Monday, January 17, 2011

Personal Learning Networks

PLNs were recently introduced to our class and they seem like a wonderful way to re-invigorate and refresh stale lessons and banal and mundane class activities.  It makes me wonder if some of the instructors from the Education Faculty couldn't benefit from that exact same lecture.  It allows for a transfer of knowledge and ideas that doesn't require one to make the same mistakes that other teachers may have made previously.  Sifting through all the potential sources may require a lot of time, but using the tools that are available through Diigo and others makes this venture a little easier.  The support and knowledge reduces the amount of potential prep time required and therefore allows the teacher to instead focus on other important aspects such as assessment or even just recharing their own batteries before another day.

I think that stagnation frequently occurs with teachers because they can end of teaching the same course time after time and sometimes they become very entrentched into the mode of operation.  Being able to reach outside of this and communicate with others who have come up with unique and engaging activities and practices allows for the teacher to infuse more life and vigor into the class.  The age old practice of having students sit down and read a textbook just doesn't work as well as it used to (if it ever really worked at all) because the attention span of students is dwindling by the second.  It just got worse, worse again, get the picture.  This is not necessarily their fault as they have been brought up in a realm where they are bombarded by picture and sound so their senses are constantly under assault.  Entertainment has come very easily to them without them having to use their imagination or creativity, or without them having to read a black and white text.  So varying work will not only help in keeping their attention, but will also have the added benefit of hitting upon different intelligences.  DI anyone?  The first time I've been able to use that lingo.  In all honesty the jargon of Ed. can be quite grating, personal opinion I should strive to keep this neutral.  Hopefully PLNs will prove to be a fantastic resource in order to keep things interesting and also in finding new ideas that one might not have thought of themself.  The future has yet to be foretold my young pre-service teaching comrades.  We'll see if this internet fad has legs.


  1. Ahhhh, I knew your post wouldn't disappoint me. A few bold statements, one in particular I could applaud... Key word, "could"... I'm above that sort of thing ;)

    Yes, well done throwing differentiated instruction in there. Absolutely if teachers made use of just a SHRED of the things available on the internet, wouldn't it be interesting to see the interest grow in students? I find it a tad bit disheartening though, because we are getting equiped with all this fantastic knowledge, but the majority of the time our resources (the computers themselves) are, well, rubbish. If you can get access at all to a computer lab, how many of the computers will work on a given day, better yet, how many computers are available? I can't help but think sometimes we are trying to run before we can walk...

    Absolutely true though, the old ways of teaching are gone. I like to think this is a good thing.

  2. Oh please say you are going to make the change happen! It is time to shift paradigms - many have,more need to.