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.
Example for "Mapping your PLN":