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POT Cert Week 22: POT Cert, PELeCON and Personal Learning Networks #potcert #pelc13

It’s neat that the title of this week’s POTCert class is Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), seeing as I’m off to PELeCON this week and looking forward to meeting up with people that I consider to be a significant part of my PLN. 🙂

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I’ve mentioned before on this blog how it was a combination of Steve Wheeler’s, or rather @timbickteeth‘s “trivial and terrific tweets” that alerted me to the potential of Twitter, but I’ve not mentioned before that I was “Jenny-No-Mates”, the only student on an on-campus taught masters course about technology who desperately needed some classmates to learn with. And that’s what a PLN gives you, class mates to learn with!!

Connecting with people online has enabled me to go on and build a really useful PLN. How otherwise would I have learnt of Lisa Lane’s open online course, Pedagogy First?

Coming back to which, one of the readings for this week’s class is an article by Gardner Campbell (2009), entitled A Personal Cyberstructure, where he calls for students to be instructed and supported in developing the infrastructure of the Web to develop a personal learning environment of their own. This resonated with me completely; in fact, I was thinking of calling this post something like “this be the verse”, that is, until I realised that I could get what I think is commonly referred to as a “twofer”, and use it as a precursory blog to PELeCON. Anyway, here’s what Gardner Campbell says,

in building that personal cyberstructure, students would not only acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives but also would engage in work that provides richly teachable moments ranging from multimodal writing to information science, knowledge management, bibliographic instruction and social networking. Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning, expression and reflection in a digital age, in a digital medium. Students would frame, curate, share and direct their own “engagement streams” throughout the learning environment.

It sounds like a pretty awesome digital learnscape to me, and which just so happens to be the strap-line for this year’s conference as well. What’s more though, Gardner Campbell goes on to say that educators should lead by example, “students must be effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives”. Here. Here. That’s why, in the last year, I’ve heeded the advice of Martin Weller regarding “The Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity” and I’m trying to go some way towards Alec Couros‘ vision of “Teaching and Learning in a Networked World”, both of which form part of this week’s reading as well. Incidentally, Alec Couros spoke at last year’s conference. At the time though, I didn’t really understand his message. I just recall that he was passionate about taking photos of his everyday life and sharing them online. I get it now, it’s about promoting openness and taking charge of your own digital identity… and, I’d also like to think, your own destiny as well.

Entitled, “Taking Advantage of New Opportunities”, the final chapter of the POT Cert course textbook, which is also signposted reading this week, starts

Because online education is a relatively new enterprise, you have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to this growing field. To take full advantage of this new opportunity, you would do well to keep yourself informed of the latest trends and issues and to continually improve your skills and knowledge.

Well, that’s what I’m endeavouring to do. You see, I live in a beautiful, yet ultimately peripheral location in rural Ireland, but I’d like to think that I could expand my horizons and take my passion and insight for digital literacies and social learning online, so if I may, I’d like to share a few slides with you (1 min), introducing myself and where I live. Originally, I intended to put this together as my digital introduction for #etmooc, but I never got round to finishing it on time, so hopefully it will serve nicely as my networking introduction to what looks like is going to be a great conference.

As always, I’ll keep you posted #pelc13 #POTCert


Campbell, Gardner (2009) A Personal Cyberstructure. Available at:

Weller, M. (2010) The Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity. Available at:

Ko, S. & Rossen, S, (2010) Teaching Online: A Practical Guide, Third Edition. Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

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  1. Hi Helen, your blog posts still come to my inbox. This is a great post. Because I still read all your stuff, I consider you linked somewhere on my PLN, even though we are no longer in the same course nor actively communicating. Yet you are still present in my consciousness of online teaching and learning.

    • That’s really nice of you to say. Thanks, Angela.
      Likewise, you’re ‘definitely in my ‘learning thoughts’. Actually, what I’m looking forward to is getting off my self-induced MOOC treadmill and taking time to catch up with some really fab individuals and to learn more about their work. I haven’t forgotten the impression that you made on me with your visual storytelling…look and learn 🙂

  2. What a wonderful and thorough post. I watched your introduction video, and I have traveled pretty close to where you live! I have posted the link to the video in my signature. I love and share your passion around PLN’s. I use mine every day and it really informs my teaching as well as my overall thinking. Great work!

  3. jennymackness jennymackness

    Hi Helen – I love your introduction video. It gives a real flavour of where you live. I also live in a rural area, but not quite so much off the beaten track as you.

  4. What a wonderful post, Helen! Gardner’s work has inspired my thinking, learning and teaching as well — you draw some wonderful connections here. I’m looking forward to seeing you here at PELeCON in Plymouth today. I have wonderful memories of last year’s conference, traveling with you and Sharon Flynn from Ireland, the amazing connections and ideas-fest that was the conference, and sharing our impressions, ideas and plans on the long journey back home 🙂 You’ve had an amazing year since then. As well as taking on the challenges you set for yourself, you have shared your learning generously, enabling others to learn from you. I am one of those, so thank you! Love your intro video, great to see your “place” 🙂

    • Undoubtedly, connecting with people online who have something to say and share is fabulous in itself, but if you’re fortunate enough to get to meet them in real life, well that’s even better because you get to share fabulous experiences such as PELeCON.

      Thank you, Catherine, and you know you’re welcome to see ‘my place’, anytime 🙂

  5. […] Week 22: No surprise, I really enjoyed the topic this week, personal learning networks. The suggested readings really pulled together a lot of things for me. I was particularly glad to have learned more about Alec Couros and his approach to networked practice. I enjoyed writing my blog post too because I was able to connect it to activities in my own personal learning network. […]

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