Create Your Own Professional Learning Network

In the age of the web and burgeoning social media tools, starting a professional learning network (PLN) is easily done. PLNs also enable educators to communicate with others in their profession through various Web tools: Teachers or administrators can consult with their peers in the next district or on the other side of the world to share ideas, troubleshoot problems, or discover how others put lessons into practice. We’re looking for articles about the specific benefits and challenges that maintaining a professional learning network brings to an educator’s practice. What kind of models, tools, and practices for using PLNs are most helpful to teachers? To administrators? Also, how difficult is it to bridge the virtual divide and meet those in your network face-to-face? How does that helps the PLN experience?

ASCD Express is looking for short, 600–1,000-word essays on the theme “Create Your Own Professional Learning Network.” Guidelines for submissions are here; please send us your submissions to by November 19, 2012.

Laura Varlas is an ASCD project manager in publishing, and a graduate student in the secondary education: English/language arts program at George Washington University.