Developing an Online Personal Learning Network

Using a concept mapping or graphic organising tool, develop a meme map of your own PLN which involves social networking sites, people and organizations.

As I read Warlick's 'Stages of Personal Learning Network Adoption' I suddenly felt like someone who was struggling with addiction. True, I have probably spent more time on my laptop than with my kids lately and feeling a little bit guilty about that. Not that long ago my concept map would've seemed a little stark. Admittedly, I have been a Facebook 'user' for many years but was using it only for personal and social reasons. I found that it was a wonderful means of staying in touch with friends and family when I moved overseas to Australia from Canada. I gradually began to become immersed in other forms of social media including Pinterest and Linkedin. I find Pinterest is good for sharing interests, hobbies, and now I'm starting to use it as a means for collecting and organising more professional types of information related to teaching and librarianship. I have also expanded my use of Facebook to include a more professional approach. My Social Networking Project was designed around implementing a social media group for teachers who are interested in sharing resources for The Australian Curriculum. The group has attracted over 70 members in a very short time and it continues to grow almost daily. Other areas of growth for my PLN have occurred due to commencing this subject. I suppose, put in the context of Warlick's 'stages' I have been at Stage 1 'Immersion' for a while now although I am now beginning to see that I am nearing Stage 2 'Evaluation'.

One can spend a lot of time viewing, participating and being involved with social networks. As Warlick reminds us, there comes a time when you have to force yourself to 'put the screen down and pick up the guitar' (2008). If I played guitar that would probably help. What he is trying to tell us is that we need to find some balance in our lives and be socially connected online and offline too. It's difficult when you're starting out because you do want to try and find out as much as possible. There is so much out there! I just have to remember that the concept map above is missing one important thing: my family!

Gaps in my PLN

  • Inclusion of Students through school approved social network site
  • use of Skype to connect with classrooms/schools globally
  • less local - more global

Here's an interesting article by Jenny Luca on ABC Splash about teachers developing PLNs. She agrees that PLNs are a new way of doing Professional Development through online networks. It's about knowing how to use 21st Century skills to 'mine the collective intelligence' of teachers (2012)