PLN- Still Learning to be a Maven

I have thought about this post for the better part of the last three weeks, trying to think of the best way to write. There may have even been a bit of procrastination…I know even teachers procrastinate. This post is a reflection on my involvement in the COETAIL community and ability to build up my PLN. In a phrase, I think I could be better here. Yet like all things that need to grow, patience is key.

Image by 경복 김 from Pixabay

Reflecting on my Growth

Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

I took time to reflect on an initial post I wrote back in course 1 entitle Learning not to Lurk, where I reflected on Utecht’s 1% rule, my tendency to be a lurker, and how the idea of confidence in one’s idea needs to play a role in the discussion.

At the time I wrote:

“Cofino’s post, The Real Me, made me ponder about how an individual’s self-confidence can have an impact as to whether they are a maven or connector. Putting something online and leaving it there for others to see takes a certain level of confidence.”

I think that idea, the confidence to share an idea, is still something I am working on.  COETAIL has GREATLY increase my awareness, knowledge, and confidence in my own learning. I am still more at the stage of sharing my knowledge with others face-to-face and have become a bit known in the corridors as the one to ask about anything Edtech.

In reading through my past post and reflecting on where I am now, I think that I have started to move past being lurker on social media. Yet, like the image of the plant above, I am only now starting to grow. Perhaps I could view COETAIL and the online nature of it as the soil and sun I needed to get started.

I did not use Twitter before the course and have found myself using it less and less during Course 5 as my initial routine of COETAIL has changed. Perhaps it was the more individual nature of Course 5, perhaps it was an increased workload at school, or perhaps it was a result of looking elsewhere to be part of a PLN. Yet, with a positive mindset I am happy that I am more aware of this and understand how I can change.

Comparing myself from now to the start of COETAIL, I have:

  • created a twitter account
  • racked up a whopping 33 followers
  • Am following 53 people
  • have been mentioned in others tweets
  • been mentioned in the COETAIL Course 13 blogs,
  • have retweeted others
  • had my blogs tweeted by others

While there is still a ways to go, it is a good amount of progress from the beginning of the course. To me, the clear area of improvement is in the consistent and sustained nature of the interactions online. Posing questions online, responding to others tweets, and sharing resources are clear areas of improvements.

Below is a quick snapshot of some of my online presence. I am posting this part for evidence of what I have done, but also as a snapshot of where I am that I can look back on:

I have worked on pushing out ideas of others, and share the ideas on my Twitterverse….






While I have a ways to go to fully being a Mavern and share my knowledge, I can see the steps taken from the beginning of the year. Further, reflecting and writing this post has helped take a step forward in this regard. My most recent step was to take the step to follow others. I came across a list of 30 K-12 IT influences and gave them all a follow to try and build up my online network. I was pleased to see that several of them then followed me back and already reached out to me.


Aside from twitter, I am also really proud of all the work that has gone into my COETAIL blog, which I find myself reflecting on constantly during the final course. Further, seeing the comments of my peers helps builds my confidence when they gave positive feedback. Whether that was on my ideas and learning, or my tendency to link my post to lyrics, such as Truly Madly Deeply, or using movie clips, such as this one from Office Space for the post Partners in Learning, I always appreciated the feedback.

As well, reading through the multitude of posts that my peers wrote was a constant source of information and helped to fram my ideas.

Old school PLN

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Up to know, most of my discussions have been about my online PLN’s, but not all PLN are online. Since the start of COETAIL, I have

  • been a member of our school TEMC training
  • joined our school Data Team and trained with Matthew Savage (@savageeducation)
  • been trained to run the TEMC course

As I was undergoing the training for both TEMC and the Data Team, I was thinking of the collaborative nature of the work and how having access to an online PLN is great, I am also looking more to my colleagues to share ideas and work together.


For my TEMC group, we were able to bond over our five days of intense Zoom training and left with our contact information to work through any problems we have in the future delivering the course. I took the step to create a Google Doc for us to share our contact info and use as a depository of resources for us. As each of us will be running the courses at our schools on our own, having this group as a source of knowledge will be a great resources.

team data

As part of a desire to better understand our students, my school has put together a superb group of people, both teachers and leadership, to look at the wealth of data we have. We started working with Matthew Savage where he outlined the ideas he coined as the Mona Lisa Effect. Our regular meetings allows us to connect and deepen our knowledge as we start our Data Story.

Next steps

At this point, I feel confident in what my next steps are to continue to work towards being a maven. Llyod, Skyring, and Fraser, in Online Personas: Who We Become When We Learn with Others Online, help to clarify some of my ideas. They write that in response to a survey of different personalities online that:  “What was surprising was the genuinely positive attitude to lurking with one response ending with the caveat, “that’s okay, they’re learning.”  I feel I am still at that learning stage. The next step is for me to work on being more active to inch closer to that of a maven. Again, I turn to Llyod, Skyring, and Fraser who outline the following actions that would describe a maven:

  • Writing regularly controversial posts to spark debate and share knowledge.
  • Constantly providing URLs to answer questions or advising on places to source answers to queries.
  • Collating resources in one central area and sharing the site with thousands of educators. Providing links to research during heated discussions on Yammer.
  • Share information across (within & across communities), search for answers to questions, collate information and share.


Questions for the Reader

Who are some of the best follows on your Twitter that represents the qualities of a maven I discussed above? Tweet me at @DWRBerg to let me know


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