Although I have just started to create my PLN, I can already see the almost infinite potential that awaits untapped. The very idea of a PLN would more than likely have been considered outrageous only a few years ago by many who believe that technology is a scourge. However, I would state that PLNs create for free and digitally what the loftiest realms of academia have been practicing since the first colleges rose to prominence within civilization, and that is educational collaboration. These virtual Philosopher's Stones that are Twitter, Google, RSS feeds, and many others are being wielded by visionary educators that are leading us to a veritable golden age of education, and the best part is that anyone can join in the movement.
The video Welcome to my PLE! is a grand example of the feats that are not only possible but easy with the use of PLNs. This video also goes to show that PLNs allow young students to get input and feedback from experts in the field that they are researching. With leaps in connections and communication such as this it won't be very long until professional input via digital messaging or face-to-face meetings with programs such as Skype are available instantly. It's safe to say that the role of the student is growing quickly into an archetype that has yet to be fully realized.
In addition to the role of the student, the role of teacher has shifted from that of subject specialist to archonic gatekeeper to the realm of knowledge. This new responsibility is very well described in the video PLN by Michael Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett makes it a point to discuss the great magnitude of collaboration that takes place within a PLN and their ease of access. In doing so, he reveals his own introduction to them, and how his initial minute involvement blossomed into a full fledged PLN that allows him and his students access to a mother lode of knowledge.
Hopefully by the end of this class my fledgling PLN, which as of now only consists of a few twitter feeds, our class blogs and a brand new Symbaloo account, will have grown into a mighty phoenix of a PLN by which I shall make my way into the education amalgamation that is taking place before our very eyes. In closing, I will leave you with Andreas Zielenkiewicz's The Tower of Babel. It is a surreal painting that can be interpreted as what can happen without a PLN.