Wether you are conscious of it or not we as teachers and as a life long learners have constructed our own robust personal learning spaces. This space uses each individual’s cognition to ‘govern what we know and can do’ (Loertscher, 2011, p.22).
However, this space is certainly not exclusive to teachers, all learners, child or adult, take control of their learning and consequently establish their own personal learning space or environment.
Take a moment now to reflect on your own personal learning space. What ‘tools, communities and services’ do you utilise to construct your own learning?
My personal learning space includes pinterest, other educator’s PLNs, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, work colleagues, professional development networks, university peers and contacts
A Professional Learning Network is an effective way for teachers to showcase their own Personal learning spaces. A PLN is like the culmination of all of the above tools, communities and services I mentioned in the one spot. PLNs allow teachers to network on a global platform, 24/7! Moreover, it gives teachers an opportunity to learn from others as well as share their own knowledge.
On the sidebar of this blog you will find a few links to other PLNs that I have found are incredibly informative.
Development of a personal learning network for both teachers and students has many benefits. Personal learning networks encourage individuals to be responsible for and direct their own learning, where individuals have ‘primary responsibility for planning, carrying out and evaluating their own learning experience’ (Smith, 1996, n.p.)
For students this means that learning comes from a place of intrinsic motivation, where authentic learning is able to flourish. And for teachers this means that students are motivated and enthusiastic to learn as they take responsibility into their own hands. Now just imagine if you had a classroom full of students who were eager and excited to get going with their day every time they walked into your classroom!
However, challenges do exists. And if they didn’t we probably all would have that dream classroom I just mentioned! Developing a personal learning space is not easy for every student. The challenge for teachers is to help students to foster the individual learning styles of each student in their classroom. Meanwhile, students must make a conscious commitment to their own learning and understand the benefits of ‘being their own boss’ and self directing and evaluating their own learning.
Loertscher, D. V. (2011). Personal learning environments and personal learning networks an introduction. Teacher Librarian, 39(2), 22.
Smith, K. (1996). Self Direction in Learning. Retrieved from: http://infed.org/mobi/self-direction-in-learning/