Thursday, November 12, 2009

Giving Thanks - My PLN

As we approach Thanksgiving, I have to give thanks to my PLN (Personal Learning Network). I should write about the AASL conference, and what I learned and thought about, and I will soon, but today I have my PLN on my mind.
The following diagram illustrates my PLN from the center (the heart), which was also the beginning, out to the also very important periphery, which I check less often but still find very valuable. It represents the layers of my PLN, and although there are some public school librarians and public  librarians I follow avidly (Buffy Hamilton, Joyce Valenza, David Lee King), my coworkers,  local consortium, and other independent school librarians I engage with more frequently about daily issues.

I want to thank the Independent School Library Exchange, ALA's Independent School Section, the Association of Independent School Librarians, and the many librarians and educational technology people I follow, for educating me and engaging in conversation about our profession.

Today I attended a webinar with the educational technologist from my school. David Warlick was presenting at a Linworth webinar about PLNs (he posted his notes about the webinar and handouts), and how to help teachers and co-workers develop them.  Although I feel I have a strong PLN already (thanks!), Mr. Warlick today gave me powerful language to use while talking about the importance of a PLN. He spoke about the PLN as a garden and the need to cultivate it. He acknowledged that fast food (lectures and textbooks) is fine and has its place, but cultivating a garden, an ecosystem with interactions within it, takes time and work to grow better. David Warlick's metaphor spoke to me - I understand my PLN in a new way - I love that! I enjoy gardening, I admire people who find time to garden. I can connect that relationship between gardener and garden to me and the people I follow.
Along with a plan for helping our faculty develop PLNs, the Linworth webinar also gave us a common ground about which to discuss and teach. The educational technologist I work with is relatively new to our school, and I think this webinar has given us place from which to grow together as a team. This professional relationship will need to be cultivated as it is crucial that we, librarian and educational technologist, define our roles and work together well and in a coordinated fashion. Mr. Warlick emphasized the "lifestyle of learning." I experienced it. And I experience it with my Personal Learning Network. Thank You!

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