Personal Learning Networks

Posted on March 24, 2010 by mathblogger.
Categories: Web 2.0 Impacting Learning Environments.

My own personal learning networks have always been anchored within an educational context; high school and undergraduate studies supplied me with text, digital, and social resources to fuel my hunger for knowledge and opportunity. Peer and faculty interactions provided a sounding board for ideas and reflection. When I started my family, I formed a new personal learning network of expecting moms who were eager to share books, videos, advice, and support with each other. But it was not until I began teaching high school that I started including online social networks as part of my personal learning network.

While I was in Stage 1: Immersion and Stage 3: Know it All of Utecht’s scale of PLN Adoption (2008), I accumulated quite a collection of usernames and passwords for teacher-support networks online. Each new Yahoo group or web-ring I joined led me to another ‘must see’ network that promised to be the biggest and best. I collected shortcuts and subscriptions to dozens of these sites until my inbox was so stuffed on a daily basis that I couldn’t stand to look at another message. I sifted through content and saved document after document of resources I was sure I would come back to one day. I never did. The knowledge poured in so quickly that I didn’t have time to organize, apply, or reflect on any of it. Completely overwhelmed, I opted to abandon that email address and bookmark collection and start fresh.

Stages 2: Evaluation and 4: Perspective really occurred simultaneously after that. I returned to networks like Edutopia, Thinkfinity, and the Discovery D.E.N. on a regular basis but opted out of email notices in favor of searching for topics of interest on my own when I had time. I housed the RSS feeds I wanted to follow in Netvibes, organized resources using tags with Delicious social bookmarking, and posted my reflections on a WordPress blog.

This year I have been learning to balance full time teaching, raising five teenagers, graduate studies, and pursing National Board Certification (yes, I’m aware that I’m absolutely insane); I need a central location where I can consolidate my favorite feeds, post my blog reflections, and maintain my library of audio, video, and text resources. The creation of the Carlisle Schools TTP Ning for this week’s assignment marks my transition into Stage 5: Balance because I intend to merge as much of my PLN as possible into this single social network. The Carlisle Schools TTP Ning will combine my online life as a teacher, professional development facilitator, and student of instructional media technologies under a single PLN.


Utecht, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption. Article posted to


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