Everyone benefits from this idea of having the ability
and freedom to publish, share and learn whatever interests them. There are several ways already existing to publish online and many new ones are also coming up. But, here we’ll discuss about the most common and by far one of the most significant ways of publishing our own content and sharing it online, that is Blogs, which as a result play a direct and significant role in forming your Personal Learning Network (PLN ).
Blogs have now been more than a decade old and there are several of their kinds. A website can be a blog, even if it doesn’t look like one. Name any topic and you’ll find a blog online on it. There are blogs available on book reviews, technology updates, political news, photography and thousands of other topics imaginable. But, if we look at it from the traditional point of view, a blog is considered as an online journal or record and that’s the way we use it in the course of our PLN. Using blogs to create a PLN, is like leading a conversation by posting some content and having the replies or comments of other people on it in an instant. These people are generally participants and part of the wider PLN community.
In the process of creating a PLN, you should set up a blog. Blogs will serve you as a record of your learning to date; in it you can make regular entries to keep a track of them. It also keeps track of your progress and challenges. Post your reflections on the blog and share its link with others, so they can read what you’ve written. Your blogs are shared with other PLN participants, so they’ll be able to read your posts and comment, and hopefully you’ll read some of their posts and comment on their reflections. You can subscribe to those you find most interesting.
If you want to develop a PLN, you should definitely be an active blogger, so that you are constantly involved in developing your PLN and influence your professional learning opportunities. A PLN is actually an entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online. Blogs help create an online network through which most of your interactions with students, teachers and professionals can take place. While there are many still who scoff at the idea of forming personal with the community of people through blogs, there are plenty who are just doing that, and are growing and developing our skill sets at a rate far quicker than our former traditional means of professional development.
To grow your PLN, you should read blogs, use micro blogging sites such as Twitter daily and access other information via social collaboration sites. Blogs encourage and teach us to network with like minds in teacher networks, and how to mine the collective intelligence that lies there to help make us better at what we do. Through blogging you can share and benefit from the responses you extract from others. There are several ways in which blogs benefit PLNs, they’re listed below:
- Make your PLN effective by gathering ideas for new ways of working by drawing on the experiences of your peers. Search for trending topics which you can talk about in your blogs. Twitter in particular is a great way of finding out the latest information on any given subject and to gather knowledge and know about the experiences of a global audience by following hashtags on topics of interest.
- You can share your ideas and knowledge for engaging learners. Begin by blogging on common topics which you think can be of interest to a large number of people, so that you get more responses and your network expands.
- If you want to explore a subject in more depth or want to reflect on your own practice, in your PLN then blogs are worth it. You can use a range of information sources in your research, and a key advantage to blogs over more formal printed texts is that they contain information which is current and up to date.
- If you want your PLN to be active and responsive PLN, you need to keep the conversation through your blogs going: ask questions on other people’s blogs, comment on them and share the good practice howsoever you want.
- Signpost the most useful and authoritative sources of information in your PLN, to your peers by using making regular updates through your blogs.
Blogs have become everyone’s favorite way to learn from other professionals near and far. Read other's blogs, include them in your growing network of PLN and follow a wide range of them on topics from libraries to leadership to organization and more. They can be simply read even through an app on phone and in this way when you have a few minutes here and there, you can get some professional reading in through blogs.
Hence, blogs are one of the most significant online tools that can help you build your professional and personal learning networks. There’s no limit to the people we can connect with, be inspired by and stretch our professional wings with and blogging offers a great opportunity to do that. I feel that, blogs will be a must for anyone who wants to develop a PLN for himself, since it is the most open, creative and free way of sharing knowledge and expressing oneself. So embrace blogging in your daily lives and grow your learning networks personally as well as professionally.
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