So my abstract for the New Librarians’ Symposium (2011) is submitted. But first, a little background….
I noticed over the last few months my Personal Learning Network had started to gain momentum, both in growth and strength. After looking back at my blog reading and Twitter participation, I realised that I’ve become increasingly confident and comfortable with the online LIS community.
So how did I get started? I created my Twitter account in July 2010 and set up my Google Reader the following month (August 2010). On the advice of my lecturer, she shared a list of “must follow library types”. I honestly cannot thank my lecturer enough in getting me started. With this nudge in the right direction I then looked who other people followed, and I still use that strategy to connect with other “library tweeps”. Since that nervous start in July, I’ve sent out 194 tweets (94 of those in the last month!) and read over 1000 blog posts and articles via my Reader. Now I need to tell you, prior to last year, I wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospect of entering the online environment and attempting to use its seemingly scary technologies. Below are snippets from my very first blog posts I wrote as part of an assessment piece in my studies last year.
“At first glance my initial thoughts of this unit is that I’m going to struggle. I have been exposed to very little to the social networking technology of the day. I generally don’t need to in my current role, I haven’t seen a need for my personal use (until recently) and I don’t see it taking off (pardon the pun) in aviation any time soon.”
“Generally, I’m not comfortable with various tools that technology lends to social networking and information sharing. I really hadn’t the need for much of it in my day-to-day life. But perhaps there was always the fear of the unknown….”
I had always “kept an eye on” my progress of my emersion into the online LIS environment, but I believe now is a good time to zoom in on what’s fast becoming an evolving PLN and explore strategies for its maintenance. Reflecting on the beginnings of my PLN development triggered my proposed paper idea. Taking a closer examination of my PLN growth, “Flight Path” will begin to play an integral role over the next six months. Between now and July, I will post an update on my evolving PLN and participation every fortnight. I will begin each post with a few statistics, and finish with the Top 5 blogs/feeds catching my eye.
Another part of this project is my participation in CCK11 – Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011. This course runs from this week (17 January) to April, exploring “the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning”. The readings and activities will feed directly into my understanding of personal learning networks and contemporary learning models, using current technologies. If you’re interested, you can still register here.
I guess your next question is – why focus on personal learning networks when there’s already presentations, wikis and papers written about how to get started? Well, my initial review of the literature has revealed gaps in which my paper (or mere project) will fill. That is, one’s experiences in growing and maintaining a PLN. There are plenty of resources available which tell you what tools to use, but not how to use them to establish and maintain connections. Perhaps a beginning information professional like myself feels overwhelmed in starting a PLN and/or online presence. I hope that this little project of mine will, at the very least, provide an assuring insight for other new information professionals to activate the connections already available to them and to start using those for continued learning and professional development.
To finish, I’d like share what blogs/feeds I’m reading most at the moment.
- CIO Articles
- CIO – Blogs & Discussion – Best Practices
- Stephen’s LightHouse
- Social Media Examiner
….And a question – if you’ve started to follow me on Twitter (@acrystelle) in the last few months, why did you?