Thursday, April 16, 2015

Be Long


AprilBlogaDay Day 16.. PLC & PLN and why they matter.

Collage of three photos including an irrigation ditch, a bag with the EdCampWestTexas logo, and a man standing next to a space alien totem


Old news if you know me but worth saying again: The know-how and skills I learned during three months of EdCamp in 2013 got me home. Home, Mrs and me agree, is where I need to be.


From 2010 through early 2014 my job kept me far from home. I'm talking thousands of miles over that-a-way. Eager for new ideas to inform my instructional design craft I researched educational technology from my cubby in New Mexico. Up to that time, this was August 2013, I'd been active in my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter.

I participated on chats. I heard about stuff. Only it was mostly tried and true stuff. Don't get me wrong. The instructional strategies I heard about were practical, effective, and easy to put into practice with the learners I supported. But I could feel myself sliding slowly into a rut.

That was when I found my first PLC (Personal Learning Community). I'm talking about EdCampWestTexas.

Subtle: the difference between a PLC and a PLN I mean. It's subtle. As I get it a PLN is a gathering of like-minded people located some distance from each other. Social media apps like Facebook and Twitter enable them to come together virtually periodically. Occasionally individual PLN members might meet at an event. But for the most part their interests bring them together online for brief periods of time to share. A PLC is a group of people rooted in a place. It's easy for them to gather and share.

Because PLC members are mostly local to each other it's much easier for members to support collaborative learning, sharing, and making.

Most of the PLCs I consider myself a member of are a long distance away. Still, I am motivated to go the distance for the deeper learning I know I'll find with them. PLCs are communities of practice. I suppose one could argue distance is relative. If it's worth it you'll belong.


EdCampNavadota (Texas) is this Saturday. I had planned to go the distance and participate. As it happens my work requires me to be elsewhere. I'll still get to learn from members of my PLN that do attend. It's going to be amazing.


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