The concept of PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) is not a new concept. We all have a network of people we go to for help to reach our goals. What is new to many people is using Web 2.0 tools like Twitter, Diigo, Blogger and RSS feeds to create a PLN on a whole other level.
What I've learned so far is that there are some common themes around creating a PLN:
1. PLNs are a very individualistic animal and there is no one best "formula" about how to develop one for yourself. Everybody seems to be able to define and create according to one's own comfort level and personal need.
2. There are certain stages of understanding through which one seems to need to pass. Elisa Carlson shares her progression from bored to interested to empowered and beyond. "Getting twitter" is compared to the five stages of grief in another post. Jeff Utrecht has a great visual on this.
3. Everybody is so nice! While interacting in a highly public forum can be daunting at first, it is my experience that educators - by their very nature!- are nothing but supportive and welcoming in the online world of PLNS
4. More and more students are being asked by teachers to blog, to use the Internet for research, or even to tweet, out of a philosophy of "teach where they are". More and more teachers will be asked to use technology. Developing a PLN teaches skills that are transferable to the classroom.
5. Creating a PLN is trans formative. It is a perfect vehicle for reflective practice, provides access to experts, and a wealth of resources "pre-evaluated" by colleagues.
Please add to this list in the comments below!