21st Century Literacies

Teachers Changing the Way We Read, Write, Think, and Live


Home is Where the Internet Is...?

Passion is ignited by the world around us; however, nowadays our passions are strengthened by the affordances of technology. When we go home, turn on our computers, and fire up our search engines, we begin to open portals to endless worlds of information and potential interaction.

Social learning has shifted the traditional view of learning inevitably as it encourages the interaction between people worldwide in different online communities and spaces. The Internet serves as an invaluable, always open classroom to all with sufficient access. If we have a question, we simply have to “Google” it. We could learn in a matter of seconds what year something was built, what the definition of something is, and much more, all from the comfort of our own homes. In addition, the Internet provides more formal access to those who wish to take advantage of webinars, blogs, and social networking sites, where they can interact with other scholars.

Social learning extends learning past the classroom setting with a teacher and student, into a setting where anyone can spread their knowledge of a subject with someone who is interested. Will Richardson, author, blogger, and Web 2.0 user, expressed this best by stating, “That’s the biggest reason why these spaces are so compelling, because no matter what we love, no matter what we want to learn, there’s someone out there who wants to learn it with us.”

Building Your Home

Personalized Learning Networks (PLNs) are a major part of social learning. In setting up your own personal digital footprint, you sign up for multiple accounts on various websites. This is just the beginning steps in an unlimited world of interactions. After establishing your presence in the online community, you can also expand your network, and share and learn from and with others all over the world.

PLNs suggest personal preference in the name alone; however, there are many places you can simply get started. Signing up for different accounts and trying out sites will allow you to engage in different types of interactions, as well as see which you prefer. Below are a list of sites to help you get started on your journey to learning socially.

·      Ning

·      Diigo

·      Delicious

·      Google+

·      Twitter

·      Facebook

·      Wordpress

·      Blogger

·      Tumblr

·      Scribd

Views: 45

Tags: learning, social

Comment by Ryan Dalpiaz on May 2, 2013 at 12:51pm

Personal Learning Networks are a great tool for students to create and it’s exactly because of what Will Richardson said, and as you quoted, “…no matter what we want learn, there’s someone out there who wants to learn with us.” The earlier you can incorporate PLN’s into your classroom for your students, the better because the earlier they start the more they can expand their network. The more they expand their network, the more information and knowledge they gain. Also, great visual on “What is Social Learning?” especially with the section of 1-9-90, where only 1% of people give the community food for thought, with 9% adding to it and the other 90% just free loading. Great post Jennifer.

Comment by Cassandra White on May 6, 2013 at 12:44pm

You bring up a good point in that the internet is an open classroom where anyone can learn. With social learning at our finger tips, learning has become an active and fun way for students to get involved in their own learning. As you said, PLNs is a great way for students to be interactive and share their ideas. I think students are now introduced to these learning networks, they just need to learn how to properly use them as well as how to use them in a way that will benefit their learning and their digital footprint. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

Comment by Aaron T. Finnessey on May 7, 2013 at 8:08am

Absolutely! As the world speeds up, it shrinks. We can travel greater and longer distances in much shorter periods of time. Along those same lines, information travels faster than ever, which means we have instant access to unlimited amounts of support from colleagues in our field! The great part about your list is that it is just the beginning! Thank you for sharing!

Comment by Kimberly Hesler on May 7, 2013 at 10:48pm
Social learning has certainly begun to shape the dynamics of the classroom and the way students learn and collaborate. In order to keep up with this transformation and technology in general, we as future educators must continuously learn with hands-on experimentation. Your reference of how social learning has changed the interaction of people worldwide and extends learning past the classroom is a fantastic example of this. This opportunity to connect teachers, students, and classrooms around the world in order to create a powerful network of learners is an amazing thing. Richardson mentions in his blog titled, Social Learning, that "In this online community, meaning is never totally made or finished. It evolves and grows, nurtured by the community". By applying these Personalized Learning Networks (PLNs), and other technology in the classroom, we can impact the lives of many students on a whole new level. 
I really enjoyed your post, it was very informative!
Comment by Erica Guja on May 7, 2013 at 10:57pm


I really enjoyed your opening sentence "Passion is ignited by the world around us; however, nowadays our passions are strengthened by the affordances of technology. When we go home, turn on our computers, and fire up our search engines, we begin to open portals to endless worlds of information and potential interaction."  I think you really talked well about how teachers need to play particular attention to the students needs. I think teachers need to connect to other teachers, collaborate, collaborate with their students and also with different classrooms of the world. The more the merrier, right?


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