Cool Sites PLNs

23 Resources about Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)

Part of the Cool Sites series

For the past year, I have researched the what, who, when, how, and why of Personal/Professional/Passionate Learning Networks (PLNs). We have seen the benefits of the people we choose to connect, collaborate, and problem solve with through social media. The educators, subject matter experts (SMEs), authors, and mentors we choose to derive knowledge from help us self-reflect on our methodologies and beliefs. They support us, remember our birthdays, celebrate our accomplishments, and stir within us a passion to improve the status quo. Many might argue we are an echo chamber, but I don’t really believe this. I know that within one year of connecting with a PLN I have jump started so many projects at my own institute. A few examples include- my five-year-old students have connected with others from other countries, we use technology with the English language learners regularly at my institute, and we Skype. We also have added many new courses and wikis along with these classes. We give workshops about technology to parents and educators. The students love the technology, are improving their English skills at faster rates, and are motivated by using technology. I am excited, because I know that I am preparing them adequately for their world of globalization and information and communication technologies (ICTs). By preparing them I know I am actively making a difference in the future. As an educator my goal is to send forth my students skilled and armed with knowledge to better, not burden the world.

A community raises a child! Yes, I do believe this, which is why I am passionate about PLNs. My PLN helps me be a better educator and prepare my students daily. They feed me experience, knowledge, and support 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. Therefore, I hope you take time to bookmark these various resources, share them with other educators through workshops and presentations, and spread the message of PLNs.

Research about PLNs

Below are several resources I have collected about the history of PLNs, how to build a PLN, and the tools needed to build a PLN. Please scroll down and take a look at these resources and see if they can be an addition to a future presentation.

We Connect Wiki- This wiki is full of videos, Wallwishers, Wikipedia articles, and more that help educators find the resources to build a PLN. You will find all the materials listed in this post there as well as at least 50 other links to video tutorials, step-by-step guides, lists of people to follow, and more to help any educator new or old to this concept build a PLN.

Wikipedia article about PLNs- This article explains the history and theory behind PLNs. Do you know where the term developed, the theory behind PLNs, who are the forerunners of the PLN movement?

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by George Siemens- Siemens is noted as one of the forerunners behind the PLN movement. In this article, Siemens discusses the theory behind PLNs. This is one of the most important articles behind the PLN movement.

Origins of the Term ‘Personal Learning Network’ by Stephen Downes- Downes is another forerunner of the PLN movement and connectivism. In this post, he delineates the origins of the term.

The Art & Technique of Personal Learning Networks by David Warlick- Warlick defines PLN in easily understood terms, explains how the process works, and provides several articles for more information.

PLN posts on Teacher Reboot Camp- Read several of my posts about PLNs and the type of learning they provide. You will also find posts like, PLNs, Where Do We Begin?, to help you relate the concept to educators who have never experienced this before.


Why Do We Connect? from Shelly Terrell on Vimeo.

How To Build Your PLN Using Twitter

Personal Learning Networks for Educators by Skip Via

The Network is the Learning by George Siemens

Personal Learning Networks – the what, why and how from darren elliott on Vimeo.

Sketchy Explanation: Starting a PLN


Presentation: Constructing a PLN by Richard M. Byrne

Twitter for your PLN Public by Al Rowell

Interactive Multimedia

VoiceThread- Why a PLN? by Steven Anderson

VoiceThread- What Does the Network Mean to You? by Alec Couros

Wallwisher- What My PLN Means to Me by John Evans

Wallwisher- Getting Started with a PLN by Don Lourcey


Use one of these resources to prepare your next PLN presentation.

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What are other PLN resources I should add to this post?


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  • Timothy Scholze
    November 18, 2012 - 21:50 | Permalink

    Shelly. These are AWESOME resources. I don’t think I have used the word awesome more in my entire life than I have since I have been developing my own PLN in the past month. I just have to make sure that I set aside time to watch all of the wonderful presentations. Thanks for all you do! Shelly Terrell Rocks!

    • Shelly Terrell
      November 18, 2012 - 23:23 | Permalink

      Thanks so much for you comments! Really made my day and it is always fantastic when someone can use the resources to meet other thought-provoking educators.

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  • yithril11
    January 28, 2014 - 22:04 | Permalink

    Thanks for making sense of all this, at least I know where to start now!

  • Cheska
    March 29, 2014 - 16:59 | Permalink

    I still thank the day I decided to create a Twitter account, made a personal learning network, and connected with you and other great people online! I am always learning something, sharing what I’m learning, and creating great relationships with people I know I can turn to for help in an instant.

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