Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection Tool

NETS-T 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning - Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

For this reflection, I chose the module involving digital-age work and learning.  I chose to examine a resource article entitled "Grow Your Personal Learning Network �New Technologies Can Keep You Connected and Help You Manage Information Overload." Within this resource are helpful hints on creating and maintaining what is known as a personal learning network (PLN). There are two key elements to this: an aggregator and the learner. The learner uses an aggregator (such as Google Reader) to bring information to the forefront and expand knowledge. These aggregators come in all shapes and forms and are almost always free to use. An example given by the article is the social bookmarking site known as Delicious. One may perform a search on Google for a specific subject and receive millions upon millions of results. Delicious can be a great tool to limit these results to websites of higher quality (since someone took the time to view and bookmark them).

The article uses a metaphor on how information on the internet used to be hunter-gatherer type but today has shifted into domestication. As soon as one finds a blog they are interested in, he/she can subscribe to the blog and forever be connected to a valuable resource without any additional hunting. The blog is only one example--people may build their learning network using mailing lists, Google Docs, Twitter, comment boards, and other social tools. It is easy to see how powerful a personal learning network may become. The uses for the network are endless; I can think of many examples of situations where I would turn to the network for valuable, unbiased information that comes directly from the source.

Finally, the article stresses the importance of examining the one weakness associated with personal learning networks. This weakness involves human tendency to "incline" with information that matches or agrees with our worldviews. According to the author, "...we must try to cultivate networks that challenge our thinking and frames of reference. That is how we all learn."

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