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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blog #6: EDM 310 Class Blog

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Wendy Drexler's The Networked Student

The video uses simple graphics to demonstrate how effectively one can use a PLN and connectivism to build one's knowledge base and continue to share with others his new learning and experience. Accordingly, the teacher may serve as a guide, helping him to: analyze, validate, and organize information; realize where and how to ask for help; build his network, communicate his findings, and share it with others to continue the idea of connectivism; and finally, how to take advantage of learning opportunities and maintain his learning network. Each student's hard work and research is housed, updated, and made available to others for the benefits of sharing.
Teachers could use this sharing to bring the best professors' lectures into their classrooms. The video referenced this advantage, and suggested finding the top experts the world has to offer. RSS feeds make it possible to stay connected, with virtual textbooks created or chosen by teachers instead of satchels full of books. The PLN can be designed to provide numerous and varied opportunities to see what other individuals have discovered in their pursuits. A 'quilt' of sorts, stitched together with the thread of discovery grows as each person adds to it. In this way, one becomes more adept at recovering, assessing and synthesizing electronic data into his personal network.
Blogs offer us each a chance to comment, and share our point of view. In my classroom, I intend to encourage students to treat their blogs as their personal to professional electronic portfolio. So easily manipulated, blogs can help students manage their intellectual development personally, learning by example, the importance of accountability throughout their school years. Captured as a kind of 'life portfolio', blogs and PLNs offer students a virtual library of their own intellect, and more importantly, of their own making. They must be meticulously maintained and updated; students will benefit from doing so the whole of their
intellectual lives.

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A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

Students today have been given a wonderful gift-the chance at 100% creative control of their personal learning environments! The amount of shared and collaborative information available is staggering; the opportunity to select and gather from such a diverse collective of human experience gives today's students an edge. Glogster replaces the conventional paper poster, incorporating graphics and interactive learning. Skype, used effectively, replaces encyclopedic-style introductions to well-known people, such as scientists, politicians and history-makers. Virtual tours and interactive libraries replace filmstrips and slides, proving invaluable when used as part of a classroom project. Podcasts, audio and video, can enrich the students' familiarity to historical people, places and events. Students who direct their own learning feel confident and curious, and with minimal monitoring, will stay on task, achieve their goals and take pride in their PLEs.
A novice Symbaloo patron, I am familiarizing myself with the nuances of finding, organizing and displaying what will begin my PLN. Mine is far from the organized, creative one presented by the student in the video; I aspire to have a vast network of professional resources, including people, websites, events and opportunities that are available to those looking to expand and enrich their teaching practices and philosophies. Information so quickly retrieved leaves the student more learning time, and the video demonstrated how easily the student navigated through her network tiles. She explained with ease how she used the application to keep her work in order and updated. She used the computer effectively to deepen her understanding of a subject and showcase her research. Peers shared their opinions and work with her, integrating what they had found and commenting on her work.
A PLN or PLE is a great way to gather and sort information to maximize usage. Its inception into the educational system marks the beginning of a shift in worldwide information exchange and sharing, and what better place than a classroom to perpetuate its utmost necessity?


  1. Well done. Don't get caught up in the method of organizing your PLN. It should contain lots of PEOPLE.

  2. Gretchen,
    You have such a well written blog post. I really enjoyed you saying about how a PLN is like "a 'quilt' of sorts, stitched together with the thread of discovery grows as each person adds to it." That is such a good way of putting it and helpful for those who are still wondering what a PLN really is and why it is important. Great job!