Monday, November 29th, 2010 | Personal Learning Networks, technology
A PLN (personal learning network) could exist without the use of technology, but technology raises the potential of learning through a network of experts to a level not possible without it.
Before the days of computers and the internet, the extent of a PLN was limited to the people with whom you had regular contact, as well as the occasional workshop and conference you attended.
Now, in the early part of the 21st century, technology has brought us social networking tools. This makes networking the easiest thing in the world, enabling you not only to be a consumer of knowledge, but also a contributor of knowledge to others where you serve as a node in their networks.
How do you go about building such a network? Here are a few suggestions:
You must have regular access to a computer and the internet. If you can use the internet on your cell phone, it is even better, since you will be able to take your PLN with you wherever you go.
Start reading blogs. Choose blogs dealing with topics you want to learn more about. Make comments and ask questions. Follow the links of others who comment on the blogs you read – these often lead to valuable additions to your PLN. The next step for you is to create your own blog.
Join a social network such as Twitter. Twitter is a good example of micro-blogging – it is like blogging, but you are restricted to 140 characters per posting. Most of the posts are references to internet sites where you can find information about interesting topics. If you carefully choose whom to follow on Twitter you’ll be surprised how much you will learn in a short space of time.
Join Nings (if you don’t know what this is, google it) and other discussion groups. You will soon discover a plethora of tools and sites that will help you to expand and manage your PLN.
The most important thing in building a PLN is to start doing it. You can make it as small or big as you would like it to be. The value you’ll derive from it is huge. The biggest problem you’ll encounter with a PLN is maintaining a balance so that you don’t spend too much time networking – it can become addictive!
For more technology tips for teachers click here.