Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Personal learning networks and me

Having been a technology user for a long time—my first email account was in 91 or 92, first “web” browser was not graphical lynx, did not have a ppp (point to point protocol) account. I just now have gotten the time to develop my personal learning network (PLN). I am amazed how well this has been working and helped me re-energize and rethink some concepts.
I have been using mailing lists and listservs for most of my Internet life, but these are fairly general, and not always what I need. Responses get lost or the conversation never starts or veers off in some direction. I also needed information that I did not need to search for, often I would not remember to go to the blogs of many of the known ed tech bloggers, or I did not know who I should be reading.
I am on twitter, which allows me to track several people-I am following 34 people and for some reason 36 are following me. Twitter allows you to post short entries as to what you are doing. If you follow the wrong people you get things that are not relevant, finding good people is fairly easy. Most of the posts I receive reference web sites or blog posts that are useful to my job and in my interest. Not everything is important, but what is in life? I follow twitter using twhirl, which allows it to run in the corner of my computer so I do not need to keep the webpage open all of the time.
After following these people on twitter, and reading their blogs after they announced a post, I decided to use Google Reader to keep track of blogs I was interested in. Reader gets the feeds from the blogs and tells me what is new.
I then realized I could put Google reader on my iGoogle page, along with my Gmail. So now I do not need to check individual blogs for new posts or even go to Google Reader to check for new posts, it is all on my homepage.
How many years has this taken? too many. Has it made my life better and more efficient, you bet.
One day I will write about all the resources I have found on my PLN, the latest being read the words, I never would have found it on my own.

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