I had never heard of a PLN or Personal Learning Network until this assignment. I will be the first to admit that I was more than hesitant and quite intimidated by the idea of having to learn how to use technology to accomplish the task of building my own PLN. However, I was able to find a wealth of knowledge online that helped to guide me through the process.
A PLN is basically a group of people you have a common interest with and can share knowledge with, ask questions of, and discuss important specifics with regarding that shared interest. These networks are formed online usually through tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Diigo and the like. There are also many networks which are already set up for you such as The Educator’s PLN where you can register and once approved begin sharing ideas and exchanging valuable knowledge with other educators. Unfortunately, I did not feel like I gained much from the article entitled, “How to Cultivate Your Personal Learning Network” because I was not familiar with Diigo, Delicious, or Listorious and still am not certain about how to use these tools. Not to worry, though…Google is my friend!
I simply googled “What is a PLN” to start. I quickly learned the what and was able to move on to the how. Next, I googled “PLN’S + Primary Education”. This brought up many results which led me to The Educator’s PLN, where I was able to register to become a member. For this particular PLN you must be approved to be a member and I am currently still awaiting an approval. There is a screencast on the main page of the site that walks you through the entire site and explains the important features of the PLN and how to use them.
I was also able to find around 65 new people to follow on Twitter that will help to grow my PLN simply by googling “Who to follow on Twitter + Primary Education” and “Who to follow on Twitter + Passion-Based Learning” and then looking through their tweets to see if what they have to share aligns with my learning needs and with what I share on my Twitter feed. So far, I have not had to unfollow any of these because I was very cautious when choosing who to follow. I have also had several of these people follow me back which should be helpful especially when exchanging information and ideas.
I believe the most challenging part of building a PLN for me will be to learn to use the online tools designed specifically for this task. Since I have very little experience with technology, I don’t expect to be able to sit down at my laptop and automatically become proficient at it. However, I do feel this assignment has been extremely valuable and will serve as a good starting place for me and my PLN.