Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) can be great tools that open up endless opportunities and knowledge when used correctly. PLN’s can help you get in touch with other people who are interested in the same thing you are. The best thing about PLN’s is that YOU choose who is in your network. According to Howard Rheingold, there are 8 steps or ways that you can build, and cultivate, your PLN: explore, search, follow, tune, feed, engage, inquire, and respond.
Photo CC: Sean MacEntee
In order to begin building your PLN, you first need to know what interests you. Do you want to learn more about cooking, or maybe photography? For me, I chose to explore more into the world of Education. Since I am in training to be a teacher, this only seemed fitting. Once you know what you are interested in, you can begin to search for different people or sites that will give you the information you need. I simply went onto Google and typed in “Best Twitter accounts for teachers.” Bam! I suddenly had tons of options right at my fingertips. Since this class is mostly revolved around Twitter, I then followed the accounts I wanted after seeing if the information on their pages interested me.
Photo CC: Iqbal Osman
The best things about PLN’s is that the people you choose to follow, isn’t permanent. If you find that a particular source is constantly filling your timeline with information that doesn’t interest you, simply unfollow them. In order to have a success PLN, Rheingold claims that you need to “feed” you PLN. This means that while you are getting information from other people, you should also contribute information that you think your followers will also like. The idea of “feeding” my PLN is kind of intimidating to me. It is hard to know if the information that I find useful, will also be useful to others. Overall, I feel that the people that I follow all have something in common: a love of education. Because of this, I would hope that the educational information that I share will interest them.
Photo CC: ksfoxy12
It is important to keep in contact with the people in your PLN in order to successfully give and receive information. This mean you should reach out and talk to others, ask questions, and reply to them. Another important part of PLN’s is courtesy. If you are kind and open to the people in your network, then they are likely to reciprocate and share information! Although creating a PLN may seem like a time-consuming task, it truly is a great way to give and receive information about topics that interest you!