I recently read good advice from what I would call a professional PLN monitor, David Warlick. From page 12 of Learning and Leading with Technology in the March/April 2009 issue David Warlick has an article “Grow Your Personal Learning Network” with New Technologies That Can Keep You Connected and Help You Manage Information Overload. A professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania introduced Warlick’s article to me, very insightful!
According to Warlick, “Keep It Simple”, and you can’t go wrong. If you have a tremendous amount of information on your PLN and within your PLE then the probability of reading it all or even accessing it all is slim. So keep it simple at first. As in any endeavor start small and grow wisely, it will feel better and run more smoothly. Enough small talk, here is David Warlick’s suggestions.
Keep It Simple
Personal learning networks may open up new
worlds, but the technologies that extend our
personal and professional learning beyond our
immediate proximity can be difficult to
understand and control. Here are 10 tips for
creating, cultivating, and pruning your PLN.
- Start small and limit the number of blogs
you subscribe to.
- Organize your subscriptions by topic or
- Organize folders in your aggregator
based on how frequently you need to
read them. Call one folder “Everyday” and
place in it blogs and other RSS feeds that
you need to see every day. Call another
one “Once a Week” and another one
“Once a Month.”
- Give yourself permission to switch your
PLN off every once in a while. While your
computer is off, take a break and go for a
walk or a bicycle ride, visit a neighbor, or
tend your garden for a few minutes. It is
also OK to ignore parts of your PLN when
you need to.
- Scan! You may need to read only one in
10 of the blogs that come through, but
that one will make you a better educator.
- Your aggregator can grow temporary
limbs. If you are teaching a new unit, find
sources that will help you prepare for it
and subscribe to them. When you’ve
learned what you need, sever the lines.
- Realize that your network is much larger
than it seems. You are not just reading
my blog, you are reading all of the blogs
that I read and all of the blogs that those
bloggers are reading.
- Invest some time, but don’t fret that it will
take up all your time. According to David
Jakes, it takes only 15 minutes a day to
learn something new.
- You do not need to subscribe to dozens
of educators’ blogs to learn how they are
using VoiceThread. Instead, conduct a
Google Blog Search for voicethread and
subscribe to that search’s RSS feed.
10. Some bloggers are very good connectors
and filters. They read lots of information
and then blog the gems. Excellent
examples are SEGA Tech from Georgia’s
Southeast Regional Educational Service
Agency and Stephen Downes’ OLDaily.
Now that we have that out of the way, let us refresh a thought or two. Although David has inspired us to keep it simple I still believe that more is better when it comes to education. You really do not have to flood your website with links to everything from bread to butter but remember if you have found an article, book, quote, magazine, photo, or document that says or shows something you found of interest and possibly might want to read or look at it again, then by all means a link on your webpage or in a blog would be wise!