KN Artefact: Introduction to developing an online PLN

My Knowledge Networking Artefact, part instructional video, and part exploration tool, informs teachers about the nature and importance of an online personal learning network (PLN)  and introduces the progressive development of a PLN through use of social media, web platforms and online tools.

Here is how it came about…

The first school week of the year was expectedly full. It brought the unexpected opportunity to contribute to the process of individual development planning (IDP), by way of a series of mini-workshops to fellow faculty members at school. I grasped the chance to share with colleagues my journey to become a more engaged connected educator through the development of my online personal learning network (PLN).

This opportunity also focused my search for a topic for my INF532 Knowledge Networking (KN) Artefact. Could I combine these two opportunities?

After much experimentation with different platforms and tools I settled on Prezi Next as a platform for the mini-workshop presentation: PLN@ICSZ. It served the purpose of the presentation well. Prezi Next delivers a high-resolution presentation that reveals the textual and multimedia elements in a fluid, predetermined sequential format that allows a conversational storytelling flow. A pre-designed template, showing a 3-dimensional globe with 7 main elements presented in an arc around the globe, was chosen to represent our networked and connected world. This visual configuration allows a simple overview of main points at a glance, and shows the progression from one point to the next, depicting the journey of developing a PLN. Each one of the main elements give access to layers of nested sub-topics, which introduce the detailed content. Embedded independent learning objects (videos and a self-created animation) provide variation to the text-based content of the artefact and introduce a multimodal approach.

To comply with the specifications for the KN Artefact, a narrated version of the presentation was created with Quicktime. This video was published on YouTube and is embedded in this post.

The capability to travers a Prezi Next artefact in a non-sequential function is exploited in the design of the artefact and allows for dynamic exploration of the content – facilitating a self-directed learning experience. This approach is in line with Weibell’s (2011) Principles of Learning which argues that learners should “determine own learning targets, practice models, contexts, and reasons for engagement”. It also allowed implementation of Merrill’s approach to instructional design, by providing an opportunity to practise skills after new knowledge had been introduced – thereby creating a blended learning environment.

The three goals set for the KN Artefact were met:

  1. To create a presentation on PLN development for teachers.
  2. To produce a narrated recording of the presentation to use as instructional video, or revision tool.
  3. To repurpose the presentation as an artefact that can be used as an exploratory tool, in a self-directed investigation of the development of an online PLN.

Even so, the artefact presents various opportunities for improvement: The quality of audio transitions between the different elements in the recording is uneven and distracting. The fact that Prezi does not allow hyperlinks to be directly embedded in textual elements, but requires clicking on the actual URLs (which really are too small), detracts from the aesthetics of the visual presentation. The link between IDP planning and PLN development made sense in context of the face-to-face workshop, but seems somewhat forced in the recorded KN Artefact.

Please watch the video and explore the presentation tool for a self-directed blended learning experience about the development of an online PLN. Then leave me a comment…

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References

Blended learning: Defining models and examining conditions to support implementation. (2014, September). Retrieved from Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC) website: http://8rri53pm0cs22jk3vvqna1ub-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Blended-Learning-PERC-Research-Brief-September-2014.pdf

Gretter, S. (2016, September 20). Becoming a connected educator: Building your personal learning network (PLN) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://insideteaching.grad.msu.edu/becoming-a-connected-educator-building-your-personal-learning-network-pln/

GWteaches. (2017, August 12). ICSZ personal learning networks [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/SBp8AbwTXr4

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. ETR&D, 50(3), 43-59. Retrieved from http://mdavidmerrill.com/Papers/firstprinciplesbymerrill.pdf

Prezi Inc. (n.d.). Prezi. Retrieved September 2, 2017, from https://prezi.com/

Weibell, C. J. (2011, June 11). Principles of learning: 7 principles to guide personalized, student-centered learning in the technology-enhanced, blended learning environment. Retrieved August 20, 2017, from https://principlesoflearning.wordpress.com/

What is a personal learning network? (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2017, from Teachthought website: http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/what-is-a-personal-learning-network/

Wocke, G. (n.d.). PLN @ ICSZ [Prezi]. Retrieved September 2, 2017, from https://prezi.com/view/4joAFeXJF6H9amqnebj3/

Yale University. (n.d.). Individual development planning. Retrieved September 2, 2017, from https://your.yale.edu/work-yale/career-development/career-development/individual-development-planning