What is a PLN?
PLN, or Personal Learning Network, originates from the connectivism theory by George Siemens, according to which the “starting point of learning is the individual who feeds information into the network, which feeds information back to individuals who in turn feed information back into the network as part of a cycle”.
Why should I develop a PLN?
A PLN is a way of connecting and socializing with people that work in the same industry and have similar interests.
In education, teachers connect with other teachers, school administrators and education experts around the world. Communication between them is made open and accessible, through social media or other channels that we have access to, thanks to today’s technology advancements.
Inside this kind of network, information, knowledge, and resources are shared between its members. Being part of it, allows its members to take advantage of the knowledge of others, to get answers to specific questions that one might have, and can even help in reducing research time.
“Educators who work in isolation improve incrementally, while educators who collaborate transform exponentially!” - David Truss
For those who want to take learning and professional development a step further, having a PLN is certainly a must.
How do I develop a PLN?
Developing a PLN is a tedious process. While it might take some time to build a trustworthy network, in the end, it’s well worth it.
Start by connecting. Through social media and technology, connect to people that you can learn from. With the internet it is now easier than ever to connect with like-minded people. There’s no need to wait to attend educational conferences, fairs or other events to start connecting.
Communication is key in a PLN, and it’s easy to do. Being an active member of a PLN means you’re no longer alone; people from all parts of the world can join, making communication easy and accessible 24/7.
Learn about the members of your PLN, discuss ideas and ask them questions.
One good way of learning is through collaboration - see for example the success of methods such as project based learning. Ask your network for help when you need it, share your knowledge, and resources.
- Follow education blogs
- Use Twitter to follow the most influential educators
- Join education Groups on Linkedin, Facebook or Google+
Thanks to technology, a person is no longer limited to the traditional ways of learning and developing professionally. Building a PLN can be a way of growing, moving forward and being more successful in your career.
If you are thinking of developing your PLN and you are interested in education technology, we suggest you connect with our colleagues Lynn Marentette and Dr. Edward Tse. They both have an extensive background in the education field. They would be happy to collaborate and answer any questions related to education technology.
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