Monday, January 19, 2009

How has your Personal Learning Network Changed Your Life?

I am about to head down to the Educon 2.1 conference in Philadelphia. Last year this conference was a life changing experience for me. My online personal learning network came alive. My internet friends became real live friends and it felt like I already knew most of them.

In general, I learn so much from my blogging, twitering, plurking, deliciousing, facebooking network. They lead me to new ideas and tools, they help me when I'm in trouble, they inspire me when I'm stuck. I honestly don't know how I survived without you all.

Last year's Educon also introduced me (in person) to Lisa Thumann who has become a great friend and cherished colleague in the last year. She and I have so much in common, despite the hundreds of miles that separate us. It seems fitting that this year we will be presenting two sessions together. I hope to see some of you there.

I asked my Twitter network how their PLN has changed their life. Here is what they had to say. Please share your thoughts on the subject (I feel like I never get any comments anymore - I could use some comment love).

Jean-Louis Bontront
jeanbont @lizbdavis Getting lots of new ideas, finding web2.0 applications I didn't know existed, started a blog, getting colleagues involved too!
MagistraM @lizbdavis No longer working in isolation - always have resources for answers, ideas, suggestions. My PLN inspires me.

dmcordell @lizbdavis Instead of being a solitary librarian, I'm part of a group. I have mentors, teachers, friends from around the world.
cehyde9 @lizbdavis WOW. You all are so much on the cutting edge of everything! Links, resources, news, troubleshooting, answers, support. U name it!
C Hollingsworth
chollingsworth @lizbdavis my new PLN has re-energized me. I was getting bored and needed to start learning for myself again. Never knew what I was missing!
Holly B
h011y @lizbdavis My learning curve is doing loop-de-loops. Gained/offered ideas and resources. Enjoy "knowing" folks at other online events.
mrsbrowndog @lizbdavis In terms of 140 characters I can's immeasurable. I am more reflective & willing to ask for help here than anywhere else
jason_everett @lizbdavis I believe I have more focus because of my PLN.
Cathy Nelson
cathyjo @lizbdavis it has opened UNBELIEVABLE doors for me. My PLN will take me farther than I ever dreamed of going. Im now a global thinker.
Lori Feldman
lfeld52 @lizbdavis My PLN has given me new outlets for interests and given me a bigger "toolbox" to use at school
Theresa Murray
tamurray @lizbdavis I think my new PLN has helped me look at more sources and try some new things. Expanding my classroom resources.
Beth Still
bethstill @lizbdavis I'm a better teacher b/c of my PLN. More connections=more ideas for new and improved lessons. PLN=more personal fulfillment.
vtdeacon @lizbdavis as someone who uses project based learning it has really made me look at and helped me find more options for kids 2 present
Patrick Woessner
pcwoessner @lizbdavis For me? Best learning resource I could imagine. For most educators? I daresay it hasn't:
Neal Cross
nealcross @lizbdavis was pondering that some today; it seems like I can easily be overwhelmed by Good Information, the only bad is the distraction.
Nadine N
nnorris @lizbdavis I am so much more aware of recent research, best practices, new tools, high quality resources - I'm just plain smarter!

Image Citations
Thanks so much to Frank for this awesome PLN graphic!
"Get Connected" metaweb20's photostream on Flickr

This is the best image of me (in the hat) and Lisa (on my right) that I can find. Thanks to Kristin Hokanson for taking the photo. kristinhokanson's photostream on Flickr


Kate said...

Awesome post, Liz! Thanks for including me in your list of twitterers. Since joining twitter in November I have grown so much as an educator and reflective practitioner; I have started blogging, joined delicious, and try new things that the twitterverse recommends AND I share all of it with teachers and administrators every day. The PLN I have established is one of the best things I have done for myself and for those I touch in my practice.

Thanks for being part of my PLN!

Lisa Thumann said...

Hi Liz,
I checked and I have no decent pics from Educon2.0, but here's one of us from BLC08

My PLN has changed my life by proving to me that distance does not matter in the 21st Century and that if I constantly read, reflect and ask questions - I'll keep learning - and at this point in time - I'm learning with friends.

Thanks for being such a good one. I'm looking forward to an extended F2F conversation this Friday night.

Aaron Bleich said...

Though I am not an educator, I wonder if this is not the same people in all work fields feel with the advent of the internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Anyone who is truly trying to become better at their job is going to seek out more knowledge.
Good luck at the conference, enjoy yourself and enjoy teaching.

loonyhiker said...

This was a fantastic post! When I retired from public school and started teaching on the university level in the summers, I felt so isolated from my colleagues. I missed the day to day interactions about educational issues and concerns. Once I found twitter and plurk, I no longer felt alone. Being part of a community is important to me as a teacher and necessary when teaching about current resources and trends. My PLN is one of the best things about my retirement because now I have time to find valuable and useful resources that I didn't have time for when I taught every day. My goal is now to share what I am learning with other teachers who also don't have the time to search for these.

Liz B Davis said...

Thank you Kate for being part of my PLN!

Lisa, that is a way better picture of us. Thanks for sharing it.

Aaron, an excellent point. And, in addition to educators, my network includes people in a variety of fields from whom I also learn a lot.

Loonyhiker, you are an excellent example of a true lifelong learner. I aspire to be as thoughtful and interesting as you are when I retire.

SunCatIv said...

Keep Posting... thank you for Sharing

IMC Guy said...

Liz, for me, my PLN has opened up my world to an incredible group of minds. People who have shared ideas, encouragement, and questions. NECC last year really brought mine to life as I had a chance to meet many of the people I've communicated with only online. The connections are important. By the way, I know exactly what you mean about needing comment love!

Frank in Mexico said...

Liz, thanks as always. Love twitter and plurk polls. Great to see you using my PLN "Get Connected" graphic and giving it some super exposure. --Frank

Suzanne Walry said...

I am currently doing my Post Grad in Technology!! and our assignment this week was how technology has changed our lives. We were to comment on 5 blogs, 5 twitters and 5 news plus join Face Book! Wow! Such a selection to communicate with family and friends and to meet new friends too! Great way to communicate with other educators around the world! So much more to explore!! Wonderful to read all these comments on the subject!