What’s Your “P” in PLN Stand For?

My post from last week drew more attention than I anticipated. I developed the presentation 21 Ed Tech Leaders You Just Have to Meet for a session I was facilitating at the annual NJAET conference, but do to the power of online social networking, its audience was much larger.

I found the comments people left to be exactly what I was looking for. A few responded to my request to suggest other ed tech leaders to follow such as Wesley Fryer, Doug Johnson, Scott McLeod, Clarence Fisher, Cheryl Oakes and Stephen Downes.

Karen Janowski called me out on the fact that my list of 21 did not include any ed tech folks that focused on struggling students and Universal Design for Learning. I surprised myself with that one as I go to Karen for lots of support and refer people to her UDL Toolkit on a regular basis. Paul Hamilton, Brian Friedlander and Ira Socol also would have been great additions to my list as advocates of using tools designed for students with special needs to help the general education population.

But it was Miguel Guhlin‘s comment that got me thinking back to the process of selecting the 21. Though I did make sure to include some local educators as I was presenting to a NJ association, and I also wanted to provide a variety of areas of expertise so that I would have something in the presentation that was of interest to everyone in attendance.  But much of the voice of the presentation was in HOW I presented the information.

What does your “p” in PLN stand for? If you look at the big numbers, my “p” stands for professional. But when it comes down to it. The ed techies that I communicate with on a regular basis are part of my personal learning network. I had a story or an anecdote to say about pretty much every one of the 21 ed tech leaders I presented on October 14. There are a few on the list that I don’t have a personal connection with, but that I just learn so much from,  I had to share their story.

Do you separate your personal and professional learning network? I’ve learned in conversation that many of my colleagues are doing the same as me. They are keeping their networks on Plurk small and personal. They use Twitter to share resources and ideas.  We all seem to benefit from the social bookmarking in Delicious and Diigo and from networks there as well.

There are a few additional ed tech leaders that I would have liked to include in my original post from last week. Along with those I mentioned above, they are Jeff Utecht, Alan Levine, and Hall Davidson. These are three ed tech leaders I would like to meet. There are many more, I’m sure.


Implementing New Curricular Learning with Universally Designed Experiences” (INCLUDE) is the name of the grant that many districts in New Jersey applied for and received from the NJ Department of Education along with federal funding through NCLB Title IID and IDEA-B. The objective of the INCLUDE Grant program is to increase student achievement in middle school mathematics by improving instruction and educational technology.

I’ve had the pleasure in the past couple of months to meet with several of the participating districts to discuss professional development in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as well as educational technology. What’s got me is that we use so many acronyms in education that it’s tough to keep track of what we’re all referring to. Let’s recap what I’ve already written about:


There are many of us that won’t admit to NOT being able to decode an acronym when presented one we are unfamiliar with. We may Tweet it or e-mail someone asking if anyone has any resources to share. This is what seems to be happening with UDL (not UBD) in New Jersey. Universal Design for Learning is here.

I’m very excited!

For additional resources on UDL, please visit my UDL blog at:


Two other resources you can’t do without:


Karen Janowski’s blog