Pre-requisites for Personal Learning Networks

Oficina de blogs + educação by Ana Carmen

After speaking to one of the most hospitable audiences of education leaders ever (Texas Association of School Boards), I spent most of yesterday in airports — and eating all manner of Mexican food.  Just left a note on the kitchen count, “No Breakfast for Me!”

I sure didn’t get far into catching up on e-mail before I came up with a question for the smarter part of me — my readers.  The quesiton is this,

What are the pre-requisites for learning to establish and maintain a personal learning network?  Of course, I’m talking about the digital/distant kind of PLN.  I’m going to start things off, but if anything occurs to you, please post it here as a comment.

  • Computer savvy — practiced mouser; capable at opening, saving, and navigating files; accustomed with working multiple windows; able to connect to WiFi networks; and able to identify and even download and install software appropriate to a variety of file types.
  • Internet Savvy — Browser literate; experienced Web navigator; able to keep and manage bookmarks; able to capture and save (download) text, images, audio, and video files (under most circumstances); Confident at signing up for online services.
  • This is the most important — Willing to redefine your job as a teacher.  Willing to call yourself a master learner.

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7 thoughts on “Pre-requisites for Personal Learning Networks”

  1. I think your last point is definitely the most important – not just to be willing to call yourself a master learner, but to be a master learner. Be willing and able to share ideas and products (presentations, photos, articles, etc.) and to contribute thoughtful responses to other people’s ideas and products are important pre-reqs for establishing a PLN. To have MuShin – a “beginner’s mind” or “mind of no mind” – open to everything, all the possibilities, even if you are an expert at something, there is always a new way to think about it, use it, practice it…

  2. I like your three points and Deb’s elaboration of the master learner. They’re a good start! How about adding something like online etiquette? I think that there are certain interpersonal skills that would enable some to more easily create and maintain useful ‘learning’ connections via computer.

    Another pre-requisite could be ‘willing to regularly spend time establishing/maintaining the PLN’. There’s a definite time commitment involved – there are so many intelligent people out there and so much material to read and so much to learn, etc. – and those that are willing to commit more time and effort will probably be more successful.

  3. As a Building Tech for a school district, I agree with this more and more each day, I never get asked the difficult questions, I am always asked the questions that I think they should know, I am not talking about keyboard shortcuts either. Just the simple stuff of navigating a web page and reading what’s on the page to gain information from it. I see this all the time and 60% of the time I see the unwillingness to learn as the reason they do not learn new things, not hard tricky photoshop filters, just basic browsing information grabbing tactics.

  4. An added suggestion for your list–Social Networking Savvy. It’s one thing to know how a computer works and to understand Internet navigation, but it’s something entirely different to understand and function effectively in a variety of overlapping social networks. Getting (i.e., understanding the differences and relative value of) and participating in the blog, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social network cultures is an important prerequisite for PLN formation, maintenance, and participation.

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