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Laura Marie

Shelly Terrell: Global Netweaver, Curator, PLN Builder

3 min read

The article about Shelly Terrell, though short was very interesting.  I think that personal learning networks (PLNs) or passionate learning networks as Terrell calls them are fantastic ways for teachers and others to bounce ideas and learn from each other.  I experienced one of these PLNs during our group project where we analyzed a learning community.  My group and I analyzed Kinderchat which was a twitter group of kindergarten and pre-k teachers who shared ideas and projects with each other as they also discussed topics concerning their field.  That was definitely a PLN because as Terrell puts it, a PLN is "the group of people you choose to learn from and with," which is a big part of the purose of Kinderchat.

I agree with Terrell that PLNs are very beneficial and should be available to students as well and incorporated into curriculums.  This reminds me of when I was in third grade in Orange, CT my class started a "Pen Pal" program with students at Barnard School in New Haven, we sent multiple letters back and forth and got to visit with our pen pals at our respective schools.  Even though we lived 15 minutes away from one another, our neighborhoods and upbringings were mostly very different and it showed in our schools, clothing and the way we interacted with each other.  For a nine year old living in a pretty affluent town, that was really the first time I had an experience in an inner-city school and met people who lived idfferently then I did.  But we had already been connected by our letters and learning about one another before we saw those differences so we connected with our similarites and built friendships on that. I believe PLNs could do that on a completely different level for students.  Instead of writing letters with someone living a few towns away, students could Skype with children living on another continent and really learn the differences in culture and everyday life that they may not be able to really grasp just from reading about it in class.

The world is huge, but we are in an era where we can connect to any part of the world with the click of a button and learn about how other people live, teach or learn.  As an aspiring teacher, I think PLNs are brilliant and I think that being in EDU 106 and learning about such groups and opportunities will help me in a couple years when I am clower to obtaining my degree, to connect with people for advice and ideas on how to be the best teacher I can. I am excited to see how PLNs will be used and expanded in the next few years when I am ready to participate in them first hand.