The final task set before us was the creation of a visual representation of our personal learning network or environment. Seems like a simple task but in fact proved to be relatively difficult…at least for me. This is probably because I have it in my head that when I create the illustration it has to be “done” and be the perfect representation of my learning environment. This is of course a silly notion when it comes to a PLN. The illustration can be done but your PLN or PLE should be evolving, growing, and alive.
I created two versions. The first was a preliminary look at the key elements that I wanted to include in the diagram but did not provide much detail. My first thought was to put together something that resembled puzzle pieces that would show the connectedness of all the different aspects of my PLN. It was a good thought but was too constraining. In the end I abandoned that for a more traditional concept map. It will be easier to add to later and provides the option to make additional connections. What is also great is when I edit the document the changes show up on the published version…it is always current.
I did start using CMAP but after it ceased to function on my computer twice I decided to go with something else. I have become quite a fan of Google Apps for Education so I went out to the Google Marketplace and added [for free] an application called Creately to the suite of tools available within our Google Apps Domain. The application is now available to all students and staff who have accounts on our service. I then created the document, made it public for viewing only and have provided the link below.
I think the process of illustrating your PLN/PLE has value. In the field of education we are now asking both students and teachers to be more reflective about what they do and illustrating your PLN is definitely reflective. The next step for each of us is determining what the illustration tells us.
What does my PLN tell you about me? [click the image for the published view]