EdTech 543: 10 Resources on Communities of Practice, Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks


MODULE 2 Assignment:  Find at least 10 Resources on Communities of Practice, Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks

First, find at least ten resources that further your understanding of the concepts covered in this module: Communities of Practice, Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks (preferable not those found in the resources area of this module so you can add to the community resources).  Note that the focus of these articles should be on the theory not the “how-tos” (the how-to will come later). They do not have to be peer reviewed resources but should have an academic slant (e.g., use of resources, bibliography, etc.).

Post them in our class Diigo Group http://groups.diigo.com/group/edtech-at-boise-state-university.  For each resource, summarize the resource in your own words and include at least three tags.  For ease of viewing and use, please add each resource to the Diigo group individually.


1) Communities of Practice & Mathematics by Christine Muller.

Retrieved from http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:-tkmHSxGdhcJ:scholar.google.com/+communities+of+practice+and+mathematics&hl=en&as_sdt=0,13

You will need to use your BSU information to access this pdf article by Christine Muller.
This is a pretty dry article that attempts to make the connection between the need for community and mathematics. The author states, “Despite a common belief
that mathematical practitioners prefer isolation and self-study, we observe that they are highly collaborative and active in their community. Mathematical collaborations are essential for any stage of mathematical practice”. The author states the need to further analyze the need(s) for web-based community tools, such as discussion
spaces that facilitate international online collaboration on the Web.
This article is a starting point of a great discussion but needs much more elaboration.

Müller, C. Communities of Practice & Mathematics.
2)  Theory and Practice in Mathematics Teaching Development: Critical Inquiry as a Mode of Learning in Teaching by Barbara Jaworski
You will need to use your BSU information to access this article.  This article addresses the “challenge of developing theory in relation to the practices of mathematics teaching and its development”.  This a lengthy article but well worth the read for any level of mathematics teacher!  The author is trying to “show” how theory can really be put into practice.  The author highlights and well supports that: 1) students learn through exploration and 2) educators using inquiry as a tool to enable teachers to develop teaching.
3)  Motivating Students in Math by Mr Asmondy
This is a great post that makes the connection between social learning theories and cooperative learning.  The author asserts that using connectivism teachers can motivate their students.  I particularly liked how the focus was primarily on mathematics classrooms.
 4A)  Math Educators Learning Network: 

This is actually a site with multiple resources; it is, in itself, a Personal Learning Network!

4B)The CTO Challenge:  Building Your Personal Learning Network –

Retrieved from: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/guhlin/guhlin004.shtml#sthash.ULIiZ8CU.dpuf

The author, a chief technology officer (CTO), does an excellent job outlining how to develop your own PLN.  He challenges the reader to use Twitter, Diigo, Google+, and blog.  The is an excellent beginners resource!

5)  The Social Dimension of Asynchronous Learning Networks by Rupert Wegerif

Retrieved from: http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:WBHwbHY25CwJ:scholar.google.com/+understanding+personal+learning+networks&hl=en&as_sdt=0,13

You will need to use your BSU information to access this scholarly article.  The focus of the article is on ALNs but it is relevant and can easily be extrapolated to PLNs.  It looks closely at how collaborative learning can affect feelings of success or failure.

6) Communities of Practice

Retrieved from http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:0s8jyNoldooJ:scholar.google.com/+communities+of+practice&hl=en&as_sdt=0,13&as_vis=1

You will need to use your BSU information to access this scholarly article.  This article discusses how situated learning can evolve into Community of Practice.  The author asserts, ”

The basic argument made by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger is that communities of practice are
everywhere and that we are generally involved in a number of them – whether that is at work,
school, home, or in our civic and leisure interests.

Some CoPs are formally created while others are much more casual.  This article is a great summary of Wenger’s initial discussion of the topic.

7)  Connectivism

Retrieved from  http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:plNxpGJzMAgJ:scholar.google.com/+connectivism+theory+in+math&hl=en&as_sdt=0,13

You will need to use your BSU information to access this scholarly article.  This article explores the foundation to the concept of Connectivism.  Connectivism is basically how the various connections are created, formed and strengthened in education and in all types of learning.

8)  Connectivism by Stephen Downes

Retrieved from http://www.connectivism.ca/

This website page is the perfect summary of what Connectivism is and what it really represents.  Stephen Downes states, “Learning is the creation and removal of connections between the entities, or the adjustment of the strengths of those connections. ”  This is probably the best resource I have found for truly understanding what Connectivism really is.

9)  Communities of Practice by Etienne Wenger-Trayner

Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/theory/

This is an excellent source that fully explains what a Community of Practice is and how it can be applied. “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” I particularly liked the section about what CoPs actually look like. This is a must have resource for every EdTech student.

10)  Definition of Personal Learning Networks (PLN)

Retrieved from http://teaching.about.com/od/L-O/g/Personal-Learning-Network.htm

I chose a definition site as my final resource. I think it is important that we are able to clearly and succinctly define what we are exploring. According to this site, “A personal learning network, also referred to as a PLN, is a powerful professional development tool that allows teachers and administrators to connect with other teachers and administrators across the country. These connections are typically made through social media outlets including Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.”



connect 2

Five Additional Resources:

Second, find five additional resources on these topics from five different classmates via Diigo.  Comment on the value you found about them within the Diigo post and Tweet each of your classmate’s resource using the #EdTechSN hashtag. Note:  This same Diigo group is used for extra credit for 541.  As such, you will need to search for tags and classmates to find sources appropriate for this course.  This is part of media literacy/social networking in the 21st century.


1)  How Technology Helps You Build A Personal Learning Network
Read more at http://www.careerealism.com/how-social-media-build-personal-learning-network/#jSEMrRgoYjR0Dm1h.99
From Matt Smeller:  This short article emphasizes how social networks can build your Personal Learning Network. One great advantage is that your PLN can be accessed 24/7 The article suggests the use of Twitter, blogging, and other Social sites to connect with other education professionals to collaborate and learn.
Me: This is a great article! It very succinctly describes how social networks relate to PLNs. I think we, as educators, are always looking for a way to connect and improve our own learning.

2)  ‘Connectivism’: Creating Learning Communities 

Read more at:  http://10innovations.alumniportal.com/learning-by-sharing/connectivism-creating-learning-communities.html

From Todd Svac:  Great article about connectivism and creating learning communities. I enjoyed the the final quote…”We participate, therefore we are”. Great stuff.

Me:  This article does a good job relating the theory of connectivism and the actual development of learning communities. I particularly liked the statement, “The relationship between work experience, communal learning, and knowledge is at the heart of connectivism – as is expressed in ‘connectivity’”. It’s perfect summary of what the author is trying to say.

3)   What is a Community of Practice? 

Retrieved from:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63rQ3S8EHoA

From Andrew Macrae:  Wegner talking about CoP. Again, although it is a short summary overview, it makes several key points which help my understanding.
Firstly that the challenge which can arise in a CoP can become like a sort of curriculum which is wired on and developed. Learning, sharing happen and even new knowledge creation. As he talks about tools he makes it clear that such online tools are not in themselves CoP bbut the tools which enable them. Interesting and digestible.

Me:  I really like that you chose a video. This is a great summary of what a CoP is and what it needs to be successful! Defining a community of practice is not easy but using the correct tools appropriately can make all the difference!

 4) Helping Students Develop Personal Learning Networks

retrieved from http://etale.org/main/2013/11/22/helping-students-develop-personal-learning-networks/

Cheronne Edwards:  Interesting article on how PLNs relate to self-directed student learning. The author,Bernard Bull, provides some background on learning theory and self-directed learning to clarify how PLNs could be incorporated into any curriculum. The article includes a few how-to tips at then end.

Me:  I think PLNs are the cornerstone of self-directed student learning. As I read this article I kept thinking about how I could use this in a math classroom. The author states, “The idea of a PLN is simply a network of people and resources through which you learn and grow”. He goes on to summarize key learning principles and accurately states, “a student personal learning network, which is a mix of connectivism, self-directed learning and self-blended learning”. Great read Cheronne!

5) Teen explains the power of a student PLN 

Retrieved from:  http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2014/04/teen-explains-power-of-student-pln.html

Bryan Wiedeman:  This article is a guest post by a student who describes her PLN. It is an interesting self reflection about how this student realized she had a PLN without ever actively creating it. The article goes on to discuss how she developed her PLN and the major pieces that are in it.

Me:  I love that you included a student’s perspective on PLN. I particularly liked her perspective on Internet Safety. My favorite quote is one we should all remember, “Common sense is a valuable thing”.


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