Personal Learning Network (PLN) and Course Reflection


I first heard this term about six years ago at a workshop I was a part of. The speaker was education technology guru David Warlick. This conversation was before many of the web 2.0 tools that I use today were popular or even invented and I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. According to Wikipedia, a “Personal Learning Networks consist of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a Personal Learning Environment. An important part of this concept is the theory of connectivism developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Learners create connections and develop a network that contributes to their professional development and knowledge.[1] The learner does not have to know these people personally or ever meet them in person “.

Needless to say, in the past six years I have found a way to build a PLN and in my job as a library media specialist my PLN is very important. In our building I don’t have any peers to consult with on a daily basis, but through Blogs and Twitter I can connect with other media specialist across Georgia and across the country. The idea for this course came about from “talking” to people in my PLN and from finding other web 2.0 course that colleagues had created.
I have met some of my PLN at conferences, but many of my PLN I have never met (and maybe, never will) but I don’t know that I could do my job without them. I “follow” my PLN mostly by reading (and commenting) on blogs and using Twitter (my twitter is @kathyfs24).

Read the following article by David Warlick on PLN’s (this article also has a great sidebar about managing your web 2.0 time!)

If you want to find out more, check out this presentation from a Florida Educator conference (FETC).

Although it is blocked at school, take a look at Twitter. It is a great way (in 140 characters) to connect with other educators. I follow teachers and media specialists and technology teachers. I also follow authors and publishers and book review bloggers. I also follow lots of Atlanta area people and places. I even follow Gwinnet County schools!

Here is an example of how I have used Twitter in my teaching – I put out a tweet out there about finding good readers theater scripts (I was working with the 4th grade focus class on this). An author tweeted back and directed me to her webpage where she had two great scripts based on her non-fiction picture books. I used these scripts with the class and we created a slide show of the finished reader’s theater. I put this up on my blog and I tweeted the link. The author found my tweet, she looked at our students work and she wrote about it on her blog. When I showed the students that they were mentioned on the AUTHORS blog – well they thought it was the coolest thing (and now I am actually “talking” with this author about doing a possible author visit, either in person or via SKYPE.

Assignment #10A:
Write a blog post about how you think you could use a PLN and what tools you could use to create one.


If you are reading this, you have OFFICIALLY finished the Raptor Web 2.0 course!!
I hope that you have learned some things, haven’t been too frustrated and have had a little bit of fun. There is ONE more thing I need you to do (see below). Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Assignment #10B

Write a blog post about your reflections on this course. Please be honest, it will only make this course better.