I struggle with how and when is best to teach someone new stuff. I can teach someone the same thing 2 or 3 times and if I offered to do it a 4th time, they may take me up on it. When does it become enough? I am not saying there's anything wrong with the person OR with what's being taught. I think it all revolves around the willingness to change and the openness to new things on an individual basis. I have worked with my 8 year old on blogging...I set him up a blog, showed him how it works, how to get pics off of his digital camera and helped him post a few things AND STILL he could really care less about blogging. It just isn't important to him at this point in his life. Yes, I see the benefits of starting him young and teaching him the power of writing for an audiance, creating a positive digital footprint, etc. But he just doesn't get it because HE doesn't want to get it or he doesn't see the importance of it. So should I bother? Should I teach him something that he doesn't see as important for his life? OR, should I work hard to teach him the "why" in hopes that he will begin to the see the importance and then take on the challenge of learning something new for himself, making a personal connection to whatever that may be so that it has meaning to him and not just me? I am pretty sure the latter is the better choice. Well, I KNOW the latter is the better method but I often find that I teach something and try planting seeds in soil that isn't ready. All that to say I think there is something to be learned from nature, which is lots of cultivation paired with critical timing is a necessity for proper growth to occur. Trying to facilitate growth when the conditions are not right can lead to discouragement. But being there when all things are aligned is a pretty amazing thing to witness and knowing you are an active part of that is truly indescribable. It's why I teach.

Here's a blog post which I wrote a while back and intended to use as my first post for my new blog but obviously forgot about. Well, when Liz Davis asked a on Twitter if anyone had a post telling about PLN's, I remembered that this was sitting lonely on my desktop just waiting to be published or trashed. Well, here it is, so read on if you want to know my feelings about PLN's. And as it was orginally titled, a simple question is what motivated me to finally get my lazy butt in gear and create a blog so I can share and not just be a "lurking" consumer.

"Twitterpoll Question from @courosa leads to my first blog post"

So the question posed by Dr. Couros was “what is a PLN?” Seemed like a pretty simple, straightforward question, right? But then again, if it had a simple answer I don’t think Dr. Couros would need to ask his PLN for their ideas on the topic. Anyway, I decided to weigh in on this discussion and devoted some thought to this question. I have a PLN but really haven’t tried to describe it. I have talked about PLN’s with the teachers at my 2 middle schools but I really haven’t defined it in any certain terms…much less in 140 characters (actually, 132 characters by the time I added in the @courosa to respond on Twitter). So I distilled out what I thought was a somewhat thoughtful response and tweeted it. Well, just like any good steward of Twitter, Dr. Couros responded to my answer. But his response was another question! Isn’t that what good teachers do...use good questioning techniques to get students thinking on higher levels? Of course it is. And he must be a good teacher because his question led me to closely examine this definition of what a PLN really is…to discover what it means to me personally. It’s not that defining a PLN has been a pressing issue for me or something that I have lost sleep over. It’s the fact that I entered into a conversation, shared my thoughts and then the conversation didn’t just end. It was been furthered by his response and question…a true conversation. Now I am engaged and the ball’s in my court! I could very easily leave it alone and go read some blogs or tweets, but then I would be cheating myself out of this moment of discovery. This conversation has become a learning opportunity for me, my chance to create meaning and gain a better understanding for myself…a meaning and understanding that I can then share with my PLN. And then maybe I can further this conversation or enter into a new one, but the difference will be that I have something NEW to bring to the community because of my personal discovery. Isn’t that our goal for our students…for them to authentically engage in the learning process so as to create/discover meaning that is useful to them personally? Isn’t that what a PLN is all about…To act as a source AND catalyst for this sort of thought-provoking conversation and authentic experience mentioned above that leads us to a point where are required to engage, to reflect, and ultimately to contribute instead of just consuming? I don’t know if I defined a PLN or could explain it in 140 characters, but my PLN has been and will continue to be a major part of my learning experience. It’s a must is we really want to be life-long learners in the 21st Century.

Click to read Dr. Couros' thoughtful post about PLN's and to see all the responses he received from Twitter folks.