Metacognition.  That is a word I had to look up at the beginning of my first semester back at school; I don’t know if I forgot the definition or if I never knew it. How do I learn?  Years ago, during my first semester at school, I took a humanities course.  Now, one should understand, I am a huge history-buff.  But this particular humanities course… my stars.  It was an insult to boring courses everywhere, or so I thought at 19.  My recitation teacher told me that my disdain for this course was fueled by my passion as a “guns and bugles” history lover.  Now I realize, that in order for me to really learn something, I need to dig.  This digging or research, call it educational archeology, is often tedious.  That is why 19-year old me hated it.  I was lazy, unmotivated, and distracted.  I didn’t want to know why Copernicus wrote, “The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres.” I just wanted the teacher to tell me what he wanted me to know about Copernicus. I often still find this type of learning tedious, but I now have the motivation to make it happen – and then I learn from it.   As an aside, I would like to comment that I wish I could figure out how to inspire the motivation to do this kind of digging in high school.  This encouraging comment by Terry Heick (2017) reminded me that I am not the only who struggles with this question. “Design. Try. Monitor. Fail. Reflect. Rethink. Redesign. Reiterate” (para. 12).

In the iTeachU video about PLEs, Dan LaSota (2018) observes that “What makes PLEs effective is metacognitive practices, human communication, and purposeful daily routines.”  Rhizomatic learning is a way of looking at those metacognitive practices.  It is acknowledging that our learning styles are inseparable from our identities.  I have only begun to scratch the surface of an understanding for this topic, but I found little that I disagreed with during my research overall.  I did, however, have a problem with Dave Cormier’s (2011, Nov 5) comments about “nomad” learners vs “soldiers.”

In a recent blog post i tried to offer three visions for ‘what education is for’ to help provide a departure point for discussion. Workers take accepted knowledge and store it for future reference. They accept that things are true and act accordingly. The soldier acquires more knowledge and becomes responsible for deciding what things are going to be true. The nomads make decisions for themselves. They gather what they need for their own path. I think we should be hoping for nomads (Blog post).

I’m not convinced that being a soldier is bad thing.  That’s kind of funny, isn’t it?  Doesn’t that just circle right back to my story about why I didn’t like humanities?

In my own epic Odyssey of education, I have never really been a partaker a personal learning environment.  I have neither contributed to nor consumed from the professional educational community – I have been a nomad of a more solitary sort. However, that is all quickly changing with this ONID program. The graphic below demonstrates the beginning of my new course of interaction with my peers.

PLN Graphic

I did find a couple of interesting sites that I have collected for future reference.  I have not finished reading them, but thought I would share them nonetheless.  The first two relate to PLNs.  The others relate to learning and identity.

“Using Twitter to Build your PLN.”


“Moving beyond silos: professional learning networks in higher education.”

“Unpacking self and socio dialectics within learners’ interactive play”

“Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept”



Cormier, D. (2011, November 5). Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach? Retrieved September 24, 2018, from

Heick, T. (2017, July 23). Rhizomatic Learning Is A Metaphor For How We Learn. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from

LaSota, D. (2018, September 04). Personal Learning Environments. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from

Author: admin

This is the launch of my masters journey!!

4 thoughts on “PLNs”

  1. I appreciated your post, and most specifically the youtube attachment. This is the first time I have ever gotten involved in twitter, and seeing the professional edification I felt was reassuring that it may be worth checking it out.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate that. Yes, I too have been a little iffy about all the different sites… I have very little time to check my own social network, let alone browse for professional resources.

  2. Kat, the YouTube video you share gets at the issue of effective use very well. I also appreciate your quote from the PLE video about metacognitive practices. It’s been a little while since I watched that video from start to finish. Dan made some good points in that one.

    Thank you for sharing those additional resources and particularly the Heick article.

  3. “I have never really been a partaker a personal learning environment.” Ah, but you have. In your quest to keep digging, to stay motivated, you must have talked to colleagues, or shared a great teaching tip with someone else. When you grade papers, you see what students really understood and where gaps need to be filled. This is creating your personal learning environment and network. It doesn’t have to be all tech.

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