PLN: (P)erhaps a (L)ittle (N)ovelty? by Daniel Rezac

PLN: (P)erhaps a (L)ittle (N)ovelty? by Daniel Rezac

Cool MRI pic, huh? Thanksalles-schlumpf

This post is cross-posted on

You have to admit, there's a lot of acronyms in education. One of the biggest jokes in my training as a teacher was learning the plethora of abbreviations for initiatives and acts and organizations. We used to joke that we were going to SKOOL (or Some Knowledgeable Old Officiate of Learning) or that we were not that excited about LIFE (Lazy Inept Feeble Educators). Did you go to UCLA (or the University Closest to the Lakeland Area)? Think of all the acronyms that you've been acquainted with over the years. These are a few I know of just off the top of my head:












There's a great list of education acronyms at thislink. The fact that education needs all these acronyms is a testament to all the moving and shaking done in the name of education over the past 100 years. So we need acronyms, yes, but we needbetteracronyms and terms. The intuitive nature of technology education could be sabotaged by these unintuitive terms.

So PLN? P-L-N: Personal Learning Network ? This is the best we can do to describe this brilliant group of people?

This is an acronym that sounds like it belongs in a marketing seminar, not education. A marketing seminar for insurance salesman. In the year 1975.

Don't get me wrong, I love my "learning network", but I also love intuitive acronyms like SCUBA or TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). And this Personal Learning term is something that we all have toliveandlikeevery day because it's now a part of many educators' daily lives. Seeing that- shouldn't this acronym be one that we are in LOVE with (as in Lots Of Voracious Engagement). Shouldn't it be just as intuitive as the tools that we use, and the processes we transform using technology in education? I think it should.

When I reference my network of educators I call them my "brain trust" before I roll out the PLN term. This group of educators I engage with every day are a living, organic, knowledge base. They are real people with real experiences, and a wealth of knowledge. The letters PLN don't do them justice. They're too smart for that. However my BRAIN trust, my --






--sounds to me much better than PLN. These people are part of my BRAIN, they've become part of my RAM, and without them I wouldn't be in the position I am today. I'd be SOL.

Educational technology is supposed to be all about being on the cutting edge- with tools, with pedagogy, and with implementation. But apparently not with acronyms. I mean SCUBA is an intuitive and innovative acronym, and we all know what that means. We all know what ACORN is, and although you may not like the organization, they had a really good name.

Can we think of something better? Here's a few that I came up with. Choose your favorite or add your own in the comments.

  • Brilliant Resources At Instant Notice (BRAIN)
  • Personal Education Network (PEN). (seen this one used before)
  • Brain Trust Online (BTO). or Online Brain Trust (OBT)
  • Educational Knowledge Base (EKB) -blecch.
  • Educational Online War Chest (EOWC)

Are you satisfied with "PLN," or would you characterize your group in a more innovative and intuitive way? What would you choose?

After completing this post, my Google Social Search came up withthis postby Dean Shareski, so apparently I'm not alone in my disdain for this term.

SCUBA: See? Intuitive. ThanksWikimedia