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!