Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

June 24, 2010

In What Ways Are Personal Learning Networks Having An Effect On Education?


6-22-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Edchat - a great PLN!!

We are very grateful to Andrew Barras (@crudbasher) for this week’s summary of what was another very lively discussion on #edchat and a topic which most people felt very passionate about! Andrew is very passionate about technology and the role that it plays, and will play even more in the future, in education. He has provided a splendid definition of PLN and really captured the tone of the discussion!

The rise of the Internet has allowed connections to be forged between people based on a common purpose, ideology or interest.  This collection of people, ideas and concepts is completely customized and fitted to an individual’s needs.  The term Personal Learning Network (PLN) is widely used to describe this system.  While each PLN is unique, they all share certain features.  They are not something that you join, the user has to create their own.  Using Twitter, RSS feeds, Diigo, Delicious and blogs, people inquire, ponder, respond, and learn, usually all at the same time.  There are no ranks, degrees, status or wealth.  Only ideas.  It is the ultimate democratic forum, where each person has a voice and each voice is equal.  Like a plant, the PLN needs attention, feeding and sometimes pruning. More than the information gathered however perhaps the best reward for having a PLN is to provide a brutally honest sounding board for our thoughts and an encouraging support group when we struggle.  It truly is more than the sum of it’s parts.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • General agreement that PLNs are having an effect.
  • PLN allows support for individuals who otherwise might be isolated in their school
  • PLN facilitates improved Professional Development
  • PLN helps keep teachers interested in learning and developing
  • You don’t join a PLN you build (or grow) one.
  • In a PLN everyone has an equal voice
  • PLNs allow blending of ideas from different levels of education
  • Nobody is forced into a PLN so there is enthusiasm
  • PLN is very much a grassroots creation
  • A PLN is a model for lifelong learning
  • Most teachers don’t have a PLN

Here is a selection of some of the comments:

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@TeachPaperless: PLNs are both democratizing and personalizing professional development.
@cybraryman1: Where else could you have 24/7 PD from great global educators. PLN’s are transforming how we teach & collaborate.
@mattguthrie: My PLN has affected my school b/c I share everything with them after I learn it from my PLN
@anderscj: @kevcreutz PLN members set their own priorities and make connections of mutual benefit, edicts are handed to no one.
@MrR0g3rs: #edchat all schools have teachers who have given up on being learners. u never see that with a PLN
@MissCheska: There is no power differential in PLNs – knowledge is freely distributed, allowing for empowerment in all levels.
@Mamacita: When each subject exists only w/in 4 walls of one classroom, they’re useless. PLN’s allow communication & sharing.
@CrudBasher: Having a PLN is like having an expert team working for me everyday.
@thenewtag: Twitter is my newspaper each morning and night. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world of learning.
@tomwhitby: PLN’s allow the blending of ideas from Elementary, Secondary and Higher ed settings.
@jbrogley: My PLN has also changed what I want for my own children’s education.
@TheGilch: If you are following 20 teachers on twitter, think of how much collective exprience you r drawing from!
@TeachPaperless: A great way to get teachers involved in PLNs is to under-emphasize the ‘tech’  and stress the sharing aspect.
@ShellTerrell: Before my PLN, at conferences I used to get greeted w business cards now its like meeting friends known for yrs
@tomwhitby: PLN’s allow us to not only devise ideas, but share the finished product Globally. No Walls!
@DrTimony: Front burner task for PLN must be to unify colleagues and schools. Like a union except with brains.
@TeachPaperless: PLNs are part of broader cultural shift; see: news, entertainment, gaming, music industries – remix of personal/public hierarachies.
@dgende: When faculty asks: how did you know ’bout this? How did you learn this? I take the opportunity to pitch PLNs!
@lhmiles2: Key w/ PLNs is to always take action. Don’t simply talk/share ideas.  ACT. Otherwise, meaningless.

Special alliteration award goes to:

@TeachPaperless: PLNs have made the profession personal in a public way and public in a personal way.

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

Is the public education system broken, or is it actually working exactly like designed, but the design is bad?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared: (Phew! So many this week!!)

Free e-books for educators, including one on Professional Learning Networks http://blog.learningtoday.com/ebooks/

Creating an online personal learning network (PLN) #edchat http://ht.ly/21Lwe

New blog post Free social networking in education 2.0 Part I http://web20socialmediasafetyineducation.blogspot.com/ Share,rt comment

http://www.virtualschoolsymposium.org/ (Virtual School Symposium 2010) anyone attending this? #edchat

@Parentella Here’s the picture I use to go with it http://bit.ly/b041ml

Open course on PLNs, web2, & Connectivist Learning: http://connectivistlearning.pbworks.com

RT @web20classroom: Join @mbteach, @kylepace and I at #ISTE10 for an #Edchat Live Event and Tweetup: http://bit.ly/bn7QY3

RT @dianeravitch: Interview with Valerie Strauss: http://tinyurl.com/2vvg5t2

New . Join free   PLN for teachers who want to share knowledge using http://twubs.com/safedchat/ #edtech20 http://yv2.me/oxWb

The best part of a PLN is that we gain knowledge from ourselves-the professional educators who are in the field! http://ht.ly/21LYP

Wendy Drexler has some great PLN examples http://wp.me/ptZn3-4r

RT @t4johnson See EducationEye for a visual map of tech innovations (updated daily): http://www.educationeye.org.uk/

our visual of a teacher pln http://screencast.com/t/ZmUxOGE1OTM – should be happening w/or w/o web.. web is just amping it

Guest post from the Andrew Barras on LeahMacVie.com this week: Reflections on my Online Master’s Program http://bit.ly/chftCJ

Wise Words from Howard Rheingold- Reflections from #EdChat http://bit.ly/9N0ZrN

Proud supporter of #ISTE10  http://twb.ly/cVnId2 annimation . GoAnimate – Blue Bear in Space #edtech20 http://icio.us/fyxtb2

Yes, I have a page  for PLNs: http://bit.ly/503fQf

a short video I created describing PLNs – http://bit.ly/a60SJw

Liberation Technology (the Twitter PLN) http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2009/10/twitter-as-teacher-liberation.html

liberated to do what? perhaps http://bit.ly/cXT16N? RT @irasocol: Liberation Technology (the Twitter PLN) http://bit.ly/b7upRy

@ghewgley Love that analogy.  Speaking of Analogies: http://bit.ly/aTnN54

Building a Professional Learning Community at Work great reproducibles http://bit.ly/d3fJvW

@rliberni @kevcreutz http://singimagination.wordpress.com/

New blog post: What do your student interactions look like? http://bit.ly/99SntF

The Educator’s PLN Ning is free to all who wish to be a part of over 4,000 collaborating Educators. Join us at –  www.edupln.com

5 Reasons Why Educators Should Network: 4. To extend your learning base http://bit.ly/8YuYK0

Teachers  build  #PLN on Ning but unfourrtunatelly in 1 mounth Ning will close free service for Ning creators . http://yv2.me/oybA

RT @isteconnects: Good foundational article on theory of PLNs and why/how they work http://bit.ly/16THuy

New — Technology literacy whitepaper. The case for “doing”, not testing http://bit.ly/9yvLSM Plz share with PLN

Maybe students could be encouraged to start a project on building PLNs: Design For change Contest http://bit.ly/aPstiO

our visual of student pln http://screencast.com/t/NDdjODcwM more likely to happen if teachers are pln-ing

Thanks every1! RT @akenuam: @Dramanique You build one. Check out the PLN ebook at http://blog.learningtoday.com/ebooks/

Excellent resources by Cybrary Man on PLNs and PLCs http://bit.ly/d9NlPt

we think plns should be the new standard http://tinyurl.com/26flofd

RT@ColinTGraham:Mayb students could be encouraged to start a project on building PLNs:Design For change Contest http://bit.ly/aPstiO

Real-World Issues Motivate Students | Edutopia http://ow.ly/21ggD http://ow.ly/21geI

RT @ShellTerrell    PLN Resources, Presentations, & Research to help you spread the word http://bit.ly/clMc5w

So while every 1 was in #edchat discussing PLN I was blogging abt mine &getting 2 sit next to the smart kids at #ISTE10 http://bit.ly/9Qa713

I’ve found more resources and more useful advice for PD in 3 months on Twitter than in 5 years without it http://bit.ly/63EfOb

PLN – Sharing knowledge   on-line using tools and applications web 2.0 and social media  #edtech20 http://yv2.me/oyhT

Remember: It’s the people of a PLN that make it thrive: http://bit.ly/90SNfG

#safedchat web 2.0 and social media in education in a safety mode http://grou.ps/web20andsocialmediaeducationstill20

19 Resources about Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) http://bit.ly/aNiq8y

#edchat Wiki has a cluster map (so global!) and a “Who are We?” page – good stuff to send to admins: http://bit.ly/azwBbB

MUST read @kylepace  It’s the people of a PLN that make it thrive: http://bit.ly/90SNfG

You can get a #TT #edchat #twibbon here if you want! http://bit.ly/bHhGOL

@soumyapr This will help you learn about #Edchat http://bit.ly/6Yfgc & become involved in our weekly conversations

it’s not difficult to understand, it’s difficult to embrace = paraphrasing Seth Godin – relates to PLN… http://bit.ly/aUGkIz

RT @lemino: Thanks got here late. More reading for later. This discussion can continue on http://bit.ly/66MR8q

@isteconnects: Good foundational article on theory of PLNs and why/how they work http://bit.ly/16THuy

@ShellTerrell #edchat learning is all about fun! Have you seen this? http://youtu.be/m3RPa1ztV64 (short)

Stay Connected at #ISTE10 (Whether you’re attending or not!) http://is.gd/cZogk.

RT @tomwhitby: If you are going to ISTE10 we will be doing a large Group participation #Edchat. CHK This out! http://bit.ly/cAlbRI

Struggling to teach students how to “search”? Try these search challenges to help build search skills http://bit.ly/b8rVlf

RT @web20classroom: Don’t forget to join #edchat at #ISTE10: http://bit.ly/bn7QY3

You might find this 2006 report helpful: Blended Learning – Learning – British Council – Brussels http://bit.ly/awwPny @ISILBOY

My name is Andrew Barras (aka Crudbasher). I am honored to be able to provide the summary for #edchat this week!

I am an Instructional Designer at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. I have been a 3d Modeler, Computer Programmer, Web Designer, and Professor over the last 15 years. I was even making Military Simulations before I could legally drink! (that was a disadvantage). Now I am adding Educational Futurist to my skill set.  I have a BS in Digital Arts and Design and my Masters in Education Media Design & Technology, both from Full Sail University.

I believe that Education is about to undergo a more drastic change in the next 10-15 years than it underwent in the last 100 because of technology. Therefore I blog at Education Stormfront where I focus on how disruptive technology will affect and change education in the next few years.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think? Leave a comment!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell and Berni Wall, SLAV Bright Ideas. SLAV Bright Ideas said: RT @rliberni: #Edchat summary 22/6 12.00EST 4.00GMT In What Ways Are PLNs Having An Effect On Edu? : http://wp.me/ptGdh-wv #vicpln […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention In What Ways Are Personal Learning Networks Having An Effect On Education? « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language -- Topsy.com — June 24, 2010 @ 11:21 am | Reply

  2. What a great summary! I did a presentation last week for librarians at my university on building a PLN and it turned out to be Part 1 focussing on the nuts and bolts of joining Twitter, following and creating lists and setting them up in columns in TweetDeck, HootSuite etc. HootSuite is a good option if you cant install software on a work/school computer for example, as it is accessed via your web browser.

    I now need to create Part 2 – what a PLN is and how we can benefit from building one – for showing after the summer break.
    This post has given me loads of ideas, quotes, material etc.

    Many thanks

    @juliadesigns on Twitter

    Comment by Julia Ault — July 22, 2010 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

    • Thanks you Julia – it is a great post by Matthias and #edchat is a great place to build a PLN no doubt about it!! Glad we could help you with this!!

      Comment by rliberni — July 22, 2010 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  3. […] Rliberni’s Blog: Radical Language via […]

    Pingback by Ffynnonweb » Blog Archive » How are Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) having an effect on Education? — July 23, 2010 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

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