Personal Learning Networks

Wordle of Communities of Practice Article
Wordle of Mark K. Smith article ‘Communities of Practice’, in the encyclopedia of informal education

If one of our goals as educators is to help our students engage effectively and meaningfully in global communities of practice, then we, as facilitators of learning experiences, must be able to do so as well. We began our semester together with a discussion about social networking and how a communities of practice framework would guide our work. In our final session together we’ll reflect on our experiences learning and teaching in communities of practice that extend beyond the time and space constraints of traditional course environments.

Based on your experiences thus far, how could and will sharing and collaborating in these online environments shape our and our students’ learning environments?

What will we all gain?

What do we stand to lose?

Where will you go from here?

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for enriching my communities of practice and for helping me to grow as a learner and educator. I hope we continue to learn with and from each other!

Personal Learning Networks

Alec Couros' Diagram of the Networked Teacher of Today

Photo Credit: Networked Teacher Diagram by Alec Couros

Over the course of our semester together we have explored what it means to be a part of communities of practice. In our final session together we’ll reflect on these learning networks and how they could and will shape our learning environments. For this week, we will all read Educause’s 7 Things You Should Know About Personal Learning Environments and watch the 13 minute video interview with Alan November on Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom. We will then divide up a selection of the rest of the session materials and post here your reflections on your selection, especially as it relates to our two common items for this week. Finally, during our Friday class our final set of presenters will share their class projects with us and we will have the opportunity to reflect on our experiences this semester.

I want to thank you all for the rich learning experience we shared this semester. You’ve enriched my community of practice!

Personal Learning Networks

Elephants at watering hole
Elephants by travfotos

Originally only open to university students, Facebook has quickly expanded (in North America, at least) to become the most ubiquitous online platform for people of all ages to stay connected with friends and family. More than just a social networking environment, people use Facebook to promote causes, create fan pages, play games and yes, even to learn with each other.

Later this week we will be joining Kevin Gaugler in Elluminate via LearnCentral to discuss the ways in which these online environments might expand our concept of when, where and with whom we learn. Be sure to view the two MAALLT keynotes prior to our Friday session as they will form the basis of our discussion.

Might social networking environments like Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Zotero, wikis and blogs provide learners and educators previously unimaginable possibilities to create on-demand, personalized learning networks that can enrich face-to-face exchanges and extend learning beyond the classroom and semester or academic year? If so, how? If not, why not? In what way do this week’s materials inform your perspective?