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PLN – Innovative or Old Hat? – Activity 16

Photo by Garfield Anderssen

Activity 16
Now you have a definition of PLN, the question you need to answer is:
‘Does this offer anything new?’
In terms of innovation, can we say a PLN is truly innovative, or merely a rebadging of existing practice? As with many new terms in educational technology, some people find a PLN usefully captures a new development, while others say it is simply a new term for an old practice.
In considering this, take into account the scale and possibilities offered by new technologies, past networking practice and any of the references you found when constructing your definition.
Write a blog post setting out a position statement on what PLNs are and whether it is a useful term or not.

Of course PLNs are not new. Since the beginning of time humans have reached out and connected with each other and tried to establish networks.

People still connected with each other before the Internet and the World Wide Web was invented. In fact, academics trying to connect with other academics was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the internet. Prior to this people phoned each other, met face to face, held meetings, sent memorandums (for the youngsters out there memorandums are basically emails but on paper, hand written and put in a person’s pigeon hole. If you don’t know what a pigeon hole is you haven’t lived). People would hold training courses and attend conferences.

This blog sums up the changes perfectly.

What is new is the way they are done. We now have the technology to connect with anyone, anywhere at anytime in our neighbourhood or the world. Social media is now being considered as a PLN, even as part of someones personal development.

The blog author summarises;

The kinds of discussions I have, and information I share with my PLN hasn’t changed all that much over the years–what works in class, how students learn, how to become a better teacher. How I meet other teachers, where we discuss ideas, and how we share information has changed. Significantly. My PLN now includes teachers who live quite far from me—in Asia, Australia, the Americas, Europe and Africa. I meet them online. I learn from them online. I share with them online.

There are a lot of sites and posts about PLNs out there which highlight their importance and how guidance is being sought by users. It would appear there are PLNs for PLNs!

35 ways to build a PLN online

Your PLN made easy

Supporting PLNs for educators

What is the point of a PLN?

In this blog, Teachers Helping Teachers: The PLN Road Map Andrew Marcinek explains how to start a PLN

Find like-minded people and start a conversation. Make your PLN personal and beneficial. And remember, it’s ok to make it all about you

PLNs are not new they are just wearing a different coat. The term, PLN, is useful because it is simple and says exactly what it is. It is up to you how and what tools you use and who you connect with (personal). The aim is to acquire knowledge through connecting and collaborating (learning). It’s all about talking to the people you work with and people all over the world (network).

My definition

A network of people who work together (digitally or face to face) and support each other in a learning experience. Learning is improved by this connection which is dynamic, global, supportive, exciting and constantly on the move

highlights the other exciting aspect of PLNs. They aren’t just for teachers and their students or even subject and industry experts. It’s a network of people which can be anyone. Because of the technology and resources available to us we can all be students whenever we want to be.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent exposition on the “duh” factor..ok it is easier to connect globally but PLNs are not exactly new…Good resources woven into your post

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