PLNs (or personal learning networks) are defined in this blog as:
"the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online."
Originally used by people who were actually colleagues in person (ie: our Moodle) the Internet and rise in social media have forced the evolution of what PLNs are. Now you can discuss and share with colleagues from around the world.
There are many ways in which you can build or develop a PLN, but the easiest way to get involved or become a part of one is to try out established PLNs such as The Educator's PLN, Classroom 2.0 or Smartboard Revolution. You'll notice all of these sites were created using a web-tool called Ning. Ning is a place where you can create your own specialized PLN and features free accounts for educators.
Ning is one of many different ways you can be a part of or create your own PLN. Other places you can establish PLNs are Facebook, Blogs, Delicious, Diigo, Wikis and Twitter. If you have not signed up for these services yet, take some time to do so. They can make your life as an educator much more efficient and finding resources less time consuming.
Over the next few weeks I will profile each of these networking services and include tips to help you make use of them not only as a learning tool for you, but also as a learning tool for students in your classrooms.