The Purpose of Personal Learning Networks

Sheilaspeaking reflects on her PLN – how she blogs and uses twitter, responding and adding comments. She find inspiration from thoughts of others, finding interaction and participation in open dialogues. She wonders about the significance of echo chambers online and what that means for PLNs:

I recognize and relate to the frequent concerns about echo chambers and the possible lack of diverse voices in networks, or shortcomings in how we interact with networks.  But I think it is important that we are sharing perspectives and raising voices in new ways, as well as connecting with those in decision-making roles that was not possible in the past.  Whether this is good, bad or pointless, it does mean something, if not many things.  Is participation in online forums and with social media allowing us to be included in what we have always wanted to be included in?

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Learning in Networks

Brian Harrison reports from #DENSI2012 on a discussion about networked learning. He believes that learning networks can enhance and develop collaboration amongst educators and show how learning amongst students as well as educators are connected. He mentions a taxonomy provided by Judith Warren Little which includes

Sharing: There is an exchange of learning that flows in two directions (think of sharing units, links or resources) but there is no expectation that the parties will actually use what has been shared. We are great collectors of ideas and resources but tend to stick with what we know and prefer. Sharing is important because it fosters a norm that sharing is a good thing for teachers and builds positive interdependence; a precondition for true collaborative learning. It is worth noting that this phase, and the next one, are non-hierarhcical and based upon the principle of mutual benefit.

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