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.