Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Networked Learner

Alec Couros, who is a professor at the University of Regina, joined our class Tuesday, via Elluminate.  He discussed the idea of a networked learner with us.  Early in the course we were introduced to what a Personal Learning Network (PLN) was, and how we could create an educational online community to learn from.  This network is created through the use of social networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, through individual blogging and subscribing to educational blogs, Google Docs, Flickr, and Skype, to name a few. 

The idea of a Networked Learner is when the concept of a PLN is applied with our students.  Students can create their own learning networks, using many of the same tools that we have been introduced to they then have the ability to become a networked learner.  Applying this in class would be very beneficial to students as they will discover that learning can be done in various locations and at any time, learn how to seek answers from their own personal learning community, and discover the wealth of information available to them. 

By having students create and develop their own PLN’s, and demonstrating to them how we use our own PLN’s, I think this will help instill the idea of lifelong learning in our students.  Having student’s create their own PLN’s puts them somewhat in control of their own learning, and they can discover how easily they can collaborate and help others, and learn from others.

The following video was one that we watched during the presentation.  In it a 7th grader explains to the audience how her learning network is set up, how she uses it, and how she benefits from it.

Within the idea of PLN's comes the theme of collaboration.  Alec discussed using your PLN as a method of collaborating with colleagues and experts from around the world.  The same applies with our students.  By having students create and manage their own PLN's we are providing them with the opportunity to collaborate with other students and teachers world-wide.  This in itself provides students with unique learning opportunities that may not otherwise be available to them.
Alec Couros has made many valuable resources publicly available through his “Open Thinking” blog ( and his “Open Thinking Wiki” (

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Alanna, for summarizing the ideas from this session. I appreciate you taking the time, and being reflective about this.

    I hope you do decide to continue blogging beyond this course, using Twitter, and other tools of connectivity. If you ever need a little help, you know where to find me.

    All the best to you.