My awesome PLN

Earlier today I tweeted this - "I'm relying on you PLN. Without you I am just a single mind."... and of course, I meant it. My PLN is my community of interest and the mirror of my practice. Nobody learns in a vacuum, not even Robinson Crusoe. I cannot begin to describe the amount of new things I have discovered, and continue to discover every day, on Twitter and on other online social environments. It's a treasure house of ideas. It's like having a cafe within reach at all hours of the day. Better still, it's like having a cafe where all your friends, most respected colleagues and also your favourite sages and teachers are always available to sit down and share their ideas with you. The power of this PLN (personal learning network) should not be underestimated. The PLN has always been there of course, but never before has it been available to us in such a widely distributed, accessible and immediate format. The social web has transformed learning networks and is gathering pace as social media and handheld devices continue to evolve in tandem, providing anytime, anyplace learning that was inconceivable for most of the last century. As heard on the BBC Click Technology programme today, social media is the water cooler and the street corner of the Internet. We live in very exciting times.

My PLN is awesome. Sure, I have had a hand in selecting many of the people I follow on Twitter and those I link up with on Facebook, so I have shaped it. But PLNs also take on a life of their own, and people keep popping up who attract me to follow them. This kind of serendipity is what helps to make my PLN awesome. As I continue to learn from others, so the onus is on me to share what I have learnt. There can be nothing precious about this. Anyone who hoards knowledge in today's connected society is deluding themselves that that can actually benefit them in any way. It won't. Give what you have learnt away. Share it with your friends. Make it free to all those who are interested. You won't lose anything, but you will build stronger social and intellectual ties with your community of practice and interest, and as you share your own knowledge, you will discover that it comes back to you with interest.

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My awesome PLN by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Steve Wheeler said…
Here's a comment from Bev Novak, who unfortunately was unable to access the comments box - Gee thanks for making it easy, Google!

What a great post Steve! You sum up so well succinctly exactly what I feel about both PLNs and Twitter. As a relative newbie to cyberspace - Blogosphere and Twittersphere - I constatnly find new people like you out there who have so much to share. It really is an awesome universe!
- you will discover that it comes back to you with interest.

ABSOLUTELY . We especially encourage students (trainee teachers) to share their lesson outlines, ideas for ICT use to meet course objectives, and discuss what worked (and didn't!). Those who actively share during practicum period find school life the other side of the desk a lot less intimidating.

On a personal note I must thank the Mac Users Group (Singapore) who over the past 10 years have taught me so many cool things. People who openly share are fantastic individuals. I can only work with such people and have no time for those I feel are holding back, being suspicious, asking too many questions, and not freely offering their so-called intellectual capital.
Steve Wheeler said…
Thanks for your comments Michael. It's great to hear of students sharing their lesson plans, and more importantly, discussing their successes and failures. A useful way to learn more about how professional practice can be developed.
Jessica Allen said…
Thanks for a great post, Steve. I couldn't agree more about Twitter and the power a personal PLN has on a person's professional development. I really like how you compared the social networking of today to the water cooler in years past. We are naturally social and it's important that we continue to do that in our professional and technological lives today. I have benefitted tremendously from everything I learn each day from my twitter PLN and I can't wait to share more with my colleagues at my school. I'll be sure to share this post with them so they can see I'm not alone in my feelings!
Andy Pelliccia said…
great post! so inspirational. I agree completely with the spirit of it.

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