Educators are often told of the importance of creating personal learning networks (PLNs) for themselves, collections of people and content resources they can go to when they need help with particular issues in their practice. They’re told to use Facebook, Twitter, delicious or other generic social networking tools to do this, but do most educators have the time or inclination? Shouldn’t there be “an app for that?” Particularly for the new or technology-challenged educators who may be most in need of a PLN and not really know where or how to find the building blocks to create one? Is there already a great app out there designed specifically for this that we should be giving attention and support to?
What if an educator could complete a simple self-assessment (developed with the wisdom of assessment-based services like PatientsLikeMe and eHarmony) and have an initial PLN generated for them? This could include a collection of people drawn from a mentor network created for the service, communities, and content resources gathered in a visually accessible and appealing format, based on their specific needs. The collection could regularly reach out (not just wait to be used) in the case of new teachers most likely to be overwhelmed, but at the same time be fully customizable, and evolve based on use. Given the high costs of current teacher attrition, shouldn’t there be a viable “business model” to get a pretty robust, ambitious vision of something like this created? We’d love to get your thoughts and comments on all of the above–maybe there are ways we can push this forward together..