Get Your PLN On!
By: Kisha Hugh
For many school counselors it can be kind of difficult to keep up with the latest trends going on in our profession. The truth is time or finances may prevent us from being available to attend local or national conferences, not to mention often times our hectic lives just prevents us from doing so. That’s why I’m glad to tell you how you can get your PLN ON!!! Professional Learning Networks (PLN) are a new and exciting way for school counselors all around the globe to engage in meaningful dialogue through social media without having to leave the comforts of your home or office.
I know you’re probably asking yourself “how can social media help me professionally?” Well let me show you just how powerful creating the right contacts for your PLN can help you grow professionally.
On the surface Twitter allows you to communicate with others by sharing brief messages with 140 characters called Tweets. Now I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of characters to get your point across but with practice you can make the most out of your tweets. Twitter Chats are hosted conversations based on a particular topic where school counselors can participate by using a special hashtag. I have met and learned from so many wonderful school counselors all over the United States, all while sitting at my desk in China. Here’s how to create your PLN using Twitter.
- Create a professional account solely for your school counseling brand. It works better and will help you to keep your personal account separate from your professional one.
- Start following school counselors and other educators who are cutting edge. They will Tweet all sorts of interesting things that you can learn about.
- Hashtags are so important! Think of them as a nice way to sort Tweets by a particular category. For example: if you were to go on Twitter right now and see this #PSCOC hashtag you could click it and everything that people have Tweeted using that same code/hashtag will come up. Some popular school counseling hashtags you should know about are: #scchat (Dr. Erin Mason’s School Counselors Chat), #hscchat (High School Counselors Chat),
Facebook is great because it helps us to stay in touch with our family and friends. A popular feature on Facebook that fits into our PLN category are groups. Many school counselors have created groups to seek advice, share resources, and to see what other counselors are doing at their schools. Some of my favorite Facebook groups are:
- Elementary School Counselor Exchange
- Caught in the Middle School Counselor
- High School Counselors’ Network
- Scholarship Chat for School Counselors
- Brothas & Sistas Working at International Schools
- Professional School Counselors of Color
- Professional School Counselors of Color International Edition
Youtube is an awesome resource because you can find so many creative videos by counselors. You can find anything from creative lesson plans to learning the various school counseling related softwares such as Naviance and PowerSchool.
Many creative school counselors have taken to the ‘Gram’ to post all sorts of amazing things. I’ve found everything from bulletin board ideas to small group projects. Should you decide to create your professional Instagram account remember not to add personal photos. Here are some of my favorite Instagram counselors, check them out!
- Keri Powers-Pye: counselorkeri
- Jodi Mills: Theschoolcounselorisin
- Carol Miller: themiddleschoolcounselor
- Vanessa: savvyschoolcounselor
Periscope & Blab
Periscope and Blab are awesome tools that works well for live presentations. As creator of PSCOC, I try to find different and fun ways to interact with my group members. Periscope and Blab enable me to get to know members in a more personal way using a handheld device or computer. You can broadcast live and interact with anyone in the world watching your live stream. This is a good idea if you’re considering building your brand to market your skills. Broadcasts are recorded for future playback. There are tons of great videos on Youtube that will show you how to use them.
If you’re utilizing your PLN network already what are some of your favorites?
Kisha is the creator of PSCOC and is currently working in Guangzhou, China. She will begin her next international experience as an elementary school counselor in Abuja, Nigeria this fall.