There are 8 tips on how to cultivate your Personal Learning Network (PLN).
- Explore: It’s not just about knowing how to find experts, co-learners, but about exploration as invitation to serendipitous encounter.
- Search – Use Diigo, delicious, listorious, to find pools of expertise in the fields that interest you.
- Follow candidates through RSS, Twitter. Ask yourself over days, weeks, whether each candidate merits continued attention
- Always keep tuning your network, dropping people who don’t gain sufficiently high interest; adding new candidates
- Feed the people you follow if you come across information that you suspect would interest them.
- Engage the people you follow. Be polite, mindful of making demands on their attention. Put work into dialogue if they welcome it. Thank them for sharing.
- Inquire of the people you follow, of the people who follow you. But be careful. Ask engaging questions – answers should be useful to others
- Respond to inquiries made to you. Contribute to both diffuse reciprocity and quid pro quo
Cultivating the Personal Learning Network is basically building it up and encouraging activity. We need to explore other peoples’ pages and organizations that are available to us. We could Google who to follow based on the subject we want to build our PLN around. Which is what I did. I simply googled top PE and Health blogs and Twitter sites to follow. Then I checked out their pages to makes sure they looked legit and had appropriate content.
After choosing a few different people and/or organizations to follow, we need to keep tabs on who posts what and if what they post is accurate information that we can benefit from. It is also a good idea to ask specific questions to those people/organizations and have meaningful conversations. If those who we are following never post anything of interest or anything that we find helpful and the website turns out to be a waste of time for us or simply bland, then all we have to do it unfollow it and search for another source to follow; one that we can hopefully benefit from.
Not only do we follow and get information from those who we follow, but it also kind to share our own information and knowledge with them; things that we think would be of interest to them and grab their attention like their sites grabbed ours. Speaking of kind, this is another huge part of this social networking process. We always need to make sure that we are polite, courteous and considerate of what we and others post. We need to make sure that we are not rude, and over opinionated. It’s ok to have different opinions on topics, which we probably will every now and then, but it is important to keep things mature and professional in our conversations and have appropriate discussions that are respectful of others views.
I think that the biggest challenge for me with my PLN is going to be finding or sharing information that is interesting to others. I don’t have a lot of experience, just a lot of questions… So trying to find or think of something interesting to share with people or organizations who already seem to have everything figured out, makes me nervous.
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