Getting the Most Out of Your #ISTE Membership: PLNs

As the buzz is starting to swirl for #ISTE17 (ISTE Conference 2017) and plans are being put into place, many excited educators (about 15,000+) are looking forward to a whirlwind conference experience in June. But did you know ISTE offers so much more than the yearly conference? My ISTE experience wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the Professional Learning Networks, known as PLNs.

ISTE offers about 30 (26 at the time of this post) special interest groups, or smaller more focused segments of ISTE that they call PLNs. PLNs range from Ed Tech Coaches (I serve on the leadership team for ETC, so it’s near & dear to my heart) to Virtual Environments to Learning Spaces and everything in between. Each PLN provides additional professional development, networking, and learning opportunities related to the PLN. For example, the Ed Tech Coaches Network coordinates monthly Twitter chats on coaching topics, a monthly webinar series presented by PLN members, hosts book studies, and much more throughout the year.

Best part about the PLNs? It’s completely FREE to join any of the PLNs; it comes with your ISTE membership! I often fear that people don’t know about what I would consider the biggest benefit to being a member of ISTE- PLNs- so I wanted to write a quick post about it.

So how do you join a PLN? First, you’ll need to be a member of ISTE. Secondly, you’ll want to make sure you officially opt-in to be a part of each PLN you choose by going to your profile, and then select Manage Networks on the left. Select the box next to each PLN, in which you would like to join. And that’s it! Once you join, you can access the discussion boards and resources the PLN has provided under the Community Tab. Helpful Hint– I bookmark the communities in which I participate the most, so I can access them in one click. The video below will walk you through joining and accessing PLNs as well as how to update your email preferences.

I highly encourage you to participate in the PLNs as much as possible. Anything is only as valuable as the time you put into it. Find a PLN or two that you are really interested in, and be an active member.

Are you a member of ISTE’s PLNs? What have you gotten out of them? Do you have another professional network besides ISTE that you would highly recommend?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

P.S. If you are a member of the Ed Tech Coaches Network and you’re presenting at ISTE17, we’re putting together an ETC program for the conference again this year. Fill out this form to have your session(s) included: bit.ly/etcatiste17.

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