Tuesday, 7 January 2014

How to Create a Personal Learning Network

Updated 22 September 2016

It's hard to escape networking these days with the internet. PLN or personal learning networks have become popular among educators. They are basically people that you exchange information with and this usually takes place online. By using VLE or virtual learning environments, it's pretty easy to exchange ideas.

There are a handful of good guides about how to build a personal learning network. You do have to be careful though. More and more companies are basing hiring decisions upon what they find on prospective employees social media networks.

PLNs allow you to work on your professional development, find resources, learn new ideas, network, keep up-to-date about the latest news in your field, among other things. TEFL teachers have really taken to PLN.

Blog Carnival: You can just read it or write your own post and have it be included in the carnival. Unfortunately both of these blog carnivals have now closed. If you know of any please let me know. Here's the ELT Blog Carnival, the upcoming topics, and the sign-up sheet (The ELT Blog Carnival closed down in fall 2014). Reach to Teach also has a blog carnival they just started (They closed in spring 2015).

Blogs: Start following a couple of blogs and commenting on them. You'll get to know the blog writers and other readers that way. If you don't have a blog, consider starting one. Edu Blogs is probably the largest blogging community of educators out there.

Facebook: Join groups or networks and actively participate in them.

Linkedin: Complete your profile and start connecting with people. You might want to consider becoming a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) and accepting any and all invitations that aren't spam. Joining groups and participating in conversations can help.

MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses): Some publishing companies have free webinars that you can attend as long as you sign up, such as  Academic Earth, Class-Central, Coursera, EdX, Lynda, Skill Crush, U of People, Udemy, and Udacity.

Nings: EFL Classroom 2.0 and the Educator's PLN are good places to start.

Podcasts: The itunes store has good podcasts, some of them are even free.

RSS: Allows you to follow blogs easily.

Social Bookmarking: You can see what other people are reading online and also share your bookmark list.

Skype: You can talk to people around the world.

TED: Lots of great presentations by famous people.

Twitter: Short and sweet, you can share ideas anytime, anywhere. Check out #ELTChat. It started in 2010 and every Wednesday they talk about a certain topic. They don't have chats during July or August. Here's a list of the summaries of past topics.

Web 2.0: This is basically a combination of many of the ideas here, social networking, blogs, wikis, videos, etc, all in one place.

Wikis: More and more groups are creating wikis in order to gather information in one place.

Youtube: You can subscribe to channels, watch the latest presentations, and comment on them.  

Over to you

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