"If a teacher is not connected, it is by choice not by circumstance."
This quote struck me as being a perceptive examination of todays educators. Seriously, with so much access to resources through online platforms there is little excuse for not being connected professionally.
Viki Davis contributed a journal article to Edutopia to discuss what a Professional Learning Network/Community is and its value in education.
Torrey Trust defines the PLN (PDF) as "a system of interpersonal connections and resources that support informal learning." The PLN is a cornerstone of modern connectivist theories of learning as advocated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes.
Some of my favorite PLN's are Google+ Communities like: Connected Classrooms, and Instructional Technology Integrators and Coaches. In addition to those, I have found tremendous value in Twitter and twitter chats. My handle is @erod129 (please follow and I will be glad to follow back), and I take part in chats like: #personalizedPD, #edtechchat, #haysedchat. Through these chats, not only do I gain valuable insights through experts and specialist in the field, I make connections that I can rely on for ideas and advise. Here is a directory that lists chats and when they are scheduled.
I think the last way that I try to stay connected is by using an app called feedly. This is a way for me to curate journals and articles that are of interest to me. You can bet that Edutopia is at the top of my list of RSS feeds. Using Feedly I do not miss any post from my favorite online journals. When you find a great online journal, you can search for it in feedly and add it to your list. Feedly will keep track of new posts and add them automatically. There is an option to share your feeds with others, but it is an option when you upgrade from the free version.
I would love to know how you stay connected. Please feel free to share your experience and ideas on how to grow your PLN/C