PLNs: Toolkits for Students to Create, Collaborate, and Connect
What is a Personal Learning Network?
A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is “an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment.” In other words, the women in your book club, your inner circle of friends who discuss gaming, and the time spent discussing football with the guys, are all examples of a PLN. A PLN can also be digital. Technology allows a person to connect and discuss with a multitude of other individuals who share common interests.
What are some types of digital PLNs?
There are a wide range of tools utilized for PLNs. Here are some examples:
What are the benefits of PLNs for educators?
- Professional development
- Learn from content-area specialists
- Locate resources for your classroom, such as free websites and software
- Get lesson plan ideas from teachers who are more experienced
- Learn about new technology and how to integrate it into your teaching
- Find collaborative solutions
- Find interesting links to education news
What are some benefits for students?
- Students will learn to collaborate and connect with others about specific topics
- Digital PLNs allow for creativity, making learning engaging
- Creates an authentic audience and allows for publication
- Provides opportunity to master communication skills
- Learn to navigate websites and software programs
What are the important components of PLNs?
- Connect: It’s important to do more than read a blog post or a podcast. Leave a comment or ask a question. It’s essential to reach out and meet new people.
- Contribute: Post something you are able to share with others such as an experience or a struggle because it could be valuable to others. Again, it’s vital to keep connected.
- Converse: As you continue to connect and make contributions, conversations will arise as people begin to respond.
- Request: Now that you’ve build connections, contributed, and conversed, you will be able to ask these individuals questions or advice and you will likely receive much more detailed information.
Where can I find out more about PLNs?
This link offers a vast variety of of resources and components of Personal learning Networks that are both informative and interesting.