Final Project-Part 2: Personal Learning Networks

A personal learning network (PLN) is a brand new concept for me and something I never would have thought of creating for myself. However, after doing some research into the subject, there is so much value and potential into establishing a PLN for personal and professional growth that goes beyond what only participating in social networks can provide. Alison Seaman (2013) states the “currency of the PLN is learning in the form of feedback, insights, documentation, new contacts, or new business opportunities. It is based on reciprocity and a level of trust that each party is actively seeking value-added information for the other.” A PLN allows an educator to access a global learning community of peers to discuss, exchange, and share resources and ideas, which can be utilized towards professional development. Whereas a social network is mainly a tool for communicating with family and friends, joining interest groups, posting photos and videos, and sharing discussions and resources. Social networks are just a small component of personal learning networks, which can include other platforms such as microblogs, professional profiles, wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, and online conferences or webinars (Patnoudes, 2012). The two personal learning networks I discovered and felt had a high potential for professional development for myself were The Student Affairs Collaborative blog and Twitter.

The Student Affairs Collaborative blog is a site for student affairs professionals in higher education to come together to share and pool together their ideas or thoughts. There are numerous blog posts sharing stories, insights, and new concepts in student affairs issues, as well as academic advising, which fits right into my specific field. The site also features the top five (most read) blogs from the previous month right on the home page, a Google doc directory of all participating student affairs professionals/advisors and interest areas, and it hosts a weekly chat via Twitter that enables all participants to simultaneously converse with one another and build upon their PLN within student affairs. This PLN provides me a large archive of blogs written by my peers to learn of their experiences and lessons, which I could apply in my work. The weekly chat forum is also another way I could actively interact to connect with others and develop my knowledge and skills.

The other personal learning network that would be an invaluable asset for me in regards to professional development is Twitter. It represents a collective database of knowledge by creating conversations in an “open space” for anyone to participate, listen, observe, and learn (Lalonde, 2012). Eric Stoller (2009), the Student Affairs and Technology consultant/blogger for Inside Higher Ed, simply states the follower/following aspect of Twitter creates a connection with other student affairs administrators, academic advisors, professional associations, librarians, teaching faculty, higher education web personnel, and more by simply posting a question and within minutes, receiving several reliable answers. I can connect with several other professionals in the student affairs or academic advising field, and learn how they integrate technology into their services, maximize resources with a limited budget, and even learn about new advising programs that may fit our own office goals/mission. The hashtag feature will also enable me to follow certain topics like #acadv and #advising (for conversations on academic advising), #sachat and #satech (interests on student affairs and technology), and #highered (to stay up-to-date with current issues in higher education). The personal learning network of Twitter increases my opportunities for collaboration, connections, learning opportunities, access to the collective knowledge of peers, engage in discussions, debates, conversations, and participate in collaborative projects whenever and wherever I like. At the same time it pushes me out of my comfort zone a bit by having to go beyond the traditional means of professional development and experiment with new ways of learning/communicating through the social media networks.

Web 2.0 presentation:

http://prezi.com/przn6z3h2vm0/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

References

E Patnoudes. (2012, October 1). Why (and how) you should create a personal learning network. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/2012/10/build-personal-learning-network/ (Rating: 4)

E Stoller. (2009, August 16). Student affairs practitioners and Twitter. Retrieved from http://ericstoller.com/blog/2009/08/16/student-affairs-practitioners-and-twitter/ (Rating: 3)

Lalonde, C. (2012). How important is Twitter in your personal learning network? eLearn Magazine. Retrieved from http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=2379624 (Rating: 5)

Seaman, A. (2013). Personal learning networks: Knowledge sharing as democracy. Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/files/Personal_Learning_Networks.html (Rating: 5)

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3 Responses to Final Project-Part 2: Personal Learning Networks

  1. mma0227 says:

    Hi Reid,
    Like you, PLN was a new concept for me. Since we’re sort of in the same type of field I liked reading your interpretation because it did help me to look at my research as well. I liked that you mentioned professional development for social media because that is always a concern with incorporate new technology into any setting. I thought you covered the deliverable part of the assignment completely and your responses were well thought out. Thanks for your insight!
    -Melissa

  2. kaponorey says:

    Reid:
    I saw a Prezi presentation on social networks and personal learning networks, in particularly, The Student Affairs Collaborative and Twitter. I saw summarizing descriptions of each web tool accompanied by screen shot images of actual use of the web tool.

    I noticed the graphics that you used to support the section explaining personal learning networks. I like how they both complement each other in how one graphic is simplistic, perfect for someone who just wants a quick glance at personal learning networks, while the other provides a bit more informative approach.

    I wondered about the quote from Alison Seaman where she says that the currency of personal learning networks is in the form of feedback, insights, documentation, new contacts, or new business opportunities. I had never thought about the benefits of something in terms of being currency. That is an interesting revelation. To me this is saying that what individuals can take from personal learning networks, and what they can apply from personal learning networks, are the most valuable assets and they need to be used so that a personal learning network will flourish.

  3. monkoski says:

    Hi Reid,

    I Heard:
    For this project you looked at The Student Affairs Collaborative and Twitter as two possible PLNs. I saw that you gave details about each one and wrote about how these could help you professionally. I also saw that you included specific hashtags that you would follow on Twitter, which I think is really good. Your Prezi makes good use of visuals that help to illustrate your main points.

    I Noticed:
    I noticed that you have a great definition for PLN which is: “A PLN allows an educator to access a global learning community of peers to discuss, exchange, and share resources and ideas, which can be utilized towards professional development.” I like how your definition emphasizes the fact that the social part of a PLN allows you to connect with others on a global level.

    I Wondered:
    One thing I wondered is how you found The Student Affairs Collaborative site? Was it just through an Internet search or was it something you heard about from coworkers or friends? Another thing I wondered was how you decided on your ratings for your resources?

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