We establish personal learning networks with individuals to promote learning in specific areas. The images above reflect some of my personal learning networks: higher education and art education, the broader art community and yoga/contemplative practice communities. I find great value at the intersections of these communities. For instance, representations of yoga in art are of great interest to me and it was enriching to research this topic for an honors tutorial I taught last fall (check out these stunning paintings from the little known tradition of Tantra painting). As a relatively new member of the Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, attending the ACMHE annual conference this past October provided opportunities to expand my network with others interested in both art and contemplative pedagogy.
I'm currently enrolled in a digital identity course which has me reflecting on opportunities to expand personal learning networks in the digital world. I'm an introvert by nature and a person who tends to value a small group of close ties rather than a larger group of loose ones. Like most people these days, I'm also busier than I'd like to be and want to reserve a good chunk of time for my family. This makes expanding networks a bit intimidating. Social media platforms like Twitter, however, offer unique opportunities for expanding personal learning networks in ways that seem manageable. As a teacher I'd like to better understand these platforms in order to confidently teach students to use them to grow their own personal learning networks.
These days I most enjoy, and best learn from, networks that move back and forth between the digital and the material worlds. It's great to chat online, but every now and again, let's gather in the studio--yoga or art--or meet for a cup of coffee.