Ryan Bertag has been reflecting on Second Life and professional development. I posted a comment there. I have since been mulling it over in light of some conversations I had with fellow members of a professional learning community from my district prior to the end of school.
We were trying to define and differentiate between a professional learning community (PLC) and a personal learning network (PLN). Ryan uses the term personal learning environment, I think like that term better. In essence we were describing who and what our teachers are. What are the influences on our learning and growth. We began a list, which I hope in the future to formalize in some way that is relevant to our teachers. I know this list already exists, any one sharing? I believe it is an extremely beneficial exercise for to examine you personal learning network once in a while. What surprised me was that many teachers in our group were unaware they had at PLN or were active learners. When I looked at mine I found some of the same people appeared in all categories. This told me I needed to expand my community, to diversify. In many ways Second Life helped me to do this. It is not essential to my learning but is one more place to draw from, one more way to help me expand my network. Second Life was engaging enough for me to keep in there meeting new people and attending more events.
In our discussions we found that a PLN can contain the following
Reading and Listening
Books (recent reads, current and future)
Blogs (The Bloggersâ€™s cafÃ© in SL lead me new blogs as did conversations in SL, this is how I found Ryanâ€™s Blog)
Periodicals (print or electronic)
Courses/Workshops and Trainings
Those you are teaching
Those you are taking
These can be F2F, or online
Should go to at least one a year
Real life or Virtual (such as the Best Practices conference in SL)
What sessions did you attend, who were the speakers, were there any significant conversations or learning moments outside of a session?
Conversations and Correspondence
Face to face such as at work, the people you regularly meet with at lunch, department meetings or your PLC
The people with whom you have regular email, skype, IM and Chat interactions (Second life falls into this category)