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Using Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) to encourage peer learning and learner

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  • The laptop computer was by far the most common way for students to access the internet with 97% of students using this type of device. Although 42.3% access it with a smart phone and a further 39.1% intend to buy a smart phone within the next six months. These figures indicate the students prefer mobile internet devices. Indeed 41.2 % access and learn online in retail Wi-Fi hotspots, over 20% access the internet and learn on public transport. Whilst 97.8% of students access the internet for learning on campus, at home or in the dormitory students learn in many different spaces with no one space dictating where they learn.
  • This preference for choice in where they learn is also present in how the students select online materials for study. 89% like to choose what online materials are important to them. 85.8% like to use resources from a number of different websites. Although 91.5% of respondents like a mix of materials they have found and materials the tutor has chosen 78.1% claim to need help finding good websites to support their learning.
  • The respondents indicated they would like to choose how online course resources are organized with 92.3% preferring resources from a number of different websites to be in one space. After analyzing the data above it was not surprising to see 90% of the respondents thought it would be useful to have an online space with specially selected websites, video tutorials and other resources for their course that they could add to and personalize.
  • Social media
  • The E-learning committee discussed the content and materials of the IEP courses and identified the following five elements of the curriculum for inclusion in the webmix. 1) Academic writing – introduction, overview, approaches, style.2) Essay writing – thesis statements, paragraphs, cohesion, compare and contrast, referencing and so on.3) Vocabulary – collocation, vocabulary, phrasal verbs.4) Grammar – pronouns, verbs, tenses, noun phrases, determiners etc.5) Resources– dictionaries, writing guides, academic wordlists.
  • In order to make the webmix easy to navigate and visually attractive different colored tiles were given to the five different topics (the webmix can be viewed here). Two icons were also selected from the ‘symbalooEDU’ collection to signify the type of resource the tile linked to. A ‘book’ was chosen to signify text-based content and ‘a person stood at lectern’ was selected to signify video content. Lastly social media tiles for facebook and twitter as well as a CELC language learning portal tile were added to complete the webmix. Once the webmix was edited and the web links were checked a URL was created for it using the ‘symbalooEDU’ share function and this was emailed to IEP students in the week their IEP courses started. Prior to this, however, the IEP instructors were given an introductory ‘symbalooEDU’ workshop where they were given the rationale for its use and ‘hands-on’ supervised practice navigating the platform, constructing tiles and personalizing their own ‘symbalooEDU’ accounts. This was essential training to enable them to answer student questions and troubleshoot navigation problems students might experience.
  • To gather and record student perceptions and beliefs about ‘symbalooEDU’ the IEP students from were asked to complete an online survey at the end of the semester. 306 students completed the survey 95% of which were undergraduate students and 5% graduate students. As with the needs analysis the survey used a mix of multiple-choice, Likert scale and open comment box questions.All respondents used the platform to access content to support their learning during the 12 week course. 4.8% used the platform ‘every day’, 6.4% ‘three times a week’, 10.1% ‘once a week’, 31.4% ‘three times a month’ and 47.3% ‘once a month’. The IEP courses have mixed ability students with some students needing more support than others. The usage figures reflect this. While 47.3% accessed the links on the platform ‘once a month’ and 27% claimed it was ‘not very useful’ 73% thought ‘symbalooEDU’ was a useful resource. Indeed 43% believe the platform to be so useful that they adopted it as their homepage bookmark browser.The reasons for this positive student uptake of the platform are varied. 87% of respondents thought it was easy to access specific information about writing and 91% thought it useful to have all web links in one place. 82% liked the mix of video, audio and textual learning support whilst 90% liked having access to specific online info selected by NUS tutors. 74% thought the links to content on different websites were so useful they explored the websites in more detail.The students thought the webmix was useful in different ways. The grammar content was perceived as most useful by 40% of respondents, 30% believed the writing content to be most useful whilst 23% thought the collocation and dictionary tools provided were the most useful. 54% of respondents said they added other websites to the webmix which indicates that they took ownership of the platform and integrated other learning resources to it. Furthermore 35 % of respondents accessed ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’ or their blog using ‘symbalooEDU’ showing that more than a third of students adopted the platform in to their daily digital lives.
  • To gather and record student perceptions and beliefs about ‘symbalooEDU’ the IEP students from were asked to complete an online survey at the end of the semester. 306 students completed the survey 95% of which were undergraduate students and 5% graduate students. As with the needs analysis the survey used a mix of multiple-choice, Likert scale and open comment box questions.All respondents used the platform to access content to support their learning during the 12 week course. 4.8% used the platform ‘every day’, 6.4% ‘three times a week’, 10.1% ‘once a week’, 31.4% ‘three times a month’ and 47.3% ‘once a month’. The IEP courses have mixed ability students with some students needing more support than others. The usage figures reflect this. While 47.3% accessed the links on the platform ‘once a month’ and 27% claimed it was ‘not very useful’ 73% thought ‘symbalooEDU’ was a useful resource. Indeed 43% believe the platform to be so useful that they adopted it as their homepage bookmark browser.The reasons for this positive student uptake of the platform are varied. 87% of respondents thought it was easy to access specific information about writing and 91% thought it useful to have all web links in one place. 82% liked the mix of video, audio and textual learning support whilst 90% liked having access to specific online info selected by NUS tutors. 74% thought the links to content on different websites were so useful they explored the websites in more detail.The students thought the webmix was useful in different ways. The grammar content was perceived as most useful by 40% of respondents, 30% believed the writing content to be most useful whilst 23% thought the collocation and dictionary tools provided were the most useful. 54% of respondents said they added other websites to the webmix which indicates that they took ownership of the platform and integrated other learning resources to it. Furthermore 35 % of respondents accessed ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’ or their blog using ‘symbalooEDU’ showing that more than a third of students adopted the platform in to their daily digital lives.
  • which indicates that they took ownership of the platform and integrated other learning resources to it.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Using PLEs to encourage peerlearning and learner autonomy Chris Harwood Centre of English Language Communication CDTL 2011
    • 2. Overview• Student needs analysis• What is a PLE?• The pilot• Student feedback• Recommendations• Discussion
    • 3. Student needs analysis November 2010
    • 4. Internet access• How? • Where?• 97% laptop • 90.9% access internet and learn online on campus (but not in the dorm)• 42.3% smartphone • 97.8% access internet and learn• 39.1% intend to buy a online at home or in their dorm smartphone in the next 6 months • 22.6% access internet and learn online on the MRT or bus • 41.2% access the internet and learn online in retail Wi-Fi hotspots
    • 5. Online materials• 89% like to choose what • 91.5% of respondents online materials are like a mix of materials important to them. they have found and materials the tutor has• 85.8% like to use chosen. resources from a number of different • 78.1% claim to need websites. help finding good websites to support their learning. Curate.
    • 6. Organizing online resources• 92.3% prefer • 90% thought it would• resources from a be useful to have an number of different online space with websites to be in one specially selected space. websites, video tutorials and other resources for their course that they could add to and personalize
    • 7. What is a PLE?
    • 8. What is a PLE?http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2010/07/anatomy-of-ple.html
    • 9. How does a PLE work? “ The PLE is a unique interface in the ownersdigital environment. It integrates their personaland professional interests (including their formaland informal learning), connecting these via aseries of syndicated and distributed feeds.” Terry Anderson 2006
    • 10. Types of Learning• Formal • Informal• Formal learning is planned • 1. learning that derives learning that derives from from activities external to a activities within a structured learning context. structured learning setting. • 2. unstructured learning within a structured learning environment.
    • 11. What does the educator do?PLEs are “systems that help learners take controlof and manage their own learning. This includesproviding support for learners to set their ownlearning goals, manage their learning; managingboth content and process, communicate withothers in the process of learning and therebyachieve learning goals.” Mark van Harmelen 2007
    • 12. Social learning• Personal learning networks (PLNs) using peer to peer social networking such as ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, and ‘Linkedin’ are crucial to the learning processes within PLEs. PLNs are spaces where learners can connect and exchange ideas and negotiate meaning and understanding about whatever they are learning about.
    • 13. Learning theories• Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.• Wenger, Etienne (1998) Communities of Practice. Learning as a social system, Systems Thinker. Retrieved 12th October, 2012, from http://www.co-i-l.com/coil/knowledge-garden/cop/lss.shtml.• Siemens, G. (2008a). About: Description of connectivism. Connectivism: A learning theory for today’s learner, website. http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html
    • 14. What is SymbalooEDU?It is a software application that enables learnersto organize, integrate and share online contentin one setting or Personal Learning Environment.It also enables each user to connect, sharecontent and update shared content.
    • 15. How does it do this?• By allowing users to create and customize tiles using URLs.• These tiles can be constructed into mixes shared and updated.
    • 16. Learning can occur anywhere SocialAll these learning IVLEs networks, facebapplications and ook, twitter, MyS pace etc.storage systemscan be accessedby the student at Collaborativeanytime using a cloud tools, Googlesmartphone, iPad docs, Dropbo, or notebook as x etc.long as they have Integrated curriculuminternet access. activities such as blogging,.
    • 17. The pilotJanuary to April 2011
    • 18. Constructing the webmix Academic writing EssayResources writing Grammar Vocabulary
    • 19. Design and distribution of the webmix
    • 20. Student feedback April 2011
    • 21. How often did they use the platform?• 4.8% used the platform ‘every day’• 6.4% ‘three times a week’• 10.1% ‘once a week’• 31.4% ‘three times a month’• 47.3% ‘once a month’
    • 22. Did students find ‘symbalooEDU’ useful?• 47.3% accessed the links on the platform ‘once a month’ and 27% claimed it was ‘not very useful’• 73% thought ‘symbalooEDU’ was a useful resource. Indeed 43% believe the platform to be so useful that they adopted it as their homepage bookmark browser.
    • 23. The reasons for this positive student uptake of the platform are varied.• 87% of respondents thought it was easy to access specific information about writing• 91% thought it useful to have all web links in one place.• 82% liked the mix of video, audio and textual learning support• 90% liked having access to specific online info selected by NUS tutors.• 74% explored the websites in more detail.
    • 24. The students thought the webmix was useful in different ways• 40% grammar content• 30% writing content• 23% collocation and dictionary tools• 7% social media facebook etc.
    • 25. Personalizing the webmix• 54% of respondents said they added other websites to the webmix• 35 % of respondents accessed ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’ or their blog using ‘symbalooEDU’ showing that more than a third of students adopted the platform in to their daily digital lives.
    • 26. Recommendations• Very useful tool to support learning with encouraging feedback but…• needs to be more carefully woven in to the curriculum• Tutor training/sales• Social media need to be imbedded into the curriculum
    • 27. References• Van Harmelen, M. (2006). Personal Learning Environments. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT’06). Retrieved March 3, 2011, from http://csdl.computer.org/comp/proceedings/icalt/2006/2632/00/263200815.pdf• Wheeler, S, (2010) Anatomy of a PLE. Retrieved 12th October, 2011, from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2010/07/anatomy-of-ple.html