Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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All about my PLN

Posted by lpearle on 4 May 2009

Don’t know what a PLN is? It’s the new, “in” thing: a Personal Learning Network. Ok, I’m kidding about it being new, but talking about it certainly is new. PLN’s have been on the blogging forefront – even AASL’s blog has posted about the importance (and anxiety) of having one.

To me, the well-rounded person has two: one personal, one professional. And of course there can be overlap (one might argue that there should be overlap). A PLN is more than a circle of friends, it’s those people to whom you look for guidance and inspiration. You may not even know these people personally, and they may not know that you even exist except perhaps as an IP address in their blog statistics. The questions I’ve been asking myself are: how many are too many? what am I really getting from my PLN? am I contributing to someone’s LN or am I merely lurking on the edges?

Looking back, I’d say my PLN started when I met Jack. He served as an intellectual role model, and it’s always been a great disappointment to me that I don’t think I’d measure up to his standards. Since then, there have been other role models, people from whom I’ve learned to think and present and conduct myself personally and professionally.

At each POW I’ve met people that have been role models for what to do, and what not to do (I’ll let you figure out which the boss who let my paycheck bounce was). Now, with this explosion of social networking, people I don’t know, or don’t know well, can be role models every bit as much as those that I do know. Distance doesn’t matter, either. One of my Quaker role models now lives in Hawaii – we can stay in touch via e- and snail-mail.

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