Warlick, David. (2009). Grow your personal learning network. Learning and Leading with Technology, 36(6), Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/digital-edition-march-april-2009.aspx
Summary: Personal Learning Networks like our families, friend, and colleagues have always been relied on to supplement our knowledge.
We have been connecting with people and information through the digital realm for decades. As educators we must learn how to grow our PLNs through tools such as Twitter, Skype, Google, Diigo, Wikis, and Blogs. These tools can be used to find information sources, suggestions for lesson plans, current events and trends, and a wide variety of other answers and solutions.
There are 3 main types of PLNs:
1) Personally maintained synchronous connections. This is the traditional network that includes people and places you consult to find answers. You can enhance this PLN with new tools such as chat, text messaging, and twitter.
2) Personally and socially maintained semi synchronous connections. In this PLN questions can be directed to a single person or sent out to a community of people. Semi synchronous means that collaboration doesn’t have to happen at the same time. People can participate in a discussion when they want. This PLN includes Google docs, Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs.
3) Dynamically maintained asynchronous connections. This type of PLN connects us with content sources which we have identified as valuable. The central tool for this PLN is the RSS aggregator. You train information to come to you; you can subscribe to ongoing blog searches which will automatically send you new posts on your chosen topic. A useful tool is social bookmarking such as Diigo.
Question 1: How can we make sure that we are receiving the maximum benefit from our PLNs?
We must always try to cultivate networks that challenge our thinking. We should always search for new sources of information as well, and never forget that we are learners ourselves. Modeling a learning life style is definitely one of the best things teachers can do.
Question 2: Why is social bookmarking like Diigo better than a Google search?
Social bookmarking tools like Diigo return a more manageable list of websites that are of better quality as someone valued them and bookmarked them for later use. Diigo also connects you to people who share the same interest like you, so you can ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate on different topics. Also, less advertisements makes your search more efficient.