Warlick, D (2009). Grow Your Personal Learning Network. Learning and Leading with Technology, 36(6), retrieved from
Summary: David Warlick's exploration of the use of digital Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) merely emphasizes what we here in ED 422 have been exploring and experiencing first-hand all along: that the right resources can permit information to come right to us. The presence of youtube, flickr, twitter, diigo, wikis, blogs, and many, many other devices not only act us a giant funnel that filters and channels relevant and desirable information directly to us in ways that are more convenient and less time-consuming, but also place an onus of responsibility on us, especially those of us who wish to be educators, to recognize our own roles as likely pieces of other peoples personal learning networks. Warlick's ultimate thoughts on the matter is that technology, including information technology, is ultimately amoral and that all the tools mentioned above at one's disposal are meaningless unless educators carefully illustrate to their students how to use them so that they learn how to take a more active part in their learning.
Question 1: What are some ways in which I could use the proper social networking tools to help filter out extraneous electronic information?
Using bookmarking services like Delicious will allow you to look for the most valuable and reliable sources because if someone else has bookmarked a website and given it a tag, that narrows down a Google search considerably. Likewise, subscribing to such tagged phots or videos from flickr or youtube, or to blog searches on a topic of your choice are ways that not only trim down your time looking for good articles, posts, images, or videos, but better organize it all for you. So if I were to get a youtube account, I can subscribe to the channel of a fellow user who I know uploads videos on teaching methods; I might subscribe to their videos if they are tagged with words like "creative writing" which would put me in direct contact with videos that I could learn from as opposed to having to do a google video search and potentially wading through a myriad of useless hits before reaching something helpful.
Question 2: What are some ways in which my students might have PLNs already?
PLNs aren’t about relying solely on digital resources to further one’s learning. Friends, family, classmates, and other people are part of a person’s network. Communicating both in person and via phone and email in order to both help others with schoolwork and get help with one’s schoolwork is networking in action. Part of the point of being a teacher is to show adolescents how they can expand their network further.