The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Web 2.0 & Connectivist Learning (get credit for your PLN engagement)

Last fall I wrote a post where I asked this question:
So, at the very least, here is the rub: Why is it that I can get 1 continuing ed credit for sitting in an hour-long presentation by an obviously biased corporately-employed presenter and not engage myself meaningfully in the topic at hand but for an hour of reading and meaningful career related reflection in my PLN I get nothing institutionally recognized?
How do you take all the great informal learning that happens online through personal learning networks (PLNs) and fit it into the institutional framework of schools, colleges, and universities? I think I finally have an answer. Drawing heavily upon the work of George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Alec Couros I will be offering an open course through Hamline University beginning May 28th titled, Web 2.0 & Connectivist Learning.


I just started a new position in March, funded by an ARRA grant, with the East Metro Integration School District in St. Paul, Minnesota. This position is closely linked to my adjunct position at Hamline University in St. Paul. A big part of the grant is to offer, for teachers in our district, two graduate courses on technology integration. One of these courses is this course. The grant stipulated that this course was to be a small course sustained over 4-6 four hour sessions spread throughout the school year and focus on web 2.0 technologies and personal learning. Hamline will be able to offer this course in two methods: East Metro Integration School District teachers will have the option to take this course as a co-sponsored course, anyone else interested in taking this course for graduate credit will be able to take it as either an online course or as an individualized study. We also hope to have in place a method for issuing continuing education units (CEUs) for those wishing to take the course but not pay for the credit.

If this goes well we hope for it to be an ongoing offering. We also hope to make this scalable, as open courseware, so other Universities can take what we are doing and replicate it in their own institutions. The ultimate goal is to have a network of schools of education hosting their own PLN courses with common meeting spaces online and provide a method of getting PLN engagement recognized as high quality professional development for teachers through accreditation.

There already exists within online communities of educators a wealth of high quality professional development opportunities that we intend on tapping into for this project. Steve Hargadon, through Classroom 2.0, offers a wide range of high quality presentation sessions in Elluminate each week, the Educator's PLN engages their members in reflective dialog through their Twitter conversations using the #edchat hashtag, and groups like the Edubloggers Alliance provide welcoming support for educators blogging about their profession just to name a few. These opportunities ought to be recognized by our institutes of learning as valuable, high-quality professional development.

So, this is my invitation to you. You may participate at any level you like. We will kick things off on May 28th. The "for-credit" registration does not need to be done or decided until our November session and everyone is welcome to participate at any level. If you are interested, please fill out this form so I can estimate how many online seats I will need (If we go over 50 I need to to switch live streaming methods).


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Shawn Mitchell replied to Katherine Maloney's discussion Leveraging the Potential of Personal Learning Networks for Teacher Professional Development - Doctoral Research Study
"In a time of exponential change, affordable and high-quality professional development for teachers is an urgent need that the Private Learning Network (PLN) promises to fulfill. The purpose of this qualitative case is to (a) examine, understand, and…"
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