As you explore Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) in greater depth, you will want to think about how you can use digital technologies to breathe new life into your professional growth and better support your teaching. A helpful approach is to map your own PLN.

This activity asks you to consider and then represent who belongs to your PLN.

To map your PLN, use a tool such as Google Draw, Coggle, or even PowerPoint (see more Visual Organizer Tools in the Extend Toolkit), to create a visual diagram of the people, organizations, collectives, and others who are in your network. If creating a visual diagram presents a barrier for you, you can describe your PLN by creating an audio, video, or written reflection. Whatever the format, be prepared to upload your work or provide a URL to its location in your response to this activity.

  • Identify a focus of your PLN. It could be your academic discipline or professional area, a topic on which you’ve already done some research or work, or a learning interest that you’re passionate about.
  • Place your topic somewhere on your map. (You might put it in the central node, but remember, you, actually, are the centre of your learning network!)
  • Identify a few people who already belong to your network as it relates to your interest or topic. These will be your nodes. They might be colleagues, influential educators, mentors, people you’ve met at conferences or events, organizations, and so on. Then think of a few more nodes that you may not yet know personally but who you would like to include in your network. Who are the noted scholars or experts in your area of interest that you might follow?
  • Map the nodes (names) that you’ve identified onto your diagram. (Using one of the mapping tools mentioned above will allow you to move nodes around easily without having to redraw the connections.) Your diagram should include at least 10 nodes by name (i.e., specific individuals and organizations).
  • Add details about how you interact with each of the nodes in your PLN. Review your map and rearrange the design as you see patterns emerge. For example, you might indicate any of the following in the design of your diagram (e.g., by grouping, or by using different colours, symbols, or text labels):
    • Their role (e.g., educator, science researcher, blogger).
    • Their role in your network (e.g., collaborator, mentor, provocateur, consultant).
    • The relative weight of the connection (e.g., strong tie, weak tie).
    • The reciprocity of the connection (e.g., one-way, dialogue).
    • The technologies you use to connect to your network.
    • The relationships between the different nodes (i.e., identify clusters of nodes who may interact).
    • Anything else that helps to illustrate your interactions—past, present, or future—with your network.

Export your diagram to an image format and upload it or enter a link in your response to the Mapping Your PLN activity.

As evidence of completion, please plan to enter the web address for your response in the Collaborator badge submission form.

This activity is part of the Map Your PLN section of the Collaborator Module.

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22 Responses for this Activity

  • Mapping my PLN – Kim W
    by Kim Wilmink (@KWilmink)

    I loved this activity!  I was able to organize and make sense of what feels like an overwhelming number of connections and websites that I follow.  Looking at my PLN through a single lens or theme helped to clarify the role each area played and the significance it has on my learning and networking journey.

  • Mapped PLN for Holly Ashbourne
    by Holly Ashbourne (@hashbourne)

    The themes of my PLN center around libraries, e-learning, and technology, including library technology, accessibility, OERs, and digtial pedagogy.

  • PLN Map for Visuals, Sounds, and Storytelling
    by Elan Paulson (@Elan Paulson)

    This was an unexpectedly helpful activity in two ways. First, I was able to re-purpose my first Google drawing quite easily, which was a nice time saver. I will be mentioning this tool in my workshops. Second, what I realized when I was doing the strong/weak tie analysis was that I had chosen almost all more… »

  • My PLN
    by Dorina Grossu (@dgrossu)

    My areas of professional interest are quite large, therefore, there are 4 distinct areas as follows: Conestoga College with the wonderful people who have been helping me to grow as a professional. ResearchGate is a good resource where I collaborate with many wonderful researchers. Within my organization, we partnered with PeopleCert and there are quite more… »

  • Tina’s Mapping My PLN Activity
    by Martina Kolodzey (@Tiniko)

    For my topic, I chose Teaching ESL online.  The two main nodes are LearnIT2Teach and Conestoga College.  The people I have listed in my nodes are people I admire and find have a wealth of information and I know they can help me find the information I need to know.  Some I follow on twitter, more… »

  • SFischer Mapping my PLN
    by Sarah Fischer (@sfischer)

    I chose to complete this activity using the Fruit and Vegetable Growing area of interest within my PLN. I identified different connection types based on colour (with the brighter teal being additional connections made as I completed the activity!). Larger fonts indicate a deeper connection, while the different font types indicate a collaborative, influential, or more… »

  • Vasudevan Padmanabhan – Mapping your PLN

    Mapping the Network was a rewarding experience. For the first time I looked at my connection with the focus on what they can do for delivering a specific subject. My Contacts were eager to participate and help me develop my teaching skills

  • Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN – Accompanying Document
    by Brian Nuttall (@bnuttall)

    Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN – Accompanying Document

  • Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN
    by Brian Nuttall (@bnuttall)

    Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN

  • Mapping my PLN – Take 3
    by Connie Palmer (@ConniePalmer)

    I had never realized that my professional contacts on LinkedIn (my PLN) fell into very distinct categories based on my career path and professional interests. My first map was a mess, my second map started to make some sense and my third draft clearly demonstrates that I follow/interact with people and organizations that follow under more… »

    2 Resources for this Activity

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