Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli present a great balance of theory, anecdotes and practical advice in this book that has received wide recognition as one of the best books in educational technology of 2011. The premise of the book is that networked learning is a key element in the future of education and teachers need to adopt Personal Learning Networks in their own learning in order to leverage these networks in their teaching and mentor their students in learning these skills.
The plethora of real-world examples coupled with an easy-to-read writing style make this an enjoyable read. If PLNs and networked learning are new to you, this would be an outstanding place to start your journey. You would not only be convinced of the need to explore digital learning networks, but you would come away with the basic tools and skills to begin your journey. If you already are embedded in this world, the suggestions for how to implement these technologies in a truly integrated manner in your school community will be of great benefit to you.
I was left, at times wanting more in terms of hard evidence for the effectiveness of PLNs in the formal educational realm. I am convinced that these ideas are key to creating a student-centred learning environment. I also know that students have to learn to take control of their own learning to succeed in the rapidly changing world they are inheriting. But it would be nice if there was more research connecting use of PLNs to deeper learning or higher achievement (however that is measured). I recognize that the concepts are too new to have had any meaningful research done and this is not a fault of the authors. I’m just hoping that we soon have that data to back up the statements made in this book.
I know that Richardson and Mancabelli have sparked a number of ideas for application of the ideas around networked learning in my own practice and that alone is worth well the price of the book. A recommended read for anyone interested in educational technology. An essential read for anyone not yet immersed in a Personal Learning Network.