Wednesday, August 18, 2010

5 Readings and 2 Videos to Help Others Get Going with Personal Learning Networks

I refer to my wonderful personal learning network a lot in this blog. Here are some of my posts on the topic.
Personal learning networks, or PLNs for short, are a relatively new concept. In fact when I first wrote about PLNs in 2008 I searched the term on wikipedia and came up short. So, I decided to start my own wikipedia entry which was rejected saying something to the effect of me not having the right or authority to just make up terms. In writing this post I notice the term finally did get accepted just this year and though rather scant you can read about PLNs here.

I first heard about PLNs from Will Richardson and shared his video about the concept in my post 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network. Here is Will’s video.

Today, I discovered a creative new video about PLNs from a talented artist through this Tweet.

mbteach RT @nashworld: And yet another look at PLN by @johntspencer => simple and grounded. Like this. Will share.

The video provides a short engaging overview of what a PLN is. Aside from the exquisite artistic ability of it’s creator, something I really like about this video is that @johntspencer includes face-to-face interaction in his definition of PLNs. To me this is significant as I think many mistakenly think of a PLN as just your followers on Twitter or Friends on Facebook living in virtual worlds. While this is extremely powerful and leads to tremendous global connections, to me PLNs can be made up of people you connect with in a variety of ways. Some may never even know they’re a part of your PLN but you follow their blog or books religiously. Sometimes (and hopefully) your colleagues make up your PLN. Many of us innovative educators are finding more and more often that in many cases we meet someones mind before their face. This makes both the face-to-face and virtual connections even more powerful. You skip past the “getting to know you” and right into deep conversation ready to pick up just where you left off whether the past or future conversation happened as a DM on Twitter, a comment to a status update on Facebook, a backchannel chat during a webinar, IMs during a con call, or over cocktails.


  1. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. PLNs should encompass all modes of connection.

  2. I shared your blog post with teachers in my district. Thank you so much!!

  3. thanks for the links and videos, it's amazing how few people know the term "PLN". I'm always wondering if other professions are up on this stuff like educators are?