A Year Later And Are We Using Different Tools To Connect To Our PLNs?

A Year Later And Are We Using Different Tools To Connect To Our PLNs?

One year ago I asked my network to complete a survey on Personal Learning Network.

The survey was used in a series of presentations and to build my PLN Yourself website.

Being a year later I’m wondering how much has changes?  Are we using different tools to connect?  Are the tools we would recommend to new people different?

Can you help in the following ways:

  1. Can you please complete my new Personal Learning Networks Survey?
    • There are only 2 questions
  2. Can you promote my Personal Learning Networks Survey to your network using a range of tools?
    • For example blog post, twitter, plurk, Facebook so responses aren’t biased by promotion by one tool or one individual

If you do promote this survey can you please link to this post by creating a pingback and/or leaving a comment?  So I have a record of all the different ways in which this latest survey has been promoted?

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

19 thoughts on “A Year Later And Are We Using Different Tools To Connect To Our PLNs?

  1. I have found over the last year I began with a huge PLN growing and growing. This then became very time consuming to maintain and I found it then became like ever decreasing circles with just a number of ‘core’ essentials I use on a daily basis and somethings I visit less frequently. Now I find that it is slowly expanding again at a more controllable rate.
    So far my PLN has ebbed and flowed!

  2. I think Ning, Diigo and Twitter continue to be top of my list for connectivity and support networks -they’ve definitely helped enrichen my PLN over the past 12 months.
    I’d say that some of the add-on tools such as http://tweepml.org/ which allows you to share lists of followers which you recommend e.g. http://tweepml.org/Passionate-Educators/ have added quick and easy ways for us educators to expand our PLNs or introduce educators to each other on a global scale.

    It was interesting this morning for me to wake up and via my Twittersphere see (@TeachAKidd ) Lee Kolbert’s voicethread http://test012321.ed.voicethread.com/#q.b645976.i0.k0 which she’s using to build a PLN with educators.
    Gives a super audio and visual flavour too. I’d never seen VT being used like that. Nice 😉
    Thanks Sue for an interesting post and for following up the survey,

  3. @Pam PLN’s can definitely become time consuming. The key is to work out what works best for you so that it as you say ‘controllable’.

    @Sue W Yes I think my PLN is very similar to last year. However there were a few design flaws in last year’s survey that I’m hoping have been corrected for this survey.

    @Sarah Almost exactly a year. Last year’s survey was designed on 1 October and introduced to the world on 2 October (typcial pedantic scientist).

    Time has flown and career-wise our situations have both changed considerably.

    @Darren Elliott As we change as do our needs which is why it’s common to restructure the connections in our PLNs.

    There are lots of people I know who twitter just doesn’t work for. Perhaps that is the best part of PLNs — the fact is it is about what works best for you. For some Twitter is their most important part of their PLN while others find Second Life their most important.

    @Valentina You’ve made me ponder the impact of size of our network vs what tools we favor. Ning posts and Diigo/Delicious shared bookmarks are both excellent information sources the sheer size of my network means that I suffer from extreme overload.

    TweetML is excellent for creating twitter lists for people and Voicethreads is a great tool.

  4. Yes, size and overload and things we need to learn to manage – many new skills needed on this front for all. I discover new ways on a daily basis. Perhaps before the year is out, our next blog post on PLNs will be “HELP! I’m trapped in my PLN!” like http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/03/its-time-to-hide-the-noise/
    I was hoping to write something on Managing the “noise”…
    Hootsuite’s helped me there with Twitter.
    Now worried about impact of Google Wave on this.
    Key seems to be narrowing it for the things you are interested in and making decisions which can be changed,

  5. Hi Sue
    I’m very new to PLNs, and web 2.0, but enjoying the journey so far, short as it has been. Twitter was the most important thing for me. I had been very skeptical of it, and then at a conference joined in the back channel, then started following a few crucial people, and voila – now I see how it can work for a teacher. And I’m not presumptuous enough to think I’ve gone anywhere near its potential yet. Starting and working on an educational blog has also been important to thinking about the whole PLN/PLE thing.
    Thanks for the chance to complete your survey (which I heard about via Twitter!)

  6. Personal Learning Networks are certainly just that, ‘personal’ choices of how to connect with others in your field. There’s two parts to the use of PLN’s in my opinion: one is the push technology that enables you to reach out to your network, and the pull technology that enables you to draw in from other networks.
    Push Examples:
    I now put Ning networks at the centre of my PLN and I certainly don’t just stop at one. You can visit Coach Carole Online if you’d like to see some of my most recent additions – love those Ning Apps. http://coachcarole2008.ning.com/

    I’m also now a really big fan of all things Google – and I like using Google sites as a way of avoiding the problems within some organisations where social networking sites like Ning and Wetpaint are blocked.

    My website is my WordPress blog and I’m constantly revisiting and changing it, and embedding the blogs into my other sites.

    Pull Examples:
    Facebook, Twitter and Diigo help notify me directly to my email about what’s happening in my wider networks; I’ve embedded Tweets within my Facebook page. Of course I also subscribe to the Blogs and Newsletters in our educational world to ensure that I don’t miss any important news.

    Thanks for this article, Sue, you have really made me think about my PLNs.

    Coach Carole

    And what would I do without my communication tools like Gtalk, Skype and Elluminate to let me connect briefly or for extended times with individuals and groups.

  7. Hi Sue,
    My PLN notified me of your post (I can’t keep up with my reader) and I’m so glad they did. I think I am very much using the same tools as I was a year ago but I’m using them smarter. I like the fact that my friends on Twitter alert me to blog posts they find interesting. It’s like a built in rating scale.

    I still use Plurk, but not as much as Twitter and I use VoiceThread when I want to bring people together. As @Valentina mentioned, I am planning for a presentation to Dean Shareski’s class on building a PLN. I wanted to create a starting point for them that is more personal. It thought a VT with images, voices and more than 140 characters would be helpful. I hope you’ll add yourself here too: http://test012321.ed.voicethread.com/share/645976/

    I’ll complete your survey and pass it on as well. Thanks!

  8. @Valentina That is an excellent blog post title — you definitely should write it as it could be both funny and informative.

    My 3 tips on managing the noise would be:
    1. Don’t jump immediately onto the rush to try every new latest shiney tool e.g. such as Google Wave. Let others do all the work, road test and when enough say is worthwhile then pay attention to the noise
    2. Use zero inbox (I’m not sure if I can explain how that helps but it does)
    3. Work out which voices in your network are the most important opinions to listen to so you know when they say it that you need to pay attention.

    @Damien I’ve dropped past your blog and left you a comment. But might was well leave it for homework here for others.

    All these terms are definitely designed to confuse us. Personal learning environments are quite different from Personal learning networks. Any one want to explain/debate the difference?

    @Carole I’m intrigued by your Push vs Pull examples. I’m still pondering it but isn’t all of them in a sense both push and pull — I suppose depending on how you use?

    @Lee yes there is a bit of skill keeping up with your reader and definitely all the RT of this post have made people notice it. While to some extent twitter is a bit like a rating scale I don’t necessarily agree it as efficient as a feed reader but then this will depend on how many people you are following and how efficient you are using both.

    The other aspect I would argue is that the size of your network impacts on the number of retweets. The larger my Twitter following gets the more RTs I get. There are reasons why probloggers build large FB and twitter networks.

    Thanks for completing my survey and yes Valentina mentioned your VoiceThread.

    @Darcy Thanks for telling your readers about it via a post. I really appreciate it as I would like to counteract the potential bias being created by the number of RTs.

    @JoNelle I’ve always found different tools take differencing times to appreciate their value. Blogging was a year for me, Flickr was similar while Twitter was perhaps 2 months? Nowadays if someone who I really respect sees value I make sure that I take the time to check it out.

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