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What is a PLN?

"If I had to define what a ‘Personal Learning Network’ is, I would keep it simple and broad:

n. – the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online.

Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, have been around forever. Originally, they were your family and friends, maybe other educators you worked with, but as the internet and web 2.0 tools have become nearly ubiquitous, PLNs can include tons of different communities – social networking sites like //Facebook//, //blogs//, //Twitter//, //wikis//, //social bookmarking tools//, //LinkedIn//, and so many more. Basically, anyone that you interact with is apart of your PLN, whether they are social contacts, professional peers, or experts in their field. Most of the ‘learning’ takes place on-line now, because it is simple to find and connect with others with similar interests from around the world."
----Definition from

PLN allows you to take control of and manage your own learning. It is a place where you can access learning from a variety of resources. It is a collection of tools and systems to help you view, create, and document.

Why a PLN?​

As educators with many other responsiblities we are often pressed for time. Usually, opportunities for communicating with our peers occurs in the hallway, faculty lounge, or through emails. With a PLN, you can increase your access resources and share information right from you computer.

Here are some ways that educators are using their PLNs:
- Professional development – learn from content-area specialists
- Locate resources for your classroom, such as free websites and software
- Get lesson plan ideas from master teachers
- Learn about new technology and how to integrate it into your teaching
- Find collaborative solutions
- Find interesting links to education news

Build Your Own PLN

There so many tools available to use to create a professional PLN, but with our filtering system were are only going to concentrate on three at the moment - Thinkfinity, Google Reader, and iTunes.

As you get started, be patient. Creating a PLN occurs in stages and you may only have time once-a-week to check it, but as your PLNs value increases I guarantee that it will become an integral part of your professional learning.

So let's get started...


What is it? Thinkfinity is a search portal for a variety of resources from several national content partners.

Light Up Bounce - Math
Dynamic Paper - Math
NOT Your Grandma's Lemondade Stand Grades 3-8 - Economics
I'll Trade You a Bag of Chips, Two Cookies, and $60,000 for Your Tuna Fish Sandwich Grades 9-12 - Economics
Geometric Understanding through Tangram Puzzles - Math
Paper Pool Project Grades 6-8 - Math
Power Up - Science Netlinks
Barbie Legs- Science Netlinks
How Do We Know About Our Changing Climate
World Viewer - Xpeditions
Physical Characteristics of Places- The Fossil Record - Xpeditions
Character Trading Cards - ReadWriteThink
Construct-a-Word - ReadWriteThink
Anne Frank: One of Hundreds of Thousands - EDSITEment
Martin Luther King, Jr and the Power of Non-Violence- EDSITEment
French Connections- EDSITEment


Google Reader

What is it?
Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. It was released by Google on October 7, 2005

Video produced by Lee Lefever for the Common Craft Show from


What is it? The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple Inc. Music, podcasts, videos, and audiobooks can be subscribed to and downloaded. Most podcasts are free.

Created by Mark Wooley on