I don't think I truly appreciated the connections that were possible before I started really building my PLN. Previously, my PLN was limited to mostly teachers within my own district and a few that I had connected with personally at various workshops or conventions. I had a twitter account, but I did not use it. I followed a few blogs of my favorite educators (i.e. Jim Burke), but I didn't really subscribe to many RSS feeds.
The biggest thing about building a PLN is really thinking about what you want your network to be. It can very quickly become unmanageable or too much to keep up with. I'm trying to be very aware of what I am doing, why I am adding certain links, and how I am going to utilize this for my own professional development and the development of others.
I don't particularly mind sharing my thoughts publicly. I have been doing it for some time with my own students. Also, I view email as sharing my thoughts publicly, so I always have an awareness of how my words might be perceived. I think the key is to realize that words can hurt, so really considering word choice is imperative. There is a way to share an opinion or even disagree while still being sensitive and respectful of other views. I don't find this to be any different than how I share with my team. I am still aware of word choice and perception. The big difference is that those people I work with directly understand me personally, so I don't have to be quite as careful in my word choice.
I actually added several blogs to my reader, but one that I am positive that I will continue to visit is the New York Times Teaching and Learning Network. I've gone here in the past for resources, but this is the first time I've followed their feed.
I think this step in the training has really taught me how to link all of these resources so much more effectively. I knew about all of these tools and had used them, but I have not used them as effectively as I will be able to now. I am really excited about continuing to build this network.