personal learning network

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.


Where I’m From

I am from far below the mason Dixon

Some people call it a hick Town.

Where the trucks are always big and the tractors are always green

Cotton grows tall and kids play on tire swings

I’m from the Paw-paw’s old green truck and Maw – Maw’s pecan pies

from the smell of fresh cut grass and chasing fireflies.

I’m from little dirt roads and big red barns

From the best tomatoes in three counties and soybean farms.

I’m from “A great little place to come home to.”

and skies the clearest of blue.

I’m from where the people are real and never pretending

Where there is always hopes and dreams of happy endings.

I’m from “War Eagle” and “Roll Tide”

From values and hard work and unyielding pride.

I’m from rooster’s crowing at the wrong time of day

and children who are told to go outside to play

I’m from “Amazing Grace” and “Stand by your Man”

From respect your Mama and do the best you can.

I’m from a town where gossip moves faster than cars

and every night you can see millions of  stars.

I’m from making mud pies and dancing in the rain

but most of all knowing i’ll be welcome when I come back home again.

Master narratives embody our expectations of how things work. This may include our attitude about a person, a place, or an emotion. The master narrative surrounding where I’m from is that everyone is a bunch of country bumpkins that do nothing but drive big trucks and plow fields. While that’s pretty much accurate, there is way more to it than that. Where I’m from is one of the most beautiful places in the south; when the cotton fields are blooming especially. Where I’m from is that you can ALWAYS see the stars, which is in great contrast to where I live now. Where I’m from people gossip about everything and everyone, but really and truly everyone is friendly and hospitable. I learned many important values while living in my tiny hometown. I learned to work hard, to play hard, and to always be proud of you accomplishments, I learned to regret nothing, and to always say yes mam and no sir. These are things I remember most about where I grew up and while the master narrative of my town may be true,  I believe the counter narrative about how beautiful everything is, the values that I have learned, and how friendly the people are, is much more important.

The perks of being a wallflower: Lurking and Trolling in online spaces

     In my English 3241 class, the entire class is based around the usefulness of internet resources both inside the classroom and out. We have spent a lot of time talking about the “Study Smarter – not Harder” concept and we have played around with the idea of remixing. I had the opportunity to “lurk” on one of the twitter chats about literacy and I was amazed at the amount of information and knowledge people can pack into 128 characters or less. The idea of “Remix” terrifies both students and teachers alike and the concept is a relatively new one being brought into the classroom. Or so we’ve thought. People have been remixing since the dawn of time; passing stories, songs, and concepts from one artist to another.

     When I think about remix, my mind automatically goes to Shakespeare . Shakespeare bored stories from the Romans, made them popular and has become the most iconic play-write in history. Since Shakespeare’s time, many artists have taken his ideals and transformed them into other works. Just think about how many love movies mimic the story of Romeo and Juliet (West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, The Notebook, and Footloose, just to name a few.) The artists that composed these works took elements of Shakespeare’s works remixed them and created award winning works.

     Being a part of the Twitter Chat was truly enlightening for me. I was given tons of resources to use in the classroom and made many new friends in the education community. I cannot wait to participate in other chats and expand my new learning network even further. Literacies chats take place on Thursday nights at 7pm est. To view the twitter chat, check out the following link:

     In addition to learning the ins and outs of Twitter, we were encouraged to expand what we have been learning in the classroom into the world around us. The assignment was to go on a popular news website and comment on a story in order to spark some sort of discussion. I was so excitred about this because I subscribe to many online news websites including one form my hometown called the Cherokee County Herald. I found a news story that I thought really interesting and jumped on the message boards immediately because itwas such a hot button issue.

     Just to give you a little bit of background about where I come from. I used to live in Cherokee County Alabama in a little town just across the Georgia Line. For years the county administration has been pushing for more efficient energy sources, such as biofuels, solar panels, and wind turbines. Finally a government agency has realized their efforts and has decided to help out by placing wind turbines in the empty fields in Leesburg, Alabama. Unfourtunately, the people who have been the biggest proponents of the alternate energy sources, are not happy about the new addition to the beautiful fields.

    Below I included a screen shot of my comments on the subject as well as the link to the full article. It took a few weeks, but this morning someone finally commented on what I said. Their opinions were quite different from mine and chose to tell me how wrong my view was. It was intersting to read all of the different opions of such a hot button issue. I really enjoyed this activity, and though I won’t talk about them here, I carried it over to other news sites as well. I was able to take whatever side I chose and be whoever  I wanted to be behind the keyboard.

     I think that this would be a fun acivity to do in the classroom, especially as an introductory activity to the idea of media in the classroom. I think it would be a nice was to introduce the ise of technology and allow the opportunity to discuss online etiquette, appropriate lengths of postings, and even various ways of posting. I think the idea of “trolling” has gotten a bad rep, but i think students can learn so much simply from watching and reading other people’s comments.

 READ MORE: Wind Turbines May Mean Huge Boom for Cherokee County

Affintiy Space – UGA Bulldogs

An affinity space is a space shared by any number of people for a mutal passion. My affinity spae was UGA football. I have always disliked UGA as an SEC team, but after going to the game, I now understnad why their fans are unlike any other. The passion of those some 90,000 people pulled me in and made me feel welcome. The link to the video is above. I am very pleased with how it turned out. (TURN UP YOUR VOLUME! IT’S NO FUN IF YOU DON’T!)

All of the photos and video clips you see in the video were either taken by me, or used with permission by, a website which capitolizes on crazy UGA fans and the extremes they go to on game day. I was also able to pull some game clips from the UGA game vault and recorded some off of my television during a recent game.

Enjoy my video and I hope you leearn a little more about UGA football, and more impotantly Affinity Spaces.


In Rheingold’s Net Smart we read about collaboration and how participatory culture affects our world. Rheingold talks about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action — and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.With this I think about group projects…Are they neccessary? Are they useful? Group projects in the high schol and college classroom are almost unavoidable. Working in a group has its joys and woes and when executed correctlly, can be benificial to students.

The question often arises: how do I grade group work fairly? In the high school classroom, students are very willing to tell on each other when they feel they have been treated unfairly. With this in mind, I feel that the best way to grade group projects is to have the students fill out a form of accountability. On this form, they must grade themselves and then list what they feel each member of their group contributed to the project or paper.

In my teaching literature to adolescents class, I created a lesson plan which required my students to work in a group for 6 weeks, the length of one unit. During this, the students were divded in half, (lucky for me, I was working with Romeo and JUliet, so I was able to divide them into the montegues and capulets) each thing the students did each them SHAKS POINTS which applied to their final exam. The students earned points through good behavior, quiz grades, activities, and outstanding tasks. This type of group work forced the students to be accountable for their actions and hold their classmates acccountable as welll. This type of collaboration offered a fun way to learn the play, while instilling responsibility within the students.

Collaboration in ENGL 3241 is difficult because everyone’s creative space is different. However, meshing all of those creative juices can create some really cool products. Our class “we are” poem, is a perfect example of that. We combined all of our ideas into one space creating a fun, free environment for us to play and interact. Our “we are” poem is an excellent example of positive collaboration and how it can produce a beatiful project.