Thing x: Personal Learning Networks

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Your explored Twitter in Thing 3: Twitter & Other Online Communities and you’ve been active on our online discussion groups for Cool Tools (you have, haven’t you?). These are both great ways to find answers to questions, share resources and share expertise. We hope these are now part of your PLN or Personal Learning Network.

Your Personal Learning Network is much more than just Twitter though. It includes all of the resources, people and organizations that you rely upon to help you continue learning, keep up to date on developments in your field & provide a sounding board when you need help with a thorny problem. (It often also leads to some wonderful friendships!)

What is a PLN?


In this lesson consider what your PLN currently looks like, assess what might be missing and find resources to fill those gaps.


Blogs, Websites: What education related blogs, news sources, websites do you follow regularly? These can be a huge piece of your learning network.

Local Colleagues: No doubt you have at least a few colleagues that you know you can turn to for help with developing new ideas and solving problems. For many of us, these people are often the core of our PLN.

Social Networks: But just because you have a rich network of local colleagues, don’t rule out online social networks as a another source of valuable connections. Social networks can help us connect with other educators in our local communities and around the world. This can provide an amazingly rich source of innovative ideas and support. Stumped with a problem that you can’t solve or need to brainstorm with someone? Maybe someone in your online community has faced this same problem and can share some good ideas. And you can do the same for them. We all have expertise, let’s share it!

Professional Organizations: Are you a member of local, regional and national professional organizations? What learning and networking opportunities do they offer?

Conferences & Edcamps: Attending conferences and edcamps do double-duty. You learn alot from the speakers and sessions. And even better, you can connect with and learn from other participants. Are you like me and a bit shy at conferences? Make connections ahead of time via social media. I’m amazed at the number of online friends who have become “in-person” friends & valued colleagues as a result of connecting online and then meeting at conferences.

Other pieces of the puzzle: Local and state organizations, professional conferences, edcamps, webinars, tutorial websites, and more.

You can use this PLN organizer to help you think about the pieces of your PLN.  When you click on that link, it will ask you if you want to make a copy in your own Google Drive. From there you can edit your own copy of the document.  Or download this PDF version.



Online Learning: Webinars & Podcasts:

Facebook Groups: 


1: Take this opportunity to:

  • Examine who you rely on for professional assistance
  • Expand your network through twitter, facebook, or other communities
  • Identify learning communities you to participate in for continued learning.
  • Assess what value you receive from the organizations that you actively participate in
  • Identify other resources that are essential to your professional growth.

2: And identify what’s missing:

  • Do you want to be more active in a particular community, but not sure how to get started? How will you get involved?
  • Are there topic areas that you need to keep up with but don’t know where to start? Identify some resources to help you get started.
  • Are you wondering how others keep up with technology, library news, etc.? Join the club! 🙂 Ask members of your PLN how they keep up.

3: Write your blog post

Share some thoughts on the following:

(You don’t have to address all of these questions and issues.)

Problem-Solving – Your PLN in Action: Share an example of how you solved a problem or learned more about an issue by tapping into the resources of your network.

Connections: What people or groups of people and organizations are you most connected with. (no need to name individuals if you don’t want to.) How did you connect with them? Local connnections? Professional organizations? Mentors? Twitter? What value do these people your professional practice? How do you give back?

Resources: What resources do you rely on? Things like:

  • Blogs or other websites that you refer to frequently for ideas?
  • Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups.
  • Online journals?
  • Organizations like Edweb & AASL that provide frequent webinars
  • Professional organizations

Maintaining your PLN

  • How do your organize your resources so you can access them easily? A symbaloo page? A Feedly account? Web page? Some other online organizational tool?
  • Do you have a schedule for checking these resources.
  • Do you regularly checkin with your local and online colleagues?


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to the Google Classroom assignment page, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.

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