanted to see but just couldn’t get to.


DSCF9714Keynote 1 Jane McGonigal

Her website can be found here

Her Twitter account is here

See some of the games she has worked on here

TED Talks

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world


DSCF9764Keynote 2 Stephen Johnson

His website can be found here

His Twitter account is here

TED Talks

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Steven Johnson: The Web as a city


DSCF9904Keynote 3 Adam Bellow

Adam’s Keynote from the Google Glass POV

Adam Bellow’s Educational Tech Commandments

His eduTecher website can be found here

His Twitter account is here




My earliest email newsletters from Kathy date back to the early 2000’s and she was one of the first education technology gurus that I followed. That is why it was such a thrill to meet her at ISTE and to see that, all these years on, she is still sharing fantastic resources to a wide audience.

Kathy Schrock’s iPads4Teaching resources

Kathy’s Website

Another website with resources for iPads

The One iPad Classroom by Jennifer Bond


Other People’s ISTE Resources

While I haven’t necessarily had the time to go through all these resources myself – here is a whole host of resources tweeted out by other educators during the conference that cover a wide range of topics. A miscellaneous treasure trove of resources just waiting to be explored!