I’ve just started an online seminar called ‘Exploring Personal Learning Networks‘. The seminar started on October 7th but I’ve just started this week so I’m a little behind the curve on it. In spite of my tardiness starting, I’m really enjoying being involved so far, as I read other participants blog posts about their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), vc c and attempt to catch up on what seems to be a very busy twitter chat on the #xplrpln hashtag!
One of the first tasks we’ve been set, is to share our stories, regarding how having a PLN has changed how we learn and practice in our professional fields. For me, my PLN has dramatically changed how I practice as a lecturer. It’s hard to believe that I didn’t really even know what a PLN was a little more than a year ago. To be honest I’m not sure that I’m any more wise now but at least I now know the term! I’m not really going to delve deeply into a definition of a PLN in this post, as this will come in my next post for the seminar. I haven’t yet researched this topic, so I’m going to address my sense of what a PLN is about, as well as, what I can and do get, from my PLN.
My current loose definition of a PLN is “the people I come in contact with, both in person and virtually from whom I can learn”. I know this is vague and probably overly broad but it works for me right now. I’m lucky to be part of a very rich, vibrant PLN who have challenged, encouraged and supported me in the various endeavours I undertake from lecturing in Maths and Programming, to organising the ICT in Education conference, to taking my first tentative steps in presenting at conferences and so much more. I suppose my primary point of contact for many in my PLN is Twitter. I love the openness of Twitter, as you often come across ideas that may not be related to anything you are currently doing or planning, but which could be adapted to work for you. The other really positive aspect of Twitter for me is the diversity of experiences and viewpoints you get from the many people you connect with. I love the ease with which I can connect with other educators across the spectrum of education as too often we see a disconnect between the levels. Here in Ireland, and in other jurisdictions, we have a tendency to see primary, secondary and third level education as completely separate when in reality our children don’t dramatically change in the couple of months between finishing primary and starting secondary or between finishing secondary and starting third level. On hashtags like #edchatie, we can and do learn from each other.
The second task we’ve been set is to try something new. I decided to give Storify a try. I’d signed up a while ago but never progressed past a test, so I decided to use it to put together a Story of the #mathsfest conference I went to last weekend. Have a look at the fruits of my labours here.