Starting Your Professional Learning Network


PLN-2 (Photo credit: cbucky)

Today I had the privilege of presenting at the Wyoming Library Associations 2013 conference on a topic that is dear to me, Professional Learning Networks. Some people refer to them as “personal learning networks” but the concepts are the same; creating a global network of individuals who share a common interest with you and from you can learn about that common interest. I have done this presentation at a couple of conferences but really enjoyed working with this enthusiastic group. As promised, here are the resources that I presented in my session:

Will Richardson on Personal Learning Networks: I shortened it for the presentation, but the whole video is about 4 minutes long. Like I mentioned in the presentation, he is dealing mostly with educators and discusses having students create their own personal learning networks; however, his definition of a personal learning network spans across fields.

The process of building a professional learning network into a global group of connections that leverages technology to connect really encompasses three stages: connecting, collaborating, and creating. I focused on the connection piece during this session and talked about connecting through content curation, bring the content you want to you when you want. Content curation was broken into three ways: RSS feeds, Social Bookmarking, and Curation Sites & Apps.

We talked about using an RSS reader (in particular Feedly).  I mentioned several other offline and online readers:

Offline: RSS Owl, NewNewsWire (Mac), and GreatNews (Windows).

Online: Feedly, Netvibes, The Old Reader, FeedReader, and Newsblur.

Most of the online readers have an app that can be downloaded to a mobile device or have an app that will accept the feeds so you can take your news with you anywhere.

Bloggers to Follow:

If you want to find more, try to look for a section on the blogs that you like that mentions blog feeds or blogs that the person reads. I have a spot above that mentions “Blogs that Feed My Mind”. Teacher librarians can find some good sources from my list.
Social Bookmarking: Delicious and Diigo

Don’t just use these to store your bookmarks. Check for the network or group section and start sharing your bookmarks with others. Create your own group if you can’t find one of your own and invite colleagues to start sharing.

Curation Sites and Apps:,, Storify, Zite (app), and Flipboard (app).

These are sites and apps that can scour sites on the internet and bring information to you. Once you are ready, you can start sharing the resources you find in these sources on social networking sites or other means to collaborate with others.

Please contact me using the form below if you have any questions or would like to connect. Enjoy!

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