Tuesday, 2/23/2010 (10:45-11:45am) Empire D
Teaching is a team sport! Wondering how to "get in" the network? This session will demonstrate tools and strategies for making connections that will support your efforts in the classroom. Expand your web 2.0 vocabulary and YOUR Personal Learning Network today!


Personal Learning Networks defined:
Personal - particular to a given individual 
Learning - the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom
Network - an interconnected system of things or people

Putting those together = The acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom,particular to an individualthrough an interconnected system of people.

Getting Started

Ask yourself - What do I want to learn? How do I want to learn it? What do I want to do with what I've learned?


(Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.
  • RSS is THE key tool in building a learning network.
  • The ability to have relevant, personal information come to you, rather than you seeking it out is efficient and effective.
  • Using RSS effectively may be the only thing you have to master to have a personal learning network.

Learning Tools

Personal Start Pages

iGoogle (example)
Google offers the ability to create a personalized iGoogle page that gives you at-a-glance access to key information from Google and across the web. On this self-designed page, you can choose and organize content such as:
  • Your latest Gmail messages
  • Headlines from Google News and other top news sources
  • Weather forecasts, stock quotes, and movie showtimes
  • Bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
  • Your own section with content you find from across the web

Netvibes (Wimbeldon example)
Netvibes is a free web service that brings together your favorite media sources and online services. Everything that matters to you — blogs, news, weather, videos, photos, social networks, email and much more — is automatically updated every time you visit your page.

Pageflakes (example)
Pageflakes, the social personalized homepage, is revolutionizing how we how we start with and use the Internet. At, you can easily customize the Internet and make it yours using ‘”Flakes” – small, movable versions of all of your web favorites that you can arrange on your personal homepage. You can also participate in the Pageflakes community, sharing your page as a “Pagecast” with a private group or with the world, and connecting with other users across the globe.


An aggregator can be likened to a web mailbox, but not for email. Your RSS feeds pull in magazine like content when you subscribe online and delivers it to the aggregator of your choice. Some aggregators are simply a list of those feeds, while others are more customizable. The two types of aggregators described here are readers and personalized start pages.

Google Reader (my example)
Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. Check out the Google Reader in Plain English video. A step by step video guide is also available!

Bloglines is a window to a whole new world of dynamic content that is being created and distributed over the new "live" web. You can make your own personalized news page tailored to your unique interests from our index of tens of millions of live internet content feeds, including articles, blogs, images and audio.

The purpose of Alltop is to help you answer the question, “What’s happening?” in “all the topics” that interest you. You may wonder how Alltop is different from a search engine. A search engine is good to answer a question like, “How many people live in China?” However, it has a much harder time answering the question, “What’s happening in China?” That’s the kind of question that we answer.

Alltop collects the headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs that cover a topic. They group these collections — “aggregations” — into individual web pages. Then they display the five most recent headlines of the information sources as well as their first paragraph. Topics run from adoption to zoologywith photography, food, science, religion, celebrities, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, Macintosh, and hundreds of other subjects along the way.

You can think of Alltop as the “online magazine rack” of the web. They've subscribed to thousands of sources to provide “aggregation without aggravation.” To be clear, Alltop pages are starting points—they are not destinations per se. Ultimately, our goal is to enhance your online reading by displaying stories from sources that you’re already visiting plus helping you discover sources that you didn’t know existed.

Online PD

Keeping it Going!

Once you've developed your readers or personalized start pages, you might be ready for more! It's time to connect with others to talk about what you're learning and put it in perspective. Your reader or personal start page most likely contains blogs, so you're familiar with those. Now, add in another layer to your network. Pick up a social tool and find a few people you know (and some you don't) and get going!

Social Tools & Networks

Microblogging & Communication

Share what you are doing in 140 characters...and much more! 
Plurk (example)
"Plurk is for everyone. We've taken the time, the complexity, and the deep introspection required out of blogging."
Make calls from your computer — free to other people on Skype and cheap to landlines and cell phones around the world.

Social Bookmarking & More

Diigo (example)
Diigo is two services in one -- it is a research and collaborative research tool on the one hand, and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site on the other.

Delicious (my example)
Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious greatly improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.

Social Networks

Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

Create your own social network with Ning. Ning offers the latest social networking features, all infinitely customizable to meet your unique needs. Click Education to learn about established networks related to edcutio

Classroom 2.0
The ning social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative or transformative technologies in education.

The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) is a global community of educators passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking. With over 25,000 members providing professional development to over 250,000 educators worldwide, the DEN connects teachers both on-line and in-person.

PA Educators
This professional learning network has been created to assist ALL PA Educators with finding important state information, and to offer an online area where teachers can connect, collaborate and share experiences and knowledge while teaching in PA. We hope that you find this network useful to you.

Middle School Ning

The Middle School Portal 2: Math and Science Pathways (MSP2) project supports middle grades educators with high-quality, standards-based resources and promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing among its users. Educators use MSP2 to increase content knowledge in science, mathematics, and appropriate pedagogy for youth ages 10 to 15. MSP2 employs social networking and digital tools to foster dynamic experiences that promote creation, modification, and sharing of resources, facilitate professional development, and support the integration of technology into practice.

MSP2 also includes the development of virtual learning experiences designed for middle school aged youth through which young people increase their ability to explore, discover ideas, problem solve, think critically, communicate, use technology in a productive and responsible manner, and become globally aware. These experiences will help them become aware of educational pathways that lead to careers in science, mathematics, and technology.

Next Steps

Your Role

Once you've moved past the aggregator step and into the socializing step, you'll find yourself lurking around. You'll read what others have to say and reap the benefits of resources they share. Slowly, but surely, you'll begin to reply/respond/share with resources of your own. You may feel anxious - as if what you have to say/share isn't important - that is just not true! Take a risk, say something, even if you only do it once in awhile. Climb the ladder and take your network to the next level! The more you put in, the more you get out.

The Ladder

Cycle of PLN


Don't feel bad if you have to take a break.It happens to everyone, even me!

Build your PLN

Google Reader allows users to create lists (blogrolls) from feeds they follow. Here are the blogs in my ed-tech folder in my Google Reader. If you're not ready to go it on your own, feel free to use mine. Google Reader also allows users to share posts they think other might find useful. Here is my shared page,which I can also embed other places, like on my blog.

Resource Links

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Subpages (1): Making Connections