The Mission of Enrichment : My PLN

If there is one thing I have learned about Personal Learning Networks, PLNs, it is that they require effort.

I say this with mixed feelings.

Should you have read my previous post, you will recall I am part introvert. The thought of having to reach out and interact with people I don’t even know, is daunting for me. I suppose this would be partly because building a PLN is a new experience for me.

However, I know the benefits of an effective PLN. I realize that having a community of people to go to for ideas and who are consistently available to me would be excellent, especially as a new teacher. Thus, I call upon my extrovert part.

Anyway, back to the effort required. According to Chuck Frey and his article, “How to Cultivate a Personal Learning Network: Tips from Howard Rheingold,” in order to ensure your PLN is effective, you need to continually update and fine tune it. His article includes 8 tips on how to improve your PLN.


Photo CC – By Scarlet Blue

One of the major tips given centers around feeding your PLN. This means making sure you are giving your followers valuable and relevant information and ideas worth their time and attention. Feeding your PLN is all about finding and then sharing resources your group will find relevant and useful.

Also, it is mentioned that the importance should not be on sheer numbers but quality. Your PLN will only be helpful if your people share your interests and care to share ideas which pertain to your field.

It takes time to sift through the other random posts and resources online to find relevant ones, just as it takes time to sift through people to find those who will contribute to your group. (Please enjoy the above image of a diamond in a pile of gummy bears as a visual analogy for finding the real winners in the midst of the real not winners). However, I do think it will be worth the effort later down the road.


Photo CC – By Philip Wilson

Another main point I took from Frey’s article was the importance of connection. A few of the given points highlighted engaging with those in your PLN. Just as you filter the people in your group, they are doing the same. Thus, I go back to feeding your PLN because if you want to play an effective role in your PLN, you have to give your group good stuff to read and use.

I think it is important to note that new resources are a great way to go. The way I think about it, eventually most of the resources out there will be found and shared to the point that they are not new anymore. I think in order to keep things interesting, it is important to share the new ideas you have, even if they didn’t exactly work for you because they may work for someone else or they may have suggestions for how to adapt them for the better.

In my field of education, specifically early childhood, there is always a new way to teach a concept. Children learn in different ways because no child develops at the same rate or is the same. Thus, teachers are always getting creative and thinking of new activities and lessons. The great thing is, most of them are willing to share those ideas and this what helps contribute to building a cultivated PLN.

Finding those who will contribute valuable and relevant resources is key to ensuring you build a cultivated and effective PLN. But also making sure you are doing the same because PLNs are a two way road.

Leaving you with a tweet I found some motivation in, hope it does the same for you!



A Teacher on a Mission to Enrich her PLN





4 thoughts on “The Mission of Enrichment : My PLN

  1. Cara,
    I can 100% relate to your post. I feel like that will be one of my biggest problems as well; sifting through all the people whom I don’t talk to; all the people that I don’t find their information relevant; or who don’t make an effort to continue on with their page. And I’m sure I will be one of those that gets sifted as well. I agree with you; that even though it didn’t work out for you, you can still post it and it might end up working for someone else.
    Great post!

  2. Cara,
    I liked your post. You are right in the fact of sharing information that didn’t work for us with others. I think that is a good point because like you said, just because it didn’t work for doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Like you said, kids are different so they will learn differently. It’s what makes us unique. I too am an introvert; i don’t prefer to reach out to others and mingle, especially when i don’t know them. But again like you said, i see the value of doing so. There is so much that we can learn from talking and having meaningful discussions with others. I too will be a new teacher so i will need all the help that i can get so that my students are receiving the best that i can offer them.

    • Hey Skyler, thanks! Even in my classes, if I had an idea someone most always had a variation or suggestion to add and share. You are right, we can learn so much through conversation with others who have similar experiences!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s