Your PLN is Awesome, but Be Sure to Get Out There IRL

I value the fact that I have a virtual professional learning network. I love scrolling through Twitter to see what thoughts or resources are being shared by educators and creators that I follow. But nothing replaces going to professional learning opportunities in person. And if you can find an event that combines your personal interests but still relates to your professional learning, then go for it! Get out there!

I was in line for an event this year’s San Diego Comic Con, scrolling through Twitter, and I saw that Hank Green would be in town for his book tour. I follow Hank Green a little on YouTube and I listen to a couple of his podcasts, and I’m one of the many folks out there who are attracted to what he says and how he says it online. In an online universe that can be so toxic and shallow, Hank Green works to show us what can be good about how we conduct ourselves online. So, I bought the ticket to his book tour appearance while waiting in line for The Adventure Zone.

Hank Green on stage with a guitar

Hank Green at the USD/Warwick’s Event

Fast forward to October 4th at USD, my friend and colleague Stephanie Macceca and I were in the crowd getting treated to a high quality experience. The audience was very positive, Hank Green and Dianna Cowern were smart and funny. And Hank ended the show with a great mini-talk on holding on to our humanity as we build our online identities.

After getting to meet Hank Green at the meet and greet event (very nice of Hank to hang out for this, he’s so patient

Anthony and Hank Green at the Warwick's USD event

Anthony and Hank Green at the Warwick’s USD event

with people like me who are no good at brief interactions with people who are famous on the Internet), I spent the following weekend reading all of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. I loved it. I loved it in the context of having gone to Green’s book tour event and hearing his talk on humanity in online spaces. I’m so glad I got out there for this event.




Then, just last Wednesday, I was browsing online while at my daughter’s Jiu Jitsu class (because, I love that she is sticking with this thing, but it’s not always enthralling as a bystander), I found out that Scott McCloud would be talking THE NEXT DAY at the San Diego Public Library. How lucky am I that I just happened to notice a post on an event that is right up my alley as a comics lover interested in how we make meaning from what/how we perceive?!

The cover of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics

A copy of McCloud’s Understanding Comics that was donated to my school by SDCC years ago

A stamp saying donated by San Diego Comic Con

So cool to be flipping through this copy to see this stamp

So, while my daughter pinned down her latest sparring partner in Jiu Jistsu, I registered for the event. I also registered my 15-year-old, Neva, because I didn’t want to go alone, and I knew as an artist, they would value what McCloud had to say about the way our minds interact with visuals.


Again, I love that I am building a PLN that helps me stay connected to educational discussions that energize me and the direction I want to go in my career. But nothing can replace getting out there and attending high quality events, especially when those events are in line with your personal interests. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities feed your personal and professional curiosities. Get out there!

Neva and Anthony at the San Diego Public Library in front of an art display

Yeah… I wore the same shirt to this event

A slide from a presentation: there are no neutral visual decisions

There are no neutral visual decisions

Scott McCloud on stage with a stick

Scott McCloud on stage with a stick


2 thoughts on “Your PLN is Awesome, but Be Sure to Get Out There IRL

  1. Shelly

    What a great set of experiences here, Anthony. I would love to meet HG and hear McCloud speak (I read Mc’S book cover to cover in art school — it changed the way I read graphic novels & informed my classroom and library instruction back in the day). I should be paying better attention to people coming through Portland. Powell’s bring through lots of writers and illustrators. I need to freshen up my PLN game, clearly.

    1. admin Post author

      I was a snobby English major who thought graphic stories were beneath me. McCloud’s discussion on what our minds do when reading graphic stories was definitely part of how I changed the way I look at comics.

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