Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Personal learning networks: tools and applications in practice

In Joyce Seitzinger's Professional learning environment she uses a four quadrant work/office model to describe four discrete functions of a PLN. The first quadrant is called Staff Room and involves high personal profile and high levels of communication. It is based on the use of microblogging tools such as Twitter where one subscribes to a number of different accounts to share the users' ideas and converse with them. This type of connections works if one subscribes to an enough number of accounts or is followed by other subscribers. The level of profile and communication varies according the individual's interests. Some people might be interested only in getting information and sharing. This is my case. I read other's tweets and links and occasionally share them. I share also information but I don't converse. I find not having time, need and not being in an atmosphere of motivation of doing so. My first attempt of conversation was to ask people to support Open Popular University in any way they can but my appeal has been unanswered. This is a permanent appeal that can be read on the site of Open Popular University and can also be accessed if someone reads my twitter profile. I believe that my twitter profile has been read by many people and so far I haven't found any support.  But I think twitter conversation is something to work on. I find also it is not easy to initiate and maintain a high level of communication in social media. We live in a solitary world and people are more concerned about taking care of their own things instead of establishing and maintaining relationships with others. Social media allow to maintain and cultivate relationships in a long distance if in the real word people are interested in doing so but in a society where even the basic institutions such as the family are in crisis it is obvious that if people are not interested in being connected in the real word the same behavior will reproduce in the digital world,

The second quadrant of Joyce's model is called Filing cabinet and it's low in profile and level of communication. It provides users the opportunities to store their content and possibly share it with others. Tools such as Diigo, Delicious and Scoop.it are used for that purpose. Other tools such as wikis can also be used for that purpose. In terms of collaborative tools Google drive can also be included. Bookmarking tools allow to store, categorize, share content and converse with others. Diigo has some interesting features where one can annotate some web pages and write some notes. Besides tagging content can also be categorized in lists. One can also take a screenshot of a part or a whole web page. There is also a feature that I haven't used yet where one can annotate, add sticky notes to a web page and share it in social media. I use Wikiversity to share different educational resources and use it to collaborate with others on an open PhD. Talking about Diigo what I found not convenient is not to find one's content from tags. When I click on one tag I might not find all my content. However if I type the keywords in the search box I might find all of it.

The third quadrant of Joyce's model is called Newspaper. It is low in profile and level of engagement. This part of a PLN uses push technology (RSS feeds, Google Reader). Scoop.it magazines, Collected magazines, Isuu magazines, blogs, etc, can be included in this category. Blogs can add a level of engagement in this category provided that readers comment on posts.

The fourth quadrant of Joyce's model is called Portfolio and is high in profile and low in level of engagement. Blogs and other authoring tools are used in this category. Using blogs, wikis and Google docs can imply a high level of profile but the level of communication can be low if readers don't comment on posts.

Applications in Practice

Staff room

It is made of people we learn from. It can be people who are family members, friends, colleagues and people met at the internet. I listen to some educational talk show radios regularly. I follow a number of experts in some social media such as Twitter, Google+, etc. I also follow some curators in Scoop.it. I belong to some groups in Facebook and LinkedIn. I followed some experts in Scribd and Slideshare. I belong also to other educational communities where people get together to share educational resources. I subscribe to some Google groups and I receive information from people from a number of different sources.

Filing cabinet

 I use Diigo, Delicious, Blogger, Pearltrees, Scoop.it, Wikiversity and Collected etc to store, tag and categorize information. I subscribe also to some Diigo groups. I find Diigo very interesting and I stopped using Delicious. My level of profile is high in Scoop.it where I publish various magazines categorized in a number of subjects such as Open Education, Health, Science, etc. I published some educational magazines such as Open Educatiion , Alterzine, DIY learning, etc. I found some very interesting articles from topics I follow.


 I subscribe to a number of feeds in Google Reader. I list a numer of blogs I read in my blogs. I subscribe to a different news feeds in different subjects of interests. In this blog can be seen a number of different blogs I read as well as a number of news feeds in Open Education. I subscribe and made a number of lists from Twitter and Facebook in a number of different subjects. I made some Paper.li magazines where I access information in subjects of interests. As I mentioned above I access many articles from topics I follow in Scoop. I subscribe to a number of different subjects in Stumbleupon and I find it very interesting and rich. The problem is to find time to access this kind of information. The most important thing is that I have to my disposal a wealth of information that I can access when I need and feel to and I can also share with others.


I use blogs to publish educational content and my thoughts. I also use them as repository of content I learn. I use this blog to publish and store content for my Open PhD. Most of all it is a place where I can share my reflections on a number of different subjects and where my thoughts are shaped. I published 4 blogs: Open PhD, Alterzine, Alteredzine and Haiti Reconstuction. I use Google Docs to write courses I teach and other documents. I edit Open Popular University with a lot of educational resources. My profile is high in Facebook where I use status updates to share my opinions in a number of different articles I read and I find it very interesting. I subscribe to a number of people and sites in Facebook. Whenever I went to my newsfeeds I find some interesting articles that I can comment and share. What is discouraging is that there isn't a number of people with whom to engage with especially when one comments and publishes an interesting article. One interesting feature of Facebook is to "like" something that someone publishes and it is very difficult to find people doing so. I try myself to model this example by "liking" and commenting on interesting content that other people publish on Facebook. Most people don't use social media to educate themselves and use it mostly to publish photos and status updates. Even when they use it to publish and access content they don't know the kind of behavior to use to make their time on social media more usefuful

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