Many thanks to Susan Waters for the creation of this wiki, which has FINALLY enabled me to explain to my husband precisely what a personal learning network might be and why anyone would want to establish one. By relying on five specific tools: blogs, Twitter, Ning, RSS, and social bookmarks, professional development is no longer something “provided” to us by others as we sit quietly taking notes. Knowledge is something we can acquire anytime, anyplace, and anywhere…thanks to those who are willing to share. As the new year approaches, I plan to use these tools in new and improved ways, and I’ve been learning a bit in preparation for doing so.

Blogging for professional purposes is a relatively new adventure, and I know that I have much to learn. I keep up with Darren Rowse and Brian Clark, and I find challenges like this one quite helpful. So even though November has passed, I’m going to devote thirty days to being a better blogger and see what improvements can be made along the way.

Twitter is my favorite social networking tool, and I’m thrilled with their new and improved search function. I’ve also been using Twellow to find new people to follow, and I’ve joined twitter4teachers as well. Keeping up with new applications can be overwhelming, but two that I’d like to try in the new year are Twittermail and Tweetlater.

I use Google Reader and bookmark at Diigo, but I haven’t been good about establishing a network in either place, and I don’t take enough time to share what I’m discovering. Those are goals for this year, as is greater participation inside several Nings that I’ve joined (I can never keep up as much as I’d like to with any of them). I’m especially excited about the conversations unfolding at Jim Burke’s new place though, as well as The Literacy Lighthouse and of course, Working Together 2 Make a Difference.

As always, my biggest struggle is finding balance. It’s impossible to do it all, and establishing priorities and a purpose for all that I’m doing remains essential. The perfectionist in me wants to do it all, but clearly, that’s not an option any longer. The conversations are ever-changing and ongoing, and thankfully, no matter when we choose to participate, it always seems as if we’ve arrived right on time. So join in. You’ll be glad that you did!



  1. You posting hit the mark with me.

    While I was snow blowing I was reflecting on my PLN (yes snow blowing, lawn mowing, and tread milling are my reflective times). I was marveling at the tremendous amount of knowledge I have gained in the past 4 months, both on the technology side and eductaionally. This is all due to my PLN.

    I am recommitting myself to participating in the various facets I am a part of (Twitter, Classroom 2.0, Wikis and Blogs). My committment is to not only read and listen but to contribute more, from my areas of expertise, and to try to recruit some of my colleagues to dabble with PLN’s.

    A personal thanks to you Angela for getting me started!

  2. Hey, I’m pretty sure you were headed there anyway, and it would be wonderful to see the circle grow. Everyone has so much to contribute and there are so many challenges that can be overcome by the learning and the sharing that happens in these spaces. Happy New Year!

  3. The most powerful words of this post are: “The conversations are ever-changing and ongoing, and thankfully, no matter when we choose to participate, it always seems as if we’ve arrived right on time. So join in.” The world and the tools available are changing and developing faster than any of us can keep up, and nobody can ever learn it all. We need to give ourselves permission to jump in and pick up where we can and learn the rest along the way with wonderful friends to guide us!

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