The beginning of my Personal Learning Network its Organization and Reflection

My personal learning network (PLN) is pretty extensive. I began my PLN as a life-long learner and through this class and others it has evolved. I never realized when I was in high school how much I would grow to love learning and education. When I was in college I never thought I would ever become a teacher either, yet here I am. I decided while in high school that my major would be environmental science because I knew the plans for development of the land that I loved so dearly. The plans went through now all the places I went horseback riding and hiking in New York are developments and there are more people than I care to deal with. That was the reason I left New York and now after many years I am in Alaska. I never veered from my chosen field of study though I did take a long path getting to my desired goal. I started college right out of high school, but ended up dropping out having children then finally going back to get an AA in environmental science from Manatee Community College, BS in limnology and MS in biology from the University of Central Florida. Now years later I am attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks pursuing my M.Ed. So a large part of my PLN is college courses. Throughout my college career (some say I am a professional student)I have also joined many ecological, ornithological, and limnological societies. I have attended many ecology conferences both as an attendee and presenter. I am an avid reader so have read countless journal papers and written a few.

More recently as a teacher my PLN also includes professional development and meetings like Alaska Society for Technology Education (ASTE).  It was through my professional development and ASTE where I was first introduced to DIIGO. My Twitter account was a social account not really educational so I was interested in using it as an educational tool. I have since turned my Twitter account into a big part of my PLN following many techy and educational users.  I have also started to use Linkedin a little more though I think I could use it much more. I did find an old college friend whose contact I lost which was great. She like me has a BS in limnology and MS in biology, but then like me became a teacher. She now works as an education specialist at the University of Kansas, but I digress.

I have not really utilized Google Reader and find it difficult to set up and figure out. I had to go through tutorials to set it up. The difficult part was trying to figure out where I can access the RSS. The reader appears on some pages but on other website pages it says there are no feeds detected. I am still trying to figure out how to detect feeds on all websites. I also want to link the RSS to my Facebook page and Google +. I recently joined a Google + group with DEN Educators of Alaska (Discovery Education Network). Of course the RSS is easy to find on Google +. This is one of my newest PLN.

I of course continue to take college courses in education and have used my classroom and students for research on inquiry-based science learning. I am a scientist and researcher first and though I don’t study birds anymore I still continue to research. It was my love of learning and nature and the desire to share that and the hope that I could inspire a student or two to become life-long learners that lead me from the field to the classroom. I found that as a classroom teacher things like chemistry, physiology and anatomy now come pretty easy to me because of the tricks that I have learned to help my students be able to understand those hard topics. I guess one of the best my PLN is teaching because nothing helps you learn better than teaching it to someone else.

My PLN began to grow over the summer as I was part of cohort 2 in the AK Teachers Network with SERRC. I realized when I was there that Ryan Stanley was a huge part of my PLN because I was following him on just about every social network I was part of then I added him to Diigo also. I met other teachers and added Tom our instructor to my PLN. Through our class this semester my Twitter account has grown and I have joined several teacher sites and started to add more webinars to my PLN. As a life-long learner having a PLN is great and I hope that it continues to grow. I know that I have not put everyone or all the associations I am now part of in my graphic, but I added who and what I could think of and will definitely use it to help me keep contacts and URLs in one place so I can continue to learn as I so love to do.
Personal Learning Network GraphicFollowing Educators on TwitterONID 431 Tags in Diigo


About jdoster17

I am a teacher in bush Alaska. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Limnology and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida (UCF). My Master’s Thesis was Analysis of Reproductive and Spatial Nesting Patterns of a Wading Bird Colony at Gatorland, Orange County, Florida. This research was an integrated approach including reproductive ecology, ornithology, landscape ecology, wetland ecology, and statistics. I also attended the University of Memphis and earned 12 credits towards a Ph.D. in Biology. I will graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May, 2012 with a Masters in Education. I received my three year teaching certificate for the state of Alaska in October 2005 and my five year Professional certificate for the school year 2008/2009. I am highly qualified in accordance with NCLB to teach biology, chemistry and art through college credits and degrees. I have completed and passed PRAXIS II for Earth Science and Physical Science. At present I am highly qualified to teach art, biology, chemistry, earth science, life science, and physical science.
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4 Responses to The beginning of my Personal Learning Network its Organization and Reflection

  1. Skip Via says:

    Interesting comments on the evolution of Twitter in your PLN landscape. I think that one of the reasons that Twitter doesn’t resonate with many of my students (or with my faculty, for that matter) is that they see it as essentially a social network made up of celebrities and trending news topics and, in that sense, redundant if you already use Facebook for those purposes. In my case, it’s Facebook that is the non-professional social tool, although I’d reluctantly include it in my PLN as there are a few colleagues I follow that use it exclusively for professional reasons. I never contribute anything to Facebook that has anything to do with my professional life unless it’s a response to a colleague. I’m still holding on to the notion that there is a difference between my social and my professional life, I wonder how long I can keep that up?

    I think you’ve captured the essential importance of a PLN, at least to my way of thinking–it’s a structure that moves with you over time and through space. It’s not confined to where you happen to be at the time or who you happen to be working with. Why post-secondary education does not actively involve students in this process is a mystery to me.

  2. I’ve come to accept the fact that I can’t always keep up with the members of my PLN and I’m ok with that. I feel comfortable that I know it is there when I do need it and don’t worry about keeping up. It also ebbs and flows depending on what I’m doing. It seems like those closest in my network also have a similar pattern as i’m not constantly bombard with RSS updates!

  3. It looks like you have built a strong PLN! Congrats on doing that– I don’t think it is that easy. You’re 100% right about students being part of a PLN, “I guess one of the best my PLN is teaching because nothing helps you learn better than teaching it to someone else.”

  4. Jen says:

    I can’t keep up either and have recently turned off some levels of notification because I was getting too overwhelmed and constantly distracted by my PLN. I’m trying to be on more of a schedule of checking in here and there and feeling that it’s ok to be slightly behind. I find Facebook an interesting intersection of personal information and while it is definitely part of my friendship and cultural PLN I also find tidbits of inspiration and information that carry over to my work life.

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