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Notes on listening to Kim Cofino’s Fireside Chat

January 15, 2010

Personal Learning Network = a group of people you collaborate with regularly
Tools to grow your PLN (firsthand experience helps you do this with your class): blogs, wikis, podcasts, Skype, Twitter, &c

Kim Cofino’s six steps to building your PLN:
1. use an RSS reader – a great foundation (learning by lurking/no pressure to interact)
2. join social networks with like-minded educators (a virtual teacher’s lounge)
3. express yourself: start a blog, develop your online profile, share thoughts and ideas
4. connect regularly and more personally (Skype)
5. Attend online conferences (synchronous, asynchronous)
6. Try Twitter: a great way to build your network and expand your interests

Move from a teacher-led process to a more student-centered model. Blend traditional methods with new collaborative approaches. Model what you want students to do. Adopt a new mindset: Prepare yourself to face the future educational world as you prepare your students to succeed in the world of the future. Exposing students to genuine interaction with students and teachers around the world will help them to be flexible and adaptable and to have a global perspective. Bring the world into your classroom!

(The podcast is here.)

(I am surprised at how much I have actually already done of what Cofino recommends.)

Vance blogged about this here . He mentions that he uses his commute to listen to podcasts such as this one. I have a long commute (50 miles a day, about 2 hours; twice that if I take the bus), but I carpool at least half of the time, and when I drive alone I like to listen to audio books (currently listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the 2nd or 3rd time!). How unprofessional is that???


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  1. Jennifer Verschoor permalink

    Kim Cofino summarizes her thoughts in this blog post <a href="; target="_blank"></a&gt; She is one of the best examples on how to become a 21st century educator. Last year I gave a teacher training course and showed these steps to digital immigrant teachers. They were overwhelmed by the amount of information overload one has to handle if you follow Kim??s steps. Start with only one or two steps and gradually you will start adding the rest. We need to be global teachers and make our students network different students worldwide.

  2. Hanaa Khamis permalink

    As a matter of fact we can be using some/most/all of the listed tools to create a PLN. However, maintaining an active one that would survive the test of time is the question. I’ve experienced the death of PLNs several times. There are other factors that keep them going that I still seem to lack.

  3. Hanaa Khamis permalink

    BTW… I love this installment of Harry Potter! I read it 3-4 times myself. I can’t get myself to do podcasts regularly just yet… Maybe if I buy a new decent MP3 player or do you recommend an iPod?

  4. Nina Liakos permalink

    @Jen, thanks for the link to Kim Cofino’s blog. That supplements the Fireside Chat very nicely!<br>@Hanaa, Yes, <i>The Deathly Hallows</i> is one of my favorites, too; I’ve read all of them more than once (sometimes reading, sometimes listening to those wonderful Jim Dale recordings). <i>The Deathly Hallows</i> seems to be the continuation of <i>The Half-Blood Prince</i>, which doesn’t really end. Of course all seven books comprise one long novel in seven parts. Regarding PLNs, I think the trick is to keep trying until you find the one that really works for you, which may be a function of where you are in your own evolution rather than of the features of the tool you select. I don’t have a PLN yet either. I started a wiki to collect some professional development materials and notes, but I don’t really maintain it. Something like a ProtoPage or PageFlakes is what I would like to do…someday. Maybe I will just retire first.

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