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Ideas and the PLNs that Make Them

As I cull through my notes and resources from ISTE, I came across a statement I wrote down from Steven Johnson's keynote, Where Good Ideas Come From (see Johnson's TED talk by the same title, stating that- historically speaking- good ideas don't arrive as these light bulb, Eureka! moments; but rather they are a network of various ideas fused together.

First of all this made me feel a little better to know that I probably won't have some revolutionary idea come from seemingly no where and change the world with it; but rather a string of ideas from random and various places could very well make up a game-changer in the grand scheme of things. Second, this made me realize the power and significance of PLNs.

In a recent Twitter Chat the question arose, "What's the difference between a PLN and a PLC?" For me, our campus holds PLC (Personal Learning Communities) meetings each week that are made up of core subjects and grade levels. While I value my PLC immensely and a great deal of information is shared, the majority of ideas are parallel and centered on specific content/objectives we are teaching each week. Whereas, my PLN is made up of people in various positions, in various states/countries, with various views and opinions. This makes the feedback and suggestions I receive multifarious and dynamic. It sometimes forces me to rethink things and other times think of things I would have never otherwise considered. My PLN is just that- a personal network. Although I am new to Twitter and have only recently began participating in Twitter chats and circles, I can already see that a PLN, along with Twitter Chats, are game-changers for education in general. They provide ideas and resources I wouldn't otherwise have available to me. I have been able to connect with people who are passionate about education and want to see change for the better. This robust network of people push me to think outside the box and challenge me to rethink the lessons I teach. It is my hope that I am a better educator because of them; more helpful and accessible to the students I teach and friends I work with.

And who knows, maybe one day years from now we will look back and trace the beginning of someone's big idea to a PLN Twitter Chat. After all, all Eureka! ideas are actually a network of ideas fused together... and isn't that the very thing Twitter chats and PLNs are made of? 

For more info:
  • Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: the Natural History of Innovation:
  • Education Twitter Chat- days and times (from Cybraryman):
  • 2013 Must-read Blogs (according to EdTech Magazine) Great resources with All-stars in innovative thinking & game changing education:


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