Although this has been up for a bit, I finally got a chance to read Tedd Curran’s guide to creating your own personal learning network. This is a great guide for beginners – I highly recommend it if you are new to PLNs or are just not sure if you are doing everything you need to cultivate yours. I was reminded to set-up Google Reader folders by reading this – something I always mean to do but keep forgetting.
Hopefully in the near future, we will see more classes that have a guide like this for a huge chunk of the syllabus. Maybe there will be a few required items, blogs, etc to add to each student’s PLN, but a large part of it will be left up to them to find their own. Class discussions and assignments could then be based on dynamic content online rather every student trying to figure out how to re-write the same information over and over again without plagiarizing what has been said a million times already.
Someday we may even see entire departments or schools that would have a PLN guide like this for their orientation. Just like we now make all new students go through and set-up a school email account, some day they might also set-up a PLN. Each course they enroll in would then have a set of resources to add as a folder to their PLN (or maybe it will be added for them).
The missing link that I see is the software – there needs to be something that makes it easy for instructors to share relevant parts of their PLN with students, as well as students to share good resources with each other. Well, something a bit more advanced than emailing links to everyone. Maybe Google Reader already does this and I need to explore it more?
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.