Developing a Personal Learning Network

This week one of my goals was to continue to expand my personal learning network.  I have been a member of Twitter since 2011 and have steadily used it more and more.  At first, I used it primarily to follow companies like Cracked, or Buzzfeed.  I also followed news companies like Time or CTV.

In those early days, I enjoyed reading through the curated list of entertaining articles and new stories.  Like a colleague of mine, I slowly got used to twitter by “lurking” instead of posting my own content.  It took six months for me to write my very first tweet.


It was an auspicious first post, you can be sure.

Since then, I have used Twitter to connect with other like-minded people and now the accounts that I follow are comprised, for the most part, of other educators.  I now attempt to be part of the conversations and participate in various Twitter chats. I’m still learning, but I am enjoying feeling more connected.

This shift in my Twitter feed is mentioned in Howard Rheingold’s Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies.  In the article he talks about Reed’s Law:

The linear value of services that are aimed at individual users, the ‘square’ value from facilitating transactions, and the exponential value for facilitating group affiliations.

Quote: David P. Reed via Beyond Metcalfe’s Law to the Power of Community Building

Essentially, there are different ways to connect using networks.  You can use them to tune in, you can use them to connect peers and you can use them to create and join.   This scale seems to work with Twitter. You can be a passive observer, where news media, celebrities and entertainment sites generate content for you to tune in to.  The next step on the scale is to connect with others, sharing similar backgrounds or ideas.  The third scale would be creating new groups and content.

This article reminded me of Blooms taxonomy where, again, the top scale of understanding is creating, or generating new content.


Photo Credit: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Another colleague of mine discussed the challenge of having deeper learning or conversations on Twitter in a recent blog post.  At first, it was hard for me to think of all the ways to use Twitter to learn from others. But, as you participate more and more on Twitter, you start to have conversations and learning takes off from there.  I love participating in Twitter chats and getting to hear ideas from other people. When I have conversations with them, I inevitably end up on their blog and learn more of their ideas beyond the 140 character limit of Twitter.

So far I have participated in #saskedchat and in #fslchat, both of which have helped me join the communities of Saskatchewan teachers and French teachers, respectively. I look forward to continuing to expand my personal learning network!


2 thoughts on “Developing a Personal Learning Network

  1. Ellen, thanks for linking me to your post. It seems we were on similar wavelengths and your analogy to Bloom’s was helpful. I have to go beyond the generating content, which Twitter does so well to making meaningful connections.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s