Friday, June 11, 2010

Dissection: What's a PLN?

Have you heard this term - PLN? Personal Learning Network. It's becomming a mainstream word in the field of education. Skip Via, an Instructional Technology professor at the University of Alaska, has createda nice 5 minute video that thoroughly explains the purpose of a PLN, what a PLN is, and he outlines exactly the tools he uses to make his PLN. Watch the video and then scroll down afterwards and I will describe how I make my PLN.

So Skip did a great job of disssecting his PLN and showing us the components. I'll do the same for you here. At the heart of my PLN are 2 aggregating tools for bringing information to me, 3 communication tools for interacting with my colleagues and 3 archiving tools for saving information. They are:


1. Pageflakes. I use this to aggregage RRS feeds for my favourite blogs and news feeds. I set it as my Firefox homepage; therefore, I have one stop shopping of all my news everytime I open up Forefox. It's all there for me and I no longer go out to look for it.(I've written about Pageflakes a few times before.)

2. TweetDeck. It's my Twitter client. I have a dual display computer system and the background of one monitor is full-screen Tweetdeck. I try to follow as many isntructional designers and educators as I can, I also filter out for useful hastags like *edtech and #elearning. The result is that my Tweetdeck is constantly filled with a steady stream of great tidbits of topics that interest me.


3. My primary email client (Thunderbird). Email is a must.

4. Facebook. Facebook is my secondary email client and a great way to keep tabs on what my colleagues are doing.

5. Meebo. An instant messenger client that aggregates all my instant messenger accounts into a one-stop-shop for MSN, GTalk, YahooMessenger, (even facebook chat), etc. So chatting live with any of my colleagues is easy.


6. Delicious social bookmarking. Saves my bookmarks and makes them available anywhere I go (library, friend's house, work, home, iPhone, etc.)

7. Evernote. It's just flat out fantastic for saving anything on the web and for taking notes. All my notes are available to me everywhere including my iPhone.

8. Blogger. I write this blog, eLearning Acupuncture, as a way of archiving my thoughts and at the same time giving back to my PLN.

What does your PLN look like? Share its components with us by writting a comment below.


Nicky said...

Great video and a really clear and helpful post Eric, thanks. My PLN looks very much like yours! The only difference is that I use Protopage instead of Pageflakes, and Linked In more than Facebook. I keep my own professional blog in WordPress rather than Blogger (although quite frankly I find it a lot less intuitive than Blogger!).

But I haven’t tried Meebo, and will do so right now!

Nicky Hockly, Barcelona

Unknown said...

Thank You for this idea. This is one of the most useful posts I have read in awhile. I am currently using all of these tools, but hadn't thought of putting them together in a PLN. It changes the way that I think about my learning, my content, and how I can deliver it to my community.

vtlau said...

Interesting concept. I blog, use email and google reader too. However, it is quite a encompassing term of learning, like involving most activities online...

Unknown said...

Hey Eric, Great info. I am going to use this as a model for part of an up coming project. Thanks

Eric said...

Sounds great Shannon!!!