For my first Personal Learning Network (PLN) entry, I am simply writing about what a PLN is and how I can create my own. According to Professor Buchanan of San Jose State University, a PLN is, “The resources you use to engage in a topic for learning.” Although I think having a PLN is a fabulous idea, I must admit that I am experiencing information overload. I need to come up with some kind of graphic that showcases what I plan to learn and how I plan to learn it. Looking at Professor Buchanan’s PLN map was helpful. This gives me a starting place to organize my ideas before I immerse myself in research.
The “channels” section of Professor Buchanan’s video was also useful and gave me some ideas where to look for items to add to my PLN. Some examples included blogs, wikis, websites, print journals and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pulse and Netvibes. I’ve never heard of Pulse and Netvibes. I will have to check these two out.
I also like the idea of studying leaders in the library field as well as leaders in education. (I used to be a gifted education facilitator and would like to keep abreast of new trends in the field. I hope it is okay to add this to my PLN.) I was pleased to see that Dr. Loertscher was listed. I took two library classes with him and enjoyed his focus on technology and Makerspaces.
Once I have established my PLN, I need to come up with a way to maintain it so it doesn’t become too daunting of a task. Right now, I feel that most of my resources for my PLN will be online. The Information Superhighway is overwhelming and it is easy to be sucked in and spend hour upon hour at the computer. This concern was answered after I read Wendy Burleson’s blog post entitled, Growing, Cultivating and Sustaining a PLN. For example, she recommends using Feedly to “aggregate colleagues’ blog posts”. Furthermore, she suggests limiting the amount of time used daily to peruse social media sites. Sometimes, the skimming of these sites may prevent a person from looking at a source in depth. That’s where the importance of the print journal comes in.
On a final note, I enjoyed reading Lesley Farmer’s article in the School Library Management textbook about the professional benefits of joining international organizations. All kind of colleagues and contacts, no doubt, may result from membership in these organizations. This would be a good way to expand my Personal Learning Network. Ones of particular interest to me include the American Library Association and the International Association of School Librarianship. I also think it would be a good idea to join the Missouri Library Association. I will need to investigate all of these and determine the cost of joining these organizations.