#DojochatEU – Developing a PLN

#DojochatEU is a Twitter hashtag for an event that happens every Wednesday from 8:30pm to 9:30pm. Yesterday evening was the first opportunity I had to join in and I am hoping to be able to take part as often as I can as part of my ClassDojo ambassadorship. I thought it might be a good idea to give my thoughts on the #DojochatEU each week that I take part in order to give my own thoughts to the questions, topics and conversations. This week was all about PLNs (Personal Learning Networks).

Social Media has allowed everyone learn in new ways and educators are no different. There are a myriad of PLNs aimed at teachers. From an Irish point of view, every Monday on Twitter, there’s #edchatie. On Facebook, Hibernia College students create their own PLN to discuss aspects of the course and Voices For Teachers discuss professional and union issues. The oldest PLN in Irish education is probably the Education Posts Forum, which is still going strong and has even diverged into discussing everything a teacher might need to discuss from rearing babies to recipes for hungry teachers!

Nigel Lane (image from his Twitter profile)

Nigel Lane (image from his Twitter profile)

Nigel Lane was #DojochatEU’s moderator for this chat and he asked 5 questions.

1. What is a PLN to you?

Nigel said that he had two definitions with the P standing for either personal or professional. I’m with Nigel when he says personal. Professional seems a bit too formal for the type of learning that goes on, not that the learning isn’t serious! For me a PLN is a group of like-minded people coming together to learn from each other, simple as that. It works best, I believe, when there’s a topic of conversation planned. It’s also good if it’s a regular thing.

2. How does one develop and grow their PLN?

This is a tricky one. I’ve tried starting different PLNs in different ways and some worked and others didn’t. For example, for a few years, I used Twitter to share lots of Maths ideas during Maths Week. These days, I use a shared blog to promote the sharing of digital art between schools. I think growing a PLN is a combination of persistence, talent, timing and luck. There are some fantastic success stories such as the rise and rise of Teachmeets and Twitter chats and those who are behind them, I believe possess all four aspects.

3. What tools do you use to develop your PLN?

Heatmap courtesy of NL_84 Twitter Feed

Heatmap courtesy of NL_84 Twitter Feed

This question was in the form of a poll with the following choices:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Attending TeachMeets
  • Google+
  • Blogging
  • Discussion Forums
  • Edmodo
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Other

Nigel used a tool called Poll Maker to get the results and showed a “heatmap” of where the results were coming from, (above). The results were fascinating to me. Unsurprisingly, Twitter and Teachmeets came first and second respectively. Blogging was third, which was encouraging but Pinterest came fourth and this surprised me. Pinterest seems to be very successful amongst lots of teachers. I have tried to use Pinterest for education but just can’t seem to keep at it. Tumblr was last in the poll, which didn’t surprise me. I must admit I love it but can’t see much traction in PLNs amongst the vast traffic of EMOs that appear to use it!

4. Is the rise of PLNs down to learning becoming more informal?

I don’t think so. In my opinion, I think the rise is more to do with access. Thanks to the Internet, we now can access learning anywhere in the world, wherever we are. We can attend Virtual Camps and Online Conferences. In fact, for this chat, I was sitting on my sofa at home.

5. Are PLNs the way we will all learn in the future? If so, should/do students of today use PLNs?

Again, I don’t completely agree that PLNs will be the way we will all learn in the future. I believe it will be one way in the general toolbox of ways we learn. I got into an interesting discussion about what would make a successful PLN for teachers and students. My main point is that I believe that for an PLN to work effectively, anonymity cannot be allowed. In fact, I would safely claim that anonymity is the enemy of PLNs. There are a number of PLNs that do use anonymity and in almost all cases, they are difficult to engage with. I used to be a moderator on a particular anonymous PLN and found that it was very difficult to go against the grain of the opinion of the “louder” members of the group. When a PLN has an agenda, isn’t open to respectful debate and uses anonymity to push a belief, it is a recipe for failure.

I really enjoyed my first #dojoChatEU and look forward to taking part in many more over the months ahead.

Comments (5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting

Related Posts

Empathy and ClassDojo

ClassDojo are currently running a fantastic series on empathy and it got me thinking about

ClassDojo Cartoons

I discovered something new on the ClassDojo website today - a whole bunch of

#dojoChatEU: Learning from mistakes in the classroom

Every week, I delve through ClassDojo's Twitter chat and answer the questions that were

#dojoChatEU: Fostering Positive Relationships

Every week I answer the questions posed in ClassDojo's weekly chat, #dojoChatEU. It happens every

#dojochatEU: Peer learning

Every week I take the questions from ClassDojo's weekly chat on Twitter, #dojochatEU. This

#dojochatEU: Has technology a place in education?

Every week I respond to the ClassDojo #dojochatEU Twitter conversation, which happens every Wednesday

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 10.57.22 AM
ClassDojo and Principals

ClassDojo have just released a way for principals and other school leaders to get

#DojoChatEU: New Year’s Resolutions

Every week, ClassDojo run a Twitter chat on a Wednesday evening. After a nice winter

ClassDojo Comes to Ireland

For all you ClassDojo users out there, the people behind ClassDojo are coming to

#dojoChatEU – Reimagine Learning

This week's #dojoChatEU was titled Reimagine Learning, the theme of BETT 2016. The chat organised

#DojoChatEU – Collaborative Learning

Every week, I write a post based on ClassDojo's regular Twitter chat on Wednesday

#dojoChatEU: Breaking down the classroom wall

Every week I look at the ClassDojo chat and answer the various questions on

#dojoChatEU – Global Issues and Topical Events

Every week I summarise the #classDojoEU conversation on Twitter with my own thoughts on the

#dojochatEU: Growth Mindset

Every week, I try to tune in to ClassDojo's weekly chat on Twitter. I

#ClassDojoEU: Resilience

This week was the first time in ages that I was able to take

#dojoChatEU: Future-Proofing our Learners

This week's ClassDojo chat was called Future Proofing our Learners. As usual, I'll be

ClassDojo Chat: Work/Life Balance

Every week, ClassDojo have a chat on Twitter under the hashtag #dojochateu. The chat

Twitter organising #EducationDay

I received an email today from someone called Shona who works for Twitter. The

ClassStory1200x (1)
5 Ways to use ClassDojo’s ClassStory

ClassDojo, everyone's favourite behaviour tracker, has released a new feature for the start of

ClassDojo releases ClassStory

As many teachers know, parents can log into their child's ClassDojo account and see

Groups Come to ClassDojo

ClassDojo are releasing a number of updates over the summer. For teachers in Ireland,

#DojoChatEU Transition Days

This week's DojoChatEU was called Transition Days and focused on moving from one class

Twitter Takeover

Just a very quick post to let you know that I will be taking part

#DojoChatEU – Technology in the Classroom

I managed to attend a second #DojoChatEU in a row last week, moderated by

A ClassDojo Shop

Lots of classrooms are using ClassDojo as a behaviour management tool and it's great

ClassDojo Ambassador

I have been aware of ClassDojo for a number of years and nominated the

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 12.49.10
Top Education Tweeters of 2013

Twitter has been an unquestionable success over the last few years and there are

Image from http://postdocexperience.scienceblog.com/files/2013/07/sciencebird.jpg
Hashtags for Science Week

Twitter and Science Week are going hand in hand this year with lots of

Five to Follow on Friday

This week, I'm showcasing some stalwarts of the educational Twitter scene. There are so

Five to Follow on Friday

Some interesting Twitter users to follow this week. These people have joined Twitter in

Five to Follow on Friday

There are a number of education-related agencies that use Twitter, so here are five

Five to Follow on Friday

We're back to school now so who should you be following on Twitter this

Five to Follow on Friday

Carrying on from last week's science-themed Five to Follow, this week I'm explorer scientists

Five to Follow on Friday

If you're interested in science in education, here are a few Irish organisations that

Five to Follow on Friday

This weekend in the National Scratch Conference in Tallaght IT. In celebration of the

Five to Follow on Friday

There are lots of primary schools using Twitter these days. However, considering their size,

Five to Follow on Friday

There's a number of educators that specialise in the world of gifted children. Here

Five to Follow on Friday

It's the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland where thousands of people with Celtic roots

Five to Follow on Friday

Here are five national schools that you can add to your follow list. All

Five to Follow on Twitter

It's coming up to St. Patrick's Day and what better way to showcase some

Five to Follow on Twitter

In celebration of International Women's Day, I thought I'd pick 5 of my favourite

Five to Follow on Twitter

In celebration of World Book Day this year, here are five children's authors that

Five to Follow on Friday

Last week, I listed 5 Twitter users from the CESI executive. Tonight is the

Five to Follow on Friday

As we near the highly-anticipated CESI Conference next week, this week's five to follow

Five to Follow on Friday

This week's five to follow are educators with successful blogs. Some of them have

Five to Follow on Friday

Tonight will see the biggest Teachmeet in the world, #TMBett13, the Teachmeet at BETT.

Five to Follow on Friday

As we near the annual BETT conference in London, (#BETT13), the biggest educational technology

Five to Follow on Friday

This week's five to follow on Twitter are primary school principals. At the time

Five to Follow on Friday

With so many Irish teachers tweeting, it's always going to be hard to pick

Five to Follow on Friday

Over the last year, Twitter has become immensely popular with Irish teachers. This is

Twitter in Education

Here are some great articles about Twitter in Education: Opinions on Twitterhttp://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2011/04/twitter-le-triple-filtre.html - Steve Wheeler's

#edchatie and @fboss are represented by Ireland
Edchatie ends the year

The final #edchatie of the 2011-12 school year took place this evening with a

30 Irish Primary Schools who Tweet

There are now a number of Irish primary schools using Twitter.  Over the last

Twitter and Children's Hopes for 2011

Over the last 6 months, I've been trying to use Twitter to support different

Science Week Ireland and Twitter 3

Science Week in primary and secondary schools in Ireland was showcased a lot on

Science Week Ireland and Twitter 2

In the previous article, I introduced a Twitter project about Science Week and in

Science Week Ireland and Twitter

This week is Science Week in Ireland and I decided to try out another

Our Twitter Experiment according to 6th Class

The following article was written by 2 sixth class pupils in St. Martin de

Twitter in Primary Education (3)

The first Twitter in Irish Primary Schools experiment was a success. With 120

Twitter and Primary Education (2)

The first week of the Twitter Experiment ended on Friday and a total of

Twitter Experiment 2 – Instructions

To everyone who joined us in our first Twitter Experiment, thank you for agreeing

Twitter and Primary Education (1)

Go to any search engine and type in "Twitter and education" and you'll get

Twitter Workshop Podcast

At the Tipperary Institute of Technology, as well as giving the keynote talk, I

From Tweet Valley
Some of the Twitterati I follow

As promised at a workshop I gave earlier today, here is a list of

My Twitterversary

I've been using Twitter for a while now and am about to tweet for