To me, Internet has been one of the greatest influence in my life, especially in my career as an instructional designer. When I was first introduced into the field (or even just the concept of) educational technology, I was amazed at the vast resources available on the net. In the workshop that I attended, I was re-introduced to Twitter, and using it to build my personal learning network. Within the first week connected, I learned so much resources that I was almost overwhelmed with the pouring information. It took a while to adjust to the life of Twitter as an educator, but quickly I found how easy and effective it is as a tool of sharing, collaboration, and most importantly, learning.
This is not to say that Internet is all good and well, since it is also a tool that can be extremely distracting. While educators are using social media as a clever tool to share information and learn from each other, it is still first and foremost a social interaction tool that focuses on fun and games. Too many times when trolling on Facebook that, instead of reading or testing tools out, I would be suck into (I admit) mindless social games that are simply a great time killer. In addition, sometimes the mass abundance of information passing through Twitter makes it difficult to organize to the information that is relevant or non-repetitive, especially since, when connected with people in the same field, same information would be passed along numerous times. Therefore, learning how to filter information and keep to a disciplined Twitter PLN life becomes a definite skill to master.
I think some of my students have yet to be either a) convinced or b) accepted social media as a learning tool. They were heavily influenced by the negative reputation that Twitter had when it was first introduced to the world. Those that were convinced have reported the same problem that I mentioned, simply the amount of time that it takes for them to sort through information to find something that is relevant or interesting to them, and the time that it takes to carefully read through the articles or test out the tools. Generally, when I introduce Twitter as an important PLN tool, I would also give them necessary tools to manage their Twitter lifestyle, so they can manage their time and energy more efficiently while able to learn from the peers. I would also introduce how to connect with people or organization of their interest, and how to search for information. Furthermore, I teach my students how to effectively use search engines such as Google to find answers to questions they may have, or find resources that are relevant and ready-to-use for their daily lessons.