Really, we’re all self-taught (aka DIY learning…or PLN RSVP)

By now, Sue Waters is getting ready for Day 2 of her presentation on the importance of personal learning networks and how networks are forged using online tools.

I am about three months into building my online PLN. I have many wonderful colleagues at school and in my master’s cohort, and I love face-to-face learning with them. In person connection is my first choice always.

What the online community provides me with is bizarre combination of the random and the specific. It’s really non-linear. Some things I trip over, and other things I seek out. Both processes give me A-ha! moments. Because I am in charge of my learning (choosing to engage, observe, ponder, reject), I am the do-it-yourselfer–I am my own cognitive plumber and electrician. My best tools at this point are RSS, Diigo, Nings like Classroom 2.0 , and the blogging conversations I’ve joined. What helps my learning most is feedback.

I listened to a ustream of Clarence Fisher‘s presentation at the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston, and an idea that sticks in my colander is teacher as network administrator. This is not to be confused with the tech support job. We can help our students build their own learning networks by helping them access the tools and learn the strategies to use them wisely and effectively. We can point them at the resources and content that might resonate for them so they can create their own PLNs.

I would love to have a better PLN close to home, but for now there isn’t a good venue to ask the question, “Is anyone trying X? How’s it working? Can we experiment together?”. That would move my DIY to DIT–do it together.

Hmm. Something to aspire to.

Image: sky blues by Saffana Creative Commons license

5 thoughts on “Really, we’re all self-taught (aka DIY learning…or PLN RSVP)

  1. Hi Jan,
    I try to help my young students to build their own learning networks; for the moment they have some experience with Moodle platform and with collaborative Pb.Wiki.
    But as they are under 13 – in fact they are 10 to 12 years old – I find that most interesting and useful tools are closed to them; they are not allowed to subscribe or sign up.
    I’ve heard that Google Apps for schools could allow me to open Google accounts for my students and use these e-mails to register them, for instance, in Voice thread or to form a Twitter group.
    As English is not my first language I didn’t understand quite clearly yet, if it is possible.
    Since I’ve discovered this brand new world of web2.0 I keep telling all about it to my students and I’m sorry for not being possible to them to enjoy it more freely.
    I dare not answer to your “DIT” wish myself, but I surely hope it will become real very soon.

  2. Hi there,
    I love this DIY learning 2.0 world and your DIT takes it a step further, a concept to explore further.
    In spite of 140 character limit, I think Twitter could assist with DIT. Elaine

  3. @inpi: Hi Ines! I understand the barriers to using 2.0 tools–time, access to technology, and “safety” (sometimes the latter is more imagined than real). Have you seen the Voice Thread for Educators accounts? There is a cost, but it is not very high, and students don’t require email accounts. I found it quite a successful way to give students an identity.
    Have you seen Classroom 2.0 ? It might be a good resource for you: there is a wealth of information there.
    There is another ning (online social network) that might interest you, specifically about Voice Thread.
    Good luck on your journey, Ines!

    @ Elaine: I think there are so many fabulous opportunities to work collaboratively across distances. Sometimes it is more difficult close to home, perhaps because our classrooms have walls, but our networks don’t!
    I have thus far avoided Twitter, mainly out of respect to my family; I am working on my master’s degree and spend too much time in front of a screen already–I am guessing that it is quite addicting. (will post on your blog about that!)

  4. Thanks for sharing your post about your own PLN. Twitter is definitely an important part of my network. Sure twitter can be addictive however you do learn to walk away and come back; and its definitely the fastest way of networking with each other.

  5. Well, I think I will have to give it more thought. I have had some questions about a variety of topics, and maybe twitter would be a way to get some feedback.

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