Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: Educator Ann S. Michaelsen explains the power of student PLNs

Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: Educator Ann S. Michaelsen explains the power of student PLNs:

Educator Ann S. Michaelsen explains the power of student PLNs

While it is no longer unusual for teachers to embrace and understand the value of personal learning networks, few are supporting their students in doing the same. I went on a search for educators involved in this work as part of a chapter I am writing for a book on the topic of student liberation being released by Steve Hargadon later this year,  In the below Q&A you will get a look at the insights from one of these educators.  

As you read what this teacher is doing consider how you might integrate such practices into your work.  If you are already doing this, please share what you are doing in the comments. 
Administrator and teacher Sandvika vgs, high school Oslo Norway. Master in School leadership. Wrote Connected Learners with my students.
Why is it important to support children in the development of personal learning networks?

These days children experience a different way to learn and to socialize than we did growing up. Both learning and socializing are slowly melting into one arena and it is very important that we prepare the children for this. It is noticeable who is popular and who is not. Friends on Instagram and Facebook are very visible to everyone and it is difficult to hide from these places. It is the  schools responsibility to show students how important it is to connect and to teach them how to do can it.
How do you support children in the development of PLNs?
My students write blogs. I connect their blogs to my own blog (Teaching Using Web Tools at and I help them get comments on their blogs from other students around the world. These exchanges are very valuable in the student’s learning. I guide them and show them how they can learn from others.
What advice do you give to students to help them grow their networks?

I tell them to be polite and to respond to all the comments they get. I have been doing this for 5 years now. So far, we have never had any unpleasant encounters.

We discuss how we need to check sources when writing and be sure their articles are trustworthy.
What platforms do you recommend and how are each effective?
All my students have their own blogs and we use Twitter to get in contact with educators around the world and we use Skype to talk.
How has having a PLN helped your students?

When we wrote and published out book; Connected Leaners, a step-by-step guide to creating a global network ( the students could see how valuable my network was. They realized that this is important for them as well. They learn a lot when they read the comments on their blogs, and