I received 513 responses to my informal Professional Learning Network Tools survey I sent out last Tuesday. A very good and fast response. By no means a random sample and I am sure flawed in many statistical ways (as I note below), but to me interesting nonetheless.
You are welcome, of course, to view the raw data - here's a link to the spreadsheet. (To view charts, select "Show Summary of Responses" under the Form menu). But here are a few observations that are my main take-aways.
- Three most used tools: social bookmarking sites (used by 81%), webinars (used by 86%), and blogs (used by 89%).
- The three least-used tools: Google+ (not used by 63%), LinkedIn (not used by 60%), and Nings (not used by 68%).
- Three tools getting most increased use: blogs (70%), webinars (66%), and social bookmarking (61%). (Remember that other tools that are not being used at all won't show an increase in use. Look at raw number increases too.)
- Three tools declining most in use: state e-mail lists (31%), LM_Net (27%), and national e-mail lists (23%) (Remember that other tools that are not being used at all won't show a decline in use. Look at raw number increases too.)
I was taken to task for a number of things about this survey. The biggest objection that respondents had was that some tool use was static and I didn't give them that option. (Sorry, that was intentional.) A number of people commented that they would use more of these tools if they were not blocked at school. Some people thought I should have asked about just information sources, not tools that help one find those sources. Others wanted traditional sources of professsional networking and information included such as F2F conferences and professional journals. PLN mean different things to different folks...
My sense is that we don't always have a good definition for something like "social bookmarking tools." While I see delicious.com as the poster child for this, I also see Pinterest fitting this category, but others may not. I see RSS feed readers/ews aggregators not just as Feedly and Old Reader, but ScoopIt and Paper.li. (Quite honestly, I really don't KNOW all the tools being used out there and how to categorize them. See the list below of things I seemed to have missed.)
I had anticipated e-mail list serves were perhaps waning in popularity and the survey seems to bear this out - but there is still a huge base of users. I thought Twitter would be much more popular. The good job some of our library rock stars are doing with webinars shows up in this survey, I think.
Anyway, it's nice to know we are connected and those connections, while perhaps changing in some ways, are getting stronger overall.
I'd be interested in your perceptions of where PLN might be headed.
13. Please list any other online resources that play a vital part in your PLN.
Personal email or text conversations with trusted colleagues or interest groups
Google News groups
Protopage with RSS feeds
Listserv in my school system, university, region, or city
Product user group lists
Accumulating RSS feeds in Outlook email.
Evernote and Google Drive both for curating and organizing information.
Conferences do wonders for my PLN by identifying people to follow online
Professional Journals online
Skype and other video conferencing tools
Independent school listservs (AISL, ISS, GBCLA)
Discovery educator network
My Big Campus
Teachers Pay Teachers
INFOhio 21st Century Learning Commons and KBC (Knowledge Building Community)
Respondents by type: