Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Collaborative Learning: Writing and PLN's

Building your PLN or Personal Learning Network is an important part of what we will be doing here. The blog post I'm sharing explains them very well. This is one of the clearest explanations I have come across. I am also hoping we will discuss what PLN's are and how to use them here. 

Among other things, I envision this blog as a shared PLN that we will all learn from. My own PLN includes other blogs and groups, social media, friends and colleagues I exchange email with. Currently, I am participating in an online workshop that includes developing PLN's. 

Non-internet version of a PLN might be clubs for common goals and interests, sharing information with friends from work or just sitting around with other students talking about classes and studies. Can you think of other examples? 

When we've all settled in, gotten acquainted (or reacquainted) and you've learned more about PLN's, I'd like to create an assignment similar to the one below.

Self-paced learning does not mean you have to do it alone. 


PLNPLN stands for Personal Learning Network. These days, English teachers use sites such as twitter and Facebook to create a PLN. We also visit each other's blogs. These sites act as an online staffroom that is open to the whole world. We interact with each other online and share ideas and links.

English learners can form a PLN too.
You don't want to learn English alone, do you? MyEC is a great space to create your PLN. You can chat, write on each other's walls, comment on blogs, and practise English in a variety of other ways. You'll have so much fun that you'll forget you are learning English.

Your online PLN consists of the people who you
interact with most online. You learn from them and they learn from you. You have a special connection online even though you may not have met all of these people face-to-face. Like in real life, your PLN will change from month to month and year to year.

One important thing about creating a PLN is
sharing it with others. New members of MyEC (my English class) look for hints about who to befriend. Who are the most active users? Who wants to use Skype? Who likes chatting about set topics in the chat room? This month we are going to describe our PLN. This will be good writing practice. It will also be helpful for new MyEC members who are looking for learning partners. Your PLN can include people from within MyEC as well as people outside of MyEC.

Starting your own PLN

  1. Open a new blog post. Create a list of people who you learn from online (about 3-10 people). Find a link to each person's website, online public profile (i.e. Yahoo, Blogger, Google), twitter account, or blog.
  2. Describe what you learn from each person and why you consider this person an important member of your PLN. Use the tag PLN. This will make it easy for us to point new MyEC members to some friend suggestion lists.
  3. Share a link to your PLN post in the comments below.


  1. hi! Vanessa, and everyone, I think this is very good idea. I want to join the group.

  2. Anonymous7:01 AM

    Oh, that's a very good way of studying English. I would like to try it.

  3. @Junai ~ you are are already in the group. In a manner of speaking, Blogging English is part of your Personal Learning Network. A PLN also has some aspects of a study plan but more interesting and flexible. Your Second Life group would also be part of your PLN. The feeds in the sidebar on the right hand side of the blog could also be part of your PLN ~ but only if you follow them regularly.

    @Oksana, Junai and all ~ for now, think about your own personal learning resources, with an emphasis on participation. That means online groups, chat rooms, forums, Bulletin Boards, etc. Can you come up with four? Strictly speaking, a PLN covers ALL your learning, not just one area. However, for now I think it would be less confusing to stick to English.

    Later, we can think about how learning areas overlap.


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