Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Personal Learning Networks? The Latest Buzz Phrase?

I am always skeptical of new buzz words in education. Every so often, there is a new "flavor" of the week, and all the teachers run toward the light - until a newer, cooler, light appears.

I had that feeling about the phrase "Personal Learning Network." Ugh. Everyone was talking about their PLN this and their PLN that. Ugh.

So, I ignored it. I didn't listen to any podcasts about it; I didn't read any blog posts about it; I didn't tweet about it; I didn't read tweets about it...I ignored it.

But, then I went to the annual #CAISCT retreat and listened a bit more attentively because these folks are my friends, and I like and respect them a whole lot. And, by hook and by crook, I came away appreciating the concept and understanding the buzz.

We all have personal learning networks. For me, Eloise Pasteur and Jean-Claude Bradley are at the top of my list. Jean-Claude got me into this whole mess of loving educational technology with his work on UsefulChem and EduFrag gaming. Eloise has been my right hand woman in Literature Alive! in Second Life. She is also the first person I turn to when I need help with anything (ANYTHING!) computer related.

But, I sat down and just brainstormed on paper other people that I always read or look to...people, blogs, organizations...and, wow, I really do have a PLN.

Here are some other peeps and groups that I consider my teachers:

But, this list is small and my RSS is now up to 143 subscriptions, and my TweetDeck blips every 12 seconds because I search for #edutech, #edtech, #English, #teachers, #teaching, #professors, etc.

Yeah, so, ok, I get it. I have a great PLN and it is growing exponentially. I am not a fan of the buzz phrase, but I think the concept is right on. We have people from whom we learn, and these people make us the great successes we are at work, at home, and in life.

So, to my PLN - I love you; keep making magic and inspiring me to be a better teacher, professor, and creator.

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