The 5 Cs to Developing Your Personal Learning Network

In the 21st century, teachers are no longer the sole imparters of information. Instead, their role shifts to empowering students to learn independently in part by developing personal learning networks in areas of passions, talents, and interests. Not only are these real-world connections valuable, they enable learning to move from the preparation for life to the living of life by providing individuals with access to learners, leaders and experts around the world bringing together communities, resources and information impossible to access solely from within school walls.

The five Cs below will empower educators to discover how they and their students can begin building personal learning networks specific to the learner’s needs extending relevant learning connections to like-interested people around the globe.

Pick 3 Blogs you find interesting and start reading them

Subscribe to the blogs you selected inGoogle Reader

  • Note: You will need to set up aGoogle Account. If you have a gmail account you have a Google account too. Caution: Limit your reader to five to start. Keeping up with more blogs will be difficult.

Join a professional network

Join a social network

  • JoinFacebookandGoogle+. Look around and check out what kind of conversations people are having.

Check out Twitter

  • Join the microblogging phenomena by reading Tweets atTwitter. Start by selecting 3 well-known Edubloggers to follow and watch all the great stuff they have to share. You'll learn a lot in minutes that fit into 140 character sound bytes. I'd recommend starting withInnovativeEdu / Lisa Nielsen,willrich45 / Will Richardson,stevehargadon / Steve Hargadon, andpenelopetrunk/ Penelope Trunk. You may also want to follow a hashtags about topics of interest by placing them in the search box on Twitter. Here are some that I like to follow. Find morehere.


  • Become a part of the conversation and start commenting on the blogs you read.


  • Join Twitter and reply to a Tweet and try using a hashtag.

Social Media

  • Join your favorite social media site and start the conversation on an interesting status update.


  • Contact the author of a blog you enjoy and ask to write a guest post.
  • Start your own blog!


  • Initiate a tweet using a hashtag and try to get a conversation started.
  • Start a chat about a topic of interest i.e. #mathchat, #edchat, #scichat

Social Media

  • Update your status and tag people you think would be interested.
  • Create a group or page on Facebook
  • Start a hangout in Google+


You are on your way to be a globally connected educator able to tap into amazing resources around the world 24/7. As you become more and more knowledgeable in harnessing the power of a learning network you will be able to empower your students to also become globally connected to others who share their passions, talents, and interests.

Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog and Transforming Education for the 21st Century learning network. Lisa is an outspoken and passionate advocate of innovative education. She is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare students for 21st century success. Her first book “Teaching Generation Text” is set for a fall 2011 release. You can follow her on Twitter @InnovativeEdu.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.