Professional Learning Networks – A Place to Model Digital Citizenship

My Professional Learning Network

Professional learning networks, or PLNs as they are affectionately called, have become woven into the fabric of our professional lives. For me, I carefully decide who to follow based on my personal and professional interests. Just as importantly, I purposefully create the content I share.  

Every couple of weeks, I like to share a video message with the members of the North Carolina School Library Media Association (NCSLMA). As I am now serving as the president, I think it is a fun way for me to stay connected with members from across the state. I create a simple video greeting that is posted on our social media platforms that I like to call a “Media Minute.” I have even blogged about this before. It is my hope that viewers will become engaged, commenting on the content, and further strengthening our organization’s PLN reach. No matter the platform, when I post, I am cognizant of my audience and the content I share.    


A few days ago on Twitter, I had a notification on my phone about a special tweet. I made a young lady’s Top Ten list as a woman who inspires her and she “tweeted” about it. I do my best to be authentic both in person and on social media. Laura Long on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is the same Laura Long you could talk to face to face. The idea of inspiring someone else is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. My intent with respect to social media has always been to build relationships with followers, friends, and family through meaningful content. I have never purposefully tried to inspire anyone so this Top Ten list got me thinking about my use of social media and the message I send to viewers. 

Additionally, I paused to think about being a part of someone else’s PLN. I consume a lot of digital content, but I had not stopped to think that I would also be a contributor to someone else’s growth. (And, in the case of the curator of the Top Ten list, she is a middle school student!) I spend time carefully selecting who I follow and who I can learn from that it had not occurred to me that someone else would follow me for their own growth or curiosity.

PLN Responsibility

So, I asked myself, how am I cultivating my PLN? Am I following people with content that inspires me and empowers me? Am I learning and growing professionally and intellectually from the content I consume? Likewise, what type of content am I posting? What value does it add? 

The same holds true for our students. As educators, are we modeling an authentic social media presence for them? Are we encouraging students to develop their own PLNs that inspire them and help them build real connections. Do our students have school librarian role models in the social media world to emulate? How will they learn to create meaningful content for a broader audience? Are we showing them how to do just that?

As librarians, teachers, authors, journalists…whatever our profession, we are role models, even if we don’t intend to be. Young people are watching! The question is, what are we showing them? How are we harnessing the power of social media to make a difference in a positive way?

Grow Your PLN

Just like countless other organizations, NCSLMA has a wonderful supportive network of librarians across our state. So, I will extend an invitation to you to be a part of this community with me. I do hope you are already contributing to your own affiliate organization’s platforms. No matter where you find yourself on social media, may your posts be purposeful and inspiring to others because we never know who is watching, listening, and taking notice. You may just make someone’s Top Ten list yourself! May it be for making a difference in a positive way. Have a wonderful day, take care and I hope to connect with you soon in my PLN! #HSTreads #HSTcreates #NCLaura #MediaMinute

For your reference:

AASL Shared Foundations and Key Commitments in Practice through PLNs

  • Include: Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity in the learning community.
  • Collaborate: Work effectively with others to broaden perspectives and work toward common goals.
  • Curate: Make meaning for oneself and others by collecting, organizing, and sharing resources of personal relevance.
  • Explore: Discover and innovate in a growth mindset developed through experience and reflection.

Author: Laura Long

Laura Long is the school library media specialist at Highland School of Technology in Gastonia, NC, a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Masters of Library Science from East Carolina University. She is a Gaston County Schools’ Delta Fellow, Pinnacle Technology Leader and member of the Pioneering Educators Team, as well as a National Board certified language arts teacher. Additionally, she is the President of the North Carolina School Library Media Association. She loves collaborating and helping her students connect with others around the world, so feel free to contact her via email or social media.

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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