Posted by: crudbasher | July 14, 2010

Reflections on 6 Months with a PLN

I started actively building my PLN on January 16th of this year. That was when I started this blog and got on Twitter for the first time for real.  I have to say it has been an amazing experience so far.

What I feel

I have had lots of thoughts and questions about education for many years now.  Being a college teacher for 11 years gave me an interesting perspective on things.  I felt a bit alone however in my struggles.  As I have grown my PLN, I have met people online I can now call my friend and I know I am not alone anymore.  This is a comfort because anyone true to themselves knows they don’t know everything.  I can get by with a little help from my friends. (there should be a song about that 😉 )

What I have learned

Oh wow.  Using Twitter, RSS feeds to blog and sites, and Diigo to store it all, I have supercharged my learning process.  Such a vast flood of information!  There are not enough hours in the day to research the ever changing currents of thought on the net.  Fortunately, with the right people in my PLN, I don’t have to do all the work myself.  It’s like having a team of expert researchers working for me.  My thoughts on teaching and education have been evolving at a rapid pace.  I feel like I am on a journey, but I don’t know where I will end up, or how long it will take.  This is learning at it’s most personal. I love it!

What I am doing

I feel like one of the best decisions I have made in this journey is writing a blog. It’s probably not for everyone but it has helped me reflect on what I am learning.  I have also met some really great people who have commented on what I write. Most special among them is @ktenkely. She writes a couple of great blogs herself, most notably the iLearn Technology blog. Almost from the beginning she commented on just about everything I wrote.  This gave me motivation to keep going.  I have recently passed 200 posts in the last 6 months. I try to keep it interesting and I seem to have a group of readers now. 🙂  I still mostly write for me though.

I am also  trying to contribute my ideas on twitter. Occasionally I will jump into conversations and I have even dared to speak in the maelstrom known as #edchat! @ShellTerrell has been very kind to me in that regard.

There is no way to talk about all the interesting and enlightening experiences I have had, so all I can say is thank you PLN for being so giving of your time and experience. I hope I can return the same to you!


I have started this journey with the intent to better myself and make a difference in Education.  I’ll keep blogging and tweeting!  I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months will bring! I don’t know where I will end up, but I know it will be a rewarding trip!

If you want information on how to start your own PLN, this blog post is a great place to start!



  1. I love that line “a team of expert researchers working for me.” that is exactly how I feel about it. A PLN is a great thing to have, glad to have you as part of mine. It is a joy learning from you and thinking with you!

    • I feel the same way! I am always amazed at how I feel about people I have never met in person. I went through my masters program online and met some really good friends there too! Online is social.

  2. I can totally relate! I’ve learned so much just from my Twitter PLN and I’ve just started to blog as well. I like Diigo a lot too; I use Google Chrome and I can put a widget right on the top of the browser to save. Image what education would be like if more educators would regularly engage in sharing like we have experienced!

    • That’s awesome you have started to blog too! I think it’s a useful part of this whole learning process. Can you tweet me a link to your blog please? I’m @crudbasher on twitter. I have the Diigo toolbar for Firefox. Haven’t seen the Chrome one yet.

      Thanks for commenting!! 🙂

  3. You are also a great contributor to the PLN. however,as a member of the team of experts I think it’s about time we start talking about money. We need a raise. I will not push that issue if I can mention that anyone interested in furthering their PLN can always join the 4,600 collaborating educators of The Educators PLN.

    • You need a raise eh? Ok sure that seems fair. Um… All my PLN members are now getting a 20% raise! 🙂

      You are of course welcome to mention you Educators PLN site. It’s good stuff!

  4. Couldn’t agree more. My PLN has been marvelous in giving me wonderful ideas and sharing sites that improve my teaching.

    Plus these people have helped me spread the word about my new education web site,

    You are spot on with your reflection. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Hey Mark thanks very much for commenting. I have seen your new site and really like it! Keep it up!

  5. I agree that creating and writing on a blog can be a pivotal decision in terms of online learning with a PLN. I wonder if there are identifiable personality factors or other traits which make it more likely that someone will create a blog? One of the things I’ve noticed is lots of people seem very reticent to “put themselves out there” in terms of publishing on the open web. Was this a difficult decision for you, or did you hesitate as a result of that question / decision?

    • Hey Wes thanks so much for commenting!

      I think my decision to start blogging was most influenced by something Ken Robinson said that has stuck with me. He said “If you aren’t prepared to be wrong, then you’ll never come up with anything original”. I realized that I was being held back by beliefs I learned in school where being wrong was punished. I have a lot of questions about education I want answering so I am on a journey to do that. Along the way I want to share what I am learning with anyone who wants to listen. Sometimes I will be right, sometimes I will be wrong, but as long as I learn along the way, it will be worth it!

      It was that initial realization that I could be wrong and it was ok that let me start blogging.

  6. I love blogging, and I wish I could do it full time in one universe, and do my job, which I love, in another. haha. I agree, Twitter has been awesome. Is that where we met Andrew? I think so…

    PLNs are so important for educators, but most importantly, it’s important that educators share their collaboration sharing experiences with their students. We want our students to know that learning doesn’t stop when you receive that diploma, and that lifelong learning is essential in every environment.

    • Yeah I think we started chatting on Twitter maybe? I agree I wish I had a lot more time to do blogging! heh

      I really think that it should be required that each student when they get into school should be taught how to start a PLN. Imagine if a student had an ever changing PLN from a young age. How amazing would it be by the time they got into college? Very cool ideas Leah! Thanks for commenting!!

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