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What does PLN stand for?


Depending on who you ask, you'll get one of two different answers:
  • Personal Learning Network - because it's made by you to fit your needs.
  • Professional Learning Network - because it helps you grow professionally.
Either one of these works in my opinion, but for some reason calling it a PPLN so it includes both just isn't catching on.

What does a PLN do?


PLNs allow you to share information. As you learn new things and grow intellectually you share this knowledge with others, and at the same time they share what they've learned with you. By selecting people for your PLN that have similar interests to your own you are more likely to find what they share to be worthwhile.

PLNs can also turn into what I refer to as a "Virtual Teacher's Lounge." While information relevant to teaching and education is shared, you'll also find people who are recieving comfort after a tragedy, congratulating someone for having their MICCA proposal accepted, or simply sharing a funny joke or interesting picture. It is as much a tool for stress relief as it is for professional growth.

What tools are used to make a PLN?


We'll go into that with more depth here, but the short version is any tool that allows you to communicate with others. Theoretically you could create a PLN using a mailing list, but nowadays you're better off using one or more of the many Web 2.0 technologies out there as the response time will be much faster.