What is a ‘Personal Learning Network’ (PLN)? Klingensmith (2009) has a definition on her blog which I quite like, “the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online” to me this is a simple, straightforward and accurate definition.
Utech (2008) has proposed 5 stages of personal learning networks adoption on his blog The thinking stick, these are; Immersion, evaluation, know it all, perspective & balance. He created the below diagram to display the stages effectively along with a short description of each stage.
Looking at Utech’s stages I realise I remember stages one and two fondly, but I have well and truly rounded the corner into stage three. Particularly with the addition of Uni work and some projects I am involved with at work currently. I believe at times I have gone into stage four and even paddled in stage five, but I seem to have back peddled recently. Currently my PLN looks something like this…
… rather messy and out of control. Definitely a stage 3 in serious need of reviewing to gather some perspective. Utech (2008) suggests cutting oneself off from technology for a week; this is not an option currently (particularly as one of my subjects at Uni is ‘Social networking for information professionals’) so perspective must come with continuing use of the technology. Smith’s (2008) presentation provides information on how to build a PLN, it shows effective use of RSS feeds to keep yourself connected. Using my RSS reader more effectively and having more of my information come through this feed would be a good way to feel more in control of my PLN. I could also set up different feeds for university work/work learning and general interest so that my feeds are more concentrated to what I require. During this process it would also be valuable to evaluate what I am subscribed to in order to lose anything that doesn’t provide me with value. Hopefully this will go some way to providing me with balance.
Klingensmith, K. (2009). PLN: Your personal learning network made easy. Retrieved from http://onceateacher.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/pln-your-personal-learning-network-made-easy/ on 7 August, 2012.
Smith, B. (2008). Creating an online personal learning network. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/bethanyvsmith/creating-an-online-personal-learning-network-presentation on 7 August, 2012.
Utech, J. (2008). Stages of PLN adoption. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption on 7 August, 2012.