developing PLN using social mediaWhen we talk of social media, we can call it is as any technology that enables communication, collaboration, participation and sharing. Or any tool for augmenting human social and collaborative abilities, or any medium to support and facilitate social connection and information exchange.

The power of social media can be easily known by the number of tasks we can perform through it like collaborate, moderate, debate, comment, question, contribute, post, chat, video conference, microblog, instant message and text.

We all realize that great learning happens in groups and collaboration is the key. And social media allows people to connect with each other in spite of geographical distances, to complement face to face communication and enhance the learning process by increasing the access to learning resources.

Here are some great ways of using social media as your personal learning network to improve learning skills.

Ask and Answer Questions

Today, if someone has some question in mind, he is almost sure that someone else would have had that in mind too and it would be available on the web. This is why the PLNs like LinkedIn , Twitter, Quora, Yahoo Answers are such a strong network.

Collaborate

Today, if a group of people need to work on a common project, they can collaborate through Google Drive , Wordpress, Skype, PBTeachers, Google+, Diigo, and Delicious.

Get Feedback

Using platforms like Youtube , Scribd, SlideShare, Vimeo you can get direct feedback on your work.

Organization Tools

Tools like Netvibes , Feedly, iGoogle, and MyMSN can help you get organized.

Blogs and Websites

Blogs and Websites like TED , National Geographic, Read Write Web, The Next Web, and Tech Crunch are a great resource for learners.

Private Space

PLNs like Wikispaces , Edublogs, Tumblr, and Blogger are great to have a private space to reflect thoughts, ideas and practices in multiple forms.

Some other personal and collaborative ways to learn through these networks would be crowdsourcing ideas, and active/passive social search for research or assessment.

Using tools like twitter for research , scoop.it for curation, twitter for teacher collaboration, and TED for spreading ideas are not new to the world, and people just love the power of these tools. They are eager to know more, they want to expand the strength of these platforms and hence develop their own ways of using various platforms.

Social Media has great number of positive outcomes for 21st century learners and 21st century educators and people who do practice it, realize its power, and they are the ones who take the job of evangelism, i.e to get more and more people to use it and make it an even more effective network.

PLNs are an amazing way for educators to grab learning opportunities, access professional development resources, and to build connections with other education professionals.

To conclude, here are some great tips and tricks to create your own PLN online:

  • Don’t just follow and read, connect to people. Drop comments, reply to their questions, start your own discussions and conversations.
  • Share your work (lesson plans, presentations, documents with your learning network.
  • Regularly look for new people to add to your connections and form a network of learners and educators around you.
  • Be aware about twitter chats
  • Research about new blogs and resources.

We are sure you must have used some of the tools mentioned here, but to use them effectively a learner needs practice and that will come with time. What do you suggest for creating personal learning network online?

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