I’ve been thinking about this article for some time now, but haven’t been able to start it because I know I’ll not do it justice. Very soon, I’ll be doing some serious writing about PLNs — about my Personal Learning Network and how it helps me accomplish my goals and keeps me abreast of news and thinking about teaching and learning in this new information landscape.
I see my PLN as having three basic components.
- The network — People who have things to say that help me do my job, and dynamic information sources that provide me with the raw materials I need.
- The tools — Essentially, the avenues of communication through which I connect with people and information sources — conduits that often add value to the information.
- My Own Personal Echo Chamber — This is my own world view from which I teach, where ideas from my PLN bounce around off the walls of my mind and off of other ideas, either losing momentum and fading away, or generating energy and growing. (I’d look to talk a bit later about what I see when I look at this on my screen)
But there is a 4th element to my PLN that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. You see, as I rose this morning, and switched on Twitterific, I got pulled into the thoughts of Ian Usher, up a few hours already in England. Then Julie Lindsay in Qatar, then Ewan Mcintosh and Josie Fraser from Scotland and England. Also Chris Craft, with insane energy, chimes in from South Carolina. Jeff Utecht, of Shanghai, is at the tail end of his day, but will be back at the end of mine, as he begins his tomorrow.
My aggregator is crazy busy, with a thousand+ messages waiting in my “Everyday” folder alone. I have no intention of reading them all. I read as many as I can. But I subscribed to all of that, because I felt that it was valuable to me.
25 minutes later -- because I got sucked into my Google Reader, and bookmarked four new resources.
what my Personal Learning Network needs
is a zipper.
I need a way to open up this nebulous and ever evolving thing and slip it off of my head, so that I can enjoy the azaleas, take walks, sit and read a mystery, veg in front of the TV, get back to cooking, pick up my guitar again, go meet my brother for lunch, go to a matinée. Of course I do these things (except for the cooking, guitar, and haven’t been to a matinee in months), as do we all. But the networks are not a 9 to 5 affair, and it’s why zippers on our PLNs need to be an explicit part of our conversations. [Image ((AZRainman, “Poseidon.” Azrainman’s Photostream. 2 Aug 2007. 1 Apr 2008. http://flickr.com/photos/azrainman/992631266/.)) ]