I don't often do these kind of "in response to" posts, but I'm taking this online course where we have to dig through our reader and share a post that is particularly meaningful to us. Looking through my own reader, I ran across The Job of Personal Learning from injenuity. Although I will have already blogged about it for my class, I felt compelled to cross-post here as well.
I only wish there had been time to read this before I did my presentation, Time for a PLaN, at GaETC. Had that been the case, I think I may have changed the approach I took just a bit. Why? Because in her post, she approaches the building of a PLN by looking at it as a job. I knew that building a PLN was work, knew that it takes time, and knew that you have to dedicate yourself to your tools of choice and to fostering the connections. Even knowing all of this, I didn't think of it as a job, probably because I eat this stuff up. I quickly realized the benefits of my network and I was hooked!
This part really rocked me, that rang true with me (the grace of 20/20 vision after the fact) was this,
"When I look at it as a job, I can see why introducing it to groups en masse doesn’t lead to successful adoption."
Yes, I enjoyed a rather self-depreciating laugh. After all, that's exactly what I attempted to do. But hey, so did David Warlick and Steve Dembo, too. At least I was in good company, right? Of course. My expectations were a smidgen too high though. Yes, I am a glass 1/2 full kind of girl, but I believe in the power of positive thought. Yes, I thought I might could possibly start a PLN wave. I think perhaps it was more like a pebble dropped into a large lake though.
Regardless, Jen's quote above is all too true. After reflecting on it, I realized that I have had much more success with colleagues becoming involved in aspects of building a PLN because I have been able to intimately demonstrate the power of my PLN and I have been able to, in effect, mentor them. Those who I have been able to do that with have stuck with it. Given that, I think perhaps exposing people to the concepts of PLNs is fine en masse, but if I would truly like others to embrace the possibilities a PLN can bring to their professional practice, then I need to think small.