My Personal Learning Network
Howard Riengold teaches that a personal learning network is an informal network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection. A PLE(personal learning environment) works in such a way: the learner is connected to outside by various nodes. The learner enters the PLE with certain goals, needs, interests, motivations and problems that are often presented to the people they include in their PLN; then the learner chooses how involved they want to be and who they want to participate with.
When reflecting upon this chapter in Reingold’s book, I established that in my personal learning environment, I have 3 main nodes from which I learn: (1) Professional Contacts (2) Family (3) Online Communities. Within each of these I have several smaller nodes, included in these are the people I interact with the most. Under node (1) I have broken it down into 2 categories: Educators I can call upon for support and advice and co workers I can speak with and get advice from reguarding my future career. One node in particular (Phillip Bowers) falls under the node of Co – worker but has an arrow pointing to educators because he is also in the education program. He is great to talk to because we are able to bounce educational theories, practices, and activies off of one another for ideas for the classroom. The others listed within the node of (professional) are all people I highly respect and know that I can ask for advice at any time and they will gladly help with classroom issues, give me a great reference for a job, or provide me with innovative ways to tackle projects.
The second node I have listed is probably the most important to me (FAMILY). I have broken this node into 2 smaller ones as well. One being my “rock” or biggest supporters, the other providing a place for me to list the family members that I have that are already in the educational field. My strongest supporters are my mom and dad and my boyfriend. The three of them encourage me to follow all of my dreams and push me when I need to be pushed. I have 2 people with whom I turn with issues in the classroom: My aunt Mary and My Aunt Donna. Both of these ladies have been teaching for a combined 60 years and are able to provide me with stories of things that are going on in their classrooms and how they handle certain situations. They are both very generous and allow me to observe their class any time I have available in order to watch the interactions between the students and to experience a day in the life of a teacher. If I ever need advice about any issue I am working with, they are more than happy to help me out.
The last node I included is very siomply and probable my most useful. This particular node grows by the day as I meet and interact with more and more people. The last node in my PLN refers to the online communities I am a part of. I use both Facebook and Twitter as a way of collaboration and communication. My facebook community is much larger, simply because I am new to the twittersphere. When I began looking through my friend lists and followers, I began to realize all of the great resources that these 2 sources provide me. On Facebook, I am able to talk to my friends who are a part of the education program, I am able to get information about classes, learn about the ups and downs of TOSS and Student teaching, and we are able pass activities and ideas back and forth across the mediums. On Twitter, I am able to participate in twitterchats that allow me to gain resources and meet teachers who have been in my shoes years before. I use both Twitter and Facebook everyday as a major part of my PLN.
My personal learning network is small, I think, but I know that if I continue with the resources I have been provided my PLN will grow larger by day. I am better prepared going into a classroom and better equipped with activities and background. My PLN took me awhile to map out, but now that I have, I will be able to use it as a tool when I need ideas or advice.