Technology for Building a Professional Learning Network (or tech4pln)

Today begins a six week course that will focus on exploring technologies for a professional learning network (PLN).  In this short time frame, together with my students we will blog about our learning and will create a wiki resource.  (See https://tech4pln.wikispaces.com/) While there is not much to see at the moment, I hope we will have a wonderful resource in six weeks.

I began my own journey in developing a PLN in 2010 when I started this blog.  I participated in the MOOC Personal Learning Environments and Networks 2010.  This was before “the year of the MOOCs“, so I feel it was quite different than the MOOCs of today.  It was scary putting my thoughts and writing out for the world to see.  I wondered if anyone would even want to read what I wrote.  I connected with several people from around the world and enjoyed seeing how their experiences were similar and sometimes very different than my own.  I have gone back and re-read some of my first posts and been reminded of some of the goals and inspiration I had.  In preparing for this course there is one idea that continually comes to the forefront.  The idea of documenting a learning path. 

Learning Paths

There is an article from 1966 entitled The Case Against Teaching. (There is a similarly title article from 2001, but we are going to stick with the one from 1966). In this article, West is discussing the need for change in the education of physicians.  This was a time when internships, practicums and working with patients as a student was rare.  West argues that in order to become doctors, students should watch doctors doing doctor stuff – not listening to lectures (he says it much more eloquently).  This got me thinking about teaching and learning.  

Image

We have all experienced school in some form or another, and thus have seen “teaching.”  However, since we all need to learn, have we seen “learning?”  So much of learning happens inside, with pondering, reflection and connecting to previous information that we can’t really “watch someone learn.”  But, but using something like a blog, we can document our learning – creating a learning path that perhaps someone else may follow and thus learn from our learning.

So armed with blogs, twitter, LinkedIn, Diigo and Wikispaces, we begin this journey of learning.  If you’d like to join us check out the link to the wikispaces and the Diigo group below, follow #tech4pln on Twitter and explore the list of student blogs.

References:

West, K. M. (1966). The case against teaching. Academic Medicine41(8), 766-71.

 

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