I have been working with personal learning networks for quite some time now, even though I have never officially identified them as such, until today. The mind map you see above is a map of that personal learning network. To the untrained eye, it may look a bit convoluted, with all the various lines and connections. I drew it this way to indicate the connections between various branches. Most of the branches are connected to others along those pathways.
Without this network, I would not be the educator I am today. This would meet Seimens’ (2006) social aspect of his connectivist theory. I use my connections on twitter to gain knowledge about new web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies and teaching ideas. I also use it as a research tool to gain ideas about topics that I am interested in. Additionally, I use my connections with my colleagues at Walden University to gather information, to discuss concepts, and to learn from them. Every aspect of that network adds to my knowledge and understanding of learning, of being a professional, of family, and of life.
When I have questions, I use this network to help find answers. I may begin with the informational aspect of this network. As I seek to know more about a topic or to see another side of that topic, I will seek information from the people in my network. This network is one of my most valuable assets as a professional. I am constantly seeking to enlarge it as I attend events like conferences and make connections with other professionals.