Having a personal learning network is an informal network that can include learners who derive knowledge from their own personal learning environment. Edutopia says that, “A PLN is a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources. Each individual educator becomes a potential source of information.”
There ARE three deterrents to educators who use PLNs as a tool for learning:
- “The PLN is a mindset, not the outcome of a workshop of the PD offered annually by many school districts. It is not a one-shot fix.”
- “Successful users of PLNs overwhelm the uninitiated with techno-babble.”
- “It requires, at least at first, digital literacy beyond a Google search.”
It was interesting that through PLNs, children can share their cultural information with other children around the world with Facebook or Twitter. Teachers can exchange methods and strategies, which can also be done through Facebook and Twitter. We can use PLNs to have online discussions and link access to materials that would not be revealed otherwise. I’ve seen this through Google Docs before. Edutopia says, “Twitter, the social media application, is the backbone for most PLNs. Each 140-character post allows quick and easy transmissions of information to links yielding websites, videos, podcasts, blog posts, articles, interviews and excerpts — dream resources for classroom professionals. By simply asking, teachers receive content and strategies from sources around the globe.”
With this being said it makes me appreciate Twitter a little bit more. At first I was skeptic of using Twitter just because I assumed it was going to be just like every other social media app that was full of nonsense. Twitter is a great way to develop our own personal networks of fellow educators and have the resources there that are designed to help us become better teachers.
My discoveries of PLNs have been positive! I’ve spent some time following my 100 + people on Twitter. I’ve found educators, principals, organizations, etc. that I believe will make a difference in gaining information. We’ve all already have started building our own PLNs, but according to Edutopia this is how you begin to build your PLN:
- “Start a Twitter account that focuses on following educators.”
- “Build a circle of connected educators on Google+.”
- “Follow education blogs (read and comment).”
- “Follow education chats that are specific to your content area.”
- “Join and participate in education groups on Facebook and Linkedln.”
- “Accept invitations to collaborate.”
The purpose of PLN is to express your own personalized learning with a network individuals with the same goals as yourself.