Sunday, 21 October 2012

Creating your own PLN

David Warlick was the engaging keynote speaker at the Embracing the Edge SAGE conference at Tec Voc Collegiate on Friday, October 19.  His afternoon session was a great education into creating and maintaining your own Personal Learning Network (PLN).
The definition of a PLN, according to Warlick, is a connection of sources that one maintains. During the keynote speech, Warlick spoke of the necessity of teachers to transform themselves from teachers into master learners.  He believes that our focus should shift from teaching content to infusing learning opportunities for both the instructor and the students within the classroom and that as master learners, our daily learning should be on display for students in the classroom.  No longer should literacy be the crux of our teaching, but teaching students learning literacy, the ability to inquire, investigate, and make sense of the surrounding world using a variety of reliable information sources.  One way that Warlick suggests we can help students to become more literate in learning is to develop our own PLN, making global connections to other professionals in the same educational niche.  A network developed and fostered over the internet is bigger than one thinks- the people that one is connected to are connected to other people and so on.
Warlick offered some suggestions for developing a PLN, employing the gardening metaphor. Contacts that we have developed with people will grow into great sources of information, but pruning is also required to maintain a PLN that meets our personal or professional learning needs. As our teaching positions and change, so does the curriculum from which we instruct, hence the need to add or 'prune' certain contacts on our educational network.  Here are a few internet resources we can use as professionals to foster the growth of our PLNs:
  1. is a blog that list blogs posts related to a particular topic.  You can hone in on blogs themselves or simply search posts contained within blogs related to your topic of interest.
  2. If you hold a twitter account, see, which allows you to search through tweets.  It is a social media search engine.
  3. Bookmark pages on social networking sites using or
  4. Use to tag and collect info and post it to your own personalized board.  Similar to the always addictive Pinterest. Information comes from RSS feeds, which stands for "Really Simple Syndicate"- see here for your own personal information.
I'm glad I spent the time to sit in on David Warlick's talks.  It allowed me the chance to open another door to developing myself as a professional and I learned something new that day, something Mr. Warlick deems of great importance as an educator in the 21st century.

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