I was hoping to revisit my PLN from the beginning of the semester and find some great evolution or fulfillment, but I don’t think much has changed in the illustration I posted then. I have made some efforts toward a public PLN page on my website, but it is not ready to be published. I have also thought of two things that should have been added to the “Reflect” circle: diaper washing and music.
Diaper washing is something that happens about once a week in my house. We have a one-year-old, and we cloth diaper, so periodically we have to prewash the messier diapers. It is not a pleasant task, but I have come to enjoy it, because it is good reflecting time. Unless I listen to a podcast while I work, nothing is coming in that needs my focus, so there are no distractions from reflection. Unfortunately, there is similarly no opportunity for immediate output. (I used diaper washing time to listen to the podcast Midnight Oil, which I found very interesting and well-done. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn some Alaskan history.
I recently noticed the role of music in my PLN. I have always kept “studying” playlists on my computer. Certain Bach pieces will take me back to reading The Iliad and The Odyssey in high school. There was a set of film soundtracks that served that purpose for me in college, heavily dominated by The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since then such lists have been largely made up of instrumental folk music—Celtic and bluegrass—and jazz. This semester I bought an album called The Goat Rodeo Sessions by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. That brought me through much of the semester, but at the end, when I needed to be more productive, I found myself listening to John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. It was interesting to notice exactly which tracks from the Goat Rodeo and from Coltrane and Monk gave me the best advantage for focus and creativity. It did not occur to me before how important music is to my personal learning environment.
One goal for my PLN going forward is to publish a page on this website that shares many of the resources where I like to connect. One of my classmates shared how he uses Symbaloo for this in his original PLN post, and I am working on building my own “webmix” using that tool. I hope to have it live to share—and to facilitate my own learning—soon.