Excellent article from Inside Higher Ed on the importance of virtual teams and collaboration. I think this is necessary both in college and at the K12 level.
"Online virtual collaboration involves at least four crucial skills. First, there is simply the skill of working well with others in a collaborative environment. Second, making efficient and effective use of technology to increase and disseminate knowledge. Third, working respectfully and productively across borders and cultural boundaries. Fourth, students who work in virtual teams will be pushed to develop new categories of thought and analysis, made possible through the direct interchange with peers."
Anne Mirtschin was using Netvibes to help set up a student PLN. Here are the steps she took and what she did. While I use iGoogle for my start portal and Google Reader for my power reading, if I have to publish a PLN of any kind or create a CMP (Classroom Monitoring Portal) it is always in Netvibes because of their publishing platform. See how a teacher used this tool.
A conversation I had with Andrew Cohen from Brainscape this past summer about global collaboration. For those of you who don't know about the history of the projects, you can listen to this chat to get some history.