One of the things that I found interesting about topic 3 was personal learning networks – what they are, how we use them and how they can work in conjunction with a more formal learning community.
Now, in the digital era, if you connect with people via social media, you essentially have a personal learning network. I’d never really thought about it as learning, but I guess every time I engage with something that is shared with me (e.g. an article) via a Whatsapp group or facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, I’m learning in some way or another; expanding my knowledge. And often I’ll pass on that learning to others in my network, digitally or perhaps-face-to-face…”Someone posted this interesting article on facebook about XYZ…” And a discussion on XYZ ensues.
It’s really quite incredible if one thinks about the amount of information available and being passed around in networks using digital media. I guess the challenge is, are we actually always learning from it, or are we becoming saturated and sometimes feeling overwhelmed? I know I don’t get around to actually reading most of the stuff that I receive on the various platforms. I’ll read the tweets and status updates and short snippets. But ALL those articles? I sometimes wish there was someone saying, “Here, read this one and this one because they’re really good”. The “editor’s choice”, I guess. The ability to sift through reams of information and pick out the best is becoming a vital skill.
An article entitled, “Students Need Professional Learning Networks, Too”, argues that “Learning to create, manage and promote a professional learning network (PLN) will soon become, if it’s not already, one of the most necessary and sought after skills for a global citizen, and as such, must become a prominent feature of any school curriculum.” (Moss, 2016).
He discuss the three main skills that are learned by being part of a PLN: socialising -including enterprise skills and knowledge to create personal brand; managing – time in viewing, who to follow, how to deal with comments and so on (Moss, 2016).
And then the skill that speaks to my comment above sifting through information: curating. As Moss says, “To curate or not to curate – that is actually not the question. The question is how good are you at it. In a world where information is amassing exponentially on the internet, becoming skillful at filtering and selecting appropriate information will become imperative, and much sooner than we think.”
Moss, Paul. (2016). Students Need Professional Learning Networks, Too [Online]. Available at: https://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/learning-through-networks-is-the-future/ [Accessed 17 April 2019]