Sunday, January 11, 2009

Personal Learning Networks

Have you ever heard of a PLN (Personal Learning Network)? If you do much reading on educational technology blogs, professional development, or 21st century learning, you have probably run across this term. However, on the off-chance you aren't familiar with it, a PLN is a web of resources that you access for professional growth. It may be email subscription like ASCD, blogs you read (like this one), websites you visit, colleagues you engage to help you reflect, etc. It can take many forms. The goal is to develop resources that you trust, engage, and are relevant to you. It is personal and you interact and reflect with the content. This blog is largely a reflection of my PLN as it relates to education technology and 21st century learning.

As we enter 2009, do you have a PLN? You need one. We all do. No matter what profession we are in, we need to grow and develop our minds. We need to collaborate and tap into the wisdom of others to experience new perspective and challenge our own ideas. Sometimes we don't even realize how limited a perspective we have until we are challenged by others.

PLNs are founded on collaboration and networking...a core component of the Web 2.0. Does the web define our culture or reflect it? I won't go down this road today but probably a little bit of both.

If you are looking for places to begin building your PLN, check out some of these links:

  • The 2008 EduBlog Awards might be a good place to look. They rank some of the best blogs in different areas and will also have links to others ones you may want to follow.
  • Free Technology Resources for Teachers won an award on the site above. I just ran across it about a week or so ago. I haven't checked it out much yet but may write more about it later.
  • You have to pay for some of the ASCD resources, but they do email updates that link to various news and information.
  • has "Ideas Worth Spreading" on their site. They update videos regularly...some are more recent than others. I have found some interesting and thought-provoking presentations on there. Presentations are usually 20 minutes or less.
  • Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has some good resources on her blog.
  • The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
Do you have other recommendations?

Perhaps you have a PLN, but haven't used the term. Be intentional to professionally grow yourself. Develop your PLN in all areas of your life...not just education or technology. I hope you will continue to find productive resources here as we get into 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment