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Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is a PLN?

Have you ever heard of a PLN? It seems to be quite a buzzword these days. A PLN, or Personal Learning Network, is a network of people from whom one gathers information as well as interacts with, though that does not have to be face-to-face. While the acronym is relatively new, the idea behind a PLN is not. Teachers have always shared with and learned from each other. Some ways you can use a PLN:

1. I belong to a group of Massachusetts educators (MEMSET- Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educational Technologists) that just started meeting together and collaborating this past year. We have been gathering every month or so, using an email list for questions and for posting news, and using Google Aps to share our curriculum.

2. You can find a ning related to your interests:

After a technology conference with Tom Daccord of EdTechTeacher, I joined his ning for the National Council for Social Studies.

I am also a member of the Classroom 2.0 ning which often sends out announcements about live and interactive webinars.

Lastly, I am a member of the Independent School Educators Network ning and a couple of its subgroups, including “Schools of the Future.”

3. You can use social networking, such as Diigo:

I am a member of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Users group to get updates about using handheld devices in the classroom.

BB&N’s technology department members have created a group in Diigo so we can share articles with each other, and all of the pages we bookmark get posted on our technology department blog for the whole school.

4. You can follow members in your field through their blogs and tweets. Though I’m quite busy these days, I try to follow leaders in Educational Technology. I went to a presentation at BLC a few summers ago where Liz Davis and Lisa Thumann presented “25 Ed Tech Leaders to follow.”

How are you using your PLN? Please share your ideas below. Not sure where to start? Take a look at, the personal learning network for educators.

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