Thursday, November 13, 2008

Who Was Your First?

Well if you are here looking for some real juicy tidbits I think you might be disappointed. Last week as I made my way through different sessions at Tech Forum Southwest in Austin, my last session was with David Warlick. Mr. Warlick talked about his PLN (Personal Learning Network) and how it came to be. He talked about initially following Will Richardson and then adding more people as he became more involved in that network of people.

As I drove back from Austin with Kyle Stevens, I got to thinking about who was the first person that initially brought me to the table and my involvement in and growth of a PLN. I was fortunate enough some time back to actually hear about and then stumble upon Miguel Guhlin. Miguel has been involved for a long time with TCEA so I read his work online by the simple task of having it bookmarked in my favorites. All during this time resisting the opportunity to learn more things that Miguel talked about over the years in his blog.

I continued in this manner for several years or so and then I attended my second Tech Forum Southwest in 2007 and heard about things like Twitter, Delicious, and on and on. I opened my Twitter account that day and followed some of the individuals at the event and casually watched the tweets go by over the next several months. And then it happened. The heavens opened, the earth shook, well, not really, but to say my eyes were opened would actually be a true statement.

Then I ran across Kathy Cassidy’s blog as she was just starting and someone mentioned it in a Tweet. So I read it and decided it was time to get in the pool. Miguel had brought me to the water and I just stood there for a very long time, but it was as much if not more Miguel that got me here as it was Kathy.

Thank you Miguel for what you have meant to me over the years and thank you for your friendship and conversations. Kathy I appreciate your timely post and the fact that it came to my feeds. To all of those who exist in my PLN you are all so very awesome and you continue to push me and make me think. Thank you all and know that I pray for each of you every day.

So who was your first? Who helped get you to where you are and have you thanked them recently? Meanwhile, someone pass me some more of that kool-aid.


Jennifer said...

My first inspiration and encourager was Tony Brewer followed quickly by David Warlick!

Both men, both southern gentlemen, embraced me (figuratively) and addressed me by name each time our paths crossed. Both took time to listen to my silly questions and to give me ideas and encouragement.

Alice Christie was a remarkable source of resources and Leslie Fisher made me realize I wanted to do what she did. Share what I love with fun and passion!

Recently, I would say that David Jakes, Colleen King, Debbie Schinker, Ryan Bretag, and Paul R Wood have stepped up to the plate and encouraged me to make it real, keep it genuine, and stretch myself beyond where I was content to be.

And finally, I cannot forget Al Rogers...of GlobalSchoolHouse who believed in my simple ideas for teachers with online projects and let me host with GSN and then allowed me to fly on my own. A remarkable man who (with Tony and DavidW) have proven to be a great foundation.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Michael J.J. Gras, M.Ed. said...

Paul, that is a softball question for me. Scott Floyd, alias @woscholar, for better or worse opened my eyes to the concept of a PLN. He was an energetic teacher in my district who seemingly had unlimited time for kids and unlimited knowledge of the goings on in education. His recent promotion allows him to do for teachers what he did for me. What did he do? He taught me some of his secretes starting with Twitter and my life will never be the same.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I thought about this all afternoon. When I saw Tony Brewer and all mentioned, It brought back memories of attending Connected Classroom conventions and getting great inspiriation. But my first real support group was our own California based CUE. Computer Using Educators to the uninformed. And back in the 80s when I was all about using the Apple II in education, my hero was Leroy Finkel. I met Leroy on several occasions and asked him my key questions at the time. Like "should I put one computer in each classroom or put together a computer lab". His monthly articles in the CUE magazine were always pithy and showed that he was the man in the know. It was a sad day for me when I read that he has passed on. He is still honored by the Leroy Finkel Fellowship. During the early days, He WAS CUE. But nowadays Mike Lawrence is doing a fantastic job leading us into the 21st century as Executive Director.
More recently though, my many mentors are so numerous, I don't know where to start. Perry Bresemann has been a great help in our Lutheran community. Since 2000 he has led many national workshops for me and many other Lutheran Tech leaders. Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce.

Scott S. Floyd said...

Thanks, Michael. This is a great question and post, Paul. My PLN journey started when Michael and our local education foundation decided to send someone to the TCEA conference for the first time a number of years back. While there, I realized I was missing so much due to the number of sessions being offered. I stumbled across Wes Fryer's blog where he mentioned his podcasts of the sessions he had attended (rogue work back then, and somewhat still today sadly). That got me hooked. Then he linked to others who did the same (rebels). I somehow stumbled across a post on RSS feeds and the rest is history. My knowledge would be nowhere what it is now without my PLN. I no longer fear being prepared for new challenges because my PLN always has the answer before the challenge even arrives.

Tim Holt said...

Funny, sometimes I don;t even think of the people in my PLN as members of my PLN, I think of them more as friends.

I guess it was Brian Grenier that started me on the journey, showing me some of the ropes of how to post blogs, and the value of voicing your opinion. Since then, folks like Miguel, Scott, you, Kevin Honeycutt and many others have become simply part of my daily routine.

So yes, they are PLN. You are part of my PLN, but when I see you and the others at meetings, I see my friends, who just happens to be in my PLN.