Exploring PLNs Week 1

To start off this MOOC called Exploring PLNs (personal learning networks), I chose to do a mind map, using the Simple Mind software on both my Android and laptop. My initial goal was to get a better, more detailed look at what my networks are. After completing the mindmap, though, I realized how much overlap there is. I also realized how some opportunities for networking aren't being met.

But, first here's the mind map, first as a whole and then in sections because as you'll see, my mindmap is quite large:

So, I see my existing PLNs as blogs, twitter, google plus, facebook, internet favorites, subscriptions, linkedin, and other. When I made this mindmap, I provided more detail on my facebook, twitter, and linkedin than anywhere else.

Starting from the top and going clockwise, you'll see my current blog following is quite small! So, perhaps lesson two is, add more blogs! I could make LinkedIn more useful for me if I actually utilized it! I receive notifications daily of my endorsements, and I've built a substantial network through my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections. I also found useful groups which update me about weekly with different discussion topics. Again, I need to make more use of LinkedIn.

I hadn't initially thought of subscriptions as networks, but I do learn through these subscriptions. As I've mentioned most recently in my blogs, open access peer review journals are amazing. So, I've subscribed to both PLOS and MDPI. While, I'm new to Google Plus, I have seen its advantages. Of course, I have to thank my blog connection - Learning Snippets for bringing me to the Google Plus connection of the MOOC, but before finding out about MOOCs, I found out about the communities, and I enjoy reading the posts.

I'm not sure if anyone else would classify internet favorites as networks, but it was after I realized that some of the people I'd most like to network with aren't active in networks. As an example, the associations I find closest to my intended field of work tend to provide more information on their website than on twitter. Likewise, Judy Willis's webpage "RADteach" gives me more information about her background and cummulative research than she provides on her twitter account.

 Yes, I typically use Facebook for games, but I've also found the groups function as very useful. I didn't include it, but I belong to two different genealogy groups on FB which help in my hobby of searching my lineage, and people post there all the time! I especially like when groups post events because they're easy to find on facebook. Unless I write down an event tweeted on twitter, I won't be able to find that date unless I remember who tweeted it or I scroll through thousands of tweets!

Speaking of twitter... Aside from the events issue, I find twitter to be my most valuable network, specifically for its list function. Everyone I follow is in at least one list, and most are in two. I follow almost 200 tweeters, divided initially into friends, acquaintances, and mentors.  From there, I have music/entertainment, neuro/education, and news. Because lists are a priority for me, I struggled to find a decent Android twitter app. Right now, I'm using Carbon, and it works really well. Finally, my others section are areas that I haven't quite decided as networks. I do use all of them currently except for reddit, but are they truly learning networks.
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Helen said...

Hello Deborah

Wow, that's quite a detailed map. Thanks for letting us know about this tool too as I haven't heard of it. I found it amusing to read that the associations you want to learn more from are not even communicating or promoting their information through social media and instead use their own website. It's the same for me. I'm finding the traditional associations such as Australian Institute of Training and Development a tad 'old world' for me for this very reason.

Good luck on your blogging journey. Thanks for sharing!

Helen Blunden

Jeff Merrell said...

I like how you broke this down by network platform (e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). Interesting what this add to your own PLN analysis.

I also really enjoyed your walk-through of issues and thoughts - subscriptions (yes - me too) and groups/people who do not necessarily have an online presence. In my view, we do need to think about PLNs in a hybrid sense - not just online.

Tanya Lau said...

Hi Deborah,

great reflections on your PLN! I've been doing similar and you've given me some good ideas for things I'd not considered, like webpages / favourites, which I would consider as part of a PLN - as they contain ideas written by people after all. Although a lot of my favourites ARE blogs, so perhaps that counts as a separate category...

Anyway, thanks for your post and ideas!

Kimberly Scott said...

Thank you for sharing your map! As I think about my own PLN, I'm wondering whether I should include professional groups and associations. If you adopt the definition of PLNs proposed by Digenti (cited in Clint LaLonde's blog) there needs to be some reciprocity involved. I guess it depends on the type of organization/association you connect with?