Image from: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/building-your-personal-learning-network/
When I attended Graduate School online (to receive my degree in Online Teaching and Learning), I became very interested in the idea of creating sustainable online learning communities. The idea of such communities to keep people together to continue to collaborate and learn together beyond the timeframe of a class, professional development opportunity, etc. has stayed with me. In fact, I keep thinking that if I go back to school for my doctorate, my thesis would be based on this topic.
The interest came from the idea that we often get excited about a topic, but without fail, the collaboration tends to fizzle if not nurtured appropriately. My goal was to find a way to nurture this sense of community. But, how?
Perhaps my research has already been done and I can let it rest as people are developing and maintaining Personal Learning Networks. The technology may already be in place. I still think there is merit in further research and development, but for now, I believe I will embrace the work that others have done to encourage Learning Communities.
One of the challenges, as I see it, is to effectively link the various PLN puzzle pieces. Just today, I found 'The Educator's PLN' ning. I applied to the ning and look forward to exploring what it has to offer. I like the fact that part of the application asked for links to a number of my PLN sites.
To date, I am using a number of tools as part of my PLN. I will share them briefly here and in some of my upcoming blog posts. Feel free to comment on ideas you are using to create or develop your PLN.
Twitter - Twitter may be the easiest way to follow people as part of your PLN. I especially love that I receive tweets right to my phone. This makes it very easy to browse the tweets from people I am following as well as post something myself. It has taken me a while to warm up to twitter for some reason. Originally, I didn't see the point when I was using facebook, which seemed to satisfy all of my social networking needs. I now vouch for the fact that they serve very different purposes.
Blogger - I created a blog a couple of years ago. My initial goal of the blog was to provide support to the teachers in my school district. I posted responses to common tech questions and shared worthwhile tools (generally with a tutorial on how to use them). Since I began, I have been teaching a number of online Web 2.0 courses, so my blog has evolved to share Web 2.0 tools as well.
As I was searching for an image to include in the post, I found a great resource (http://www.onlinedegrees.org/building-your-personal-learning-network/)describing otner PLN tools. Enjoy :)