PLEs What Do Students Think?


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Panel Presentation at Canadian eLearning Conference 2009.

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  • How are PLE’s like bicycles – if you stay to the end – you’ll find out! Why are we interested in this discussion about PLEs? most of us have personal learning environments of one kind or another – even if we don’t call them that we are all learners most of us need some support in helping us to make connections between our learning goals, things we do, ideas about competencies we want to develop and the tools and processes we choose to get us there. George Siemens (educator and ed tech blogger says): we are riding a multi-millennia wave of increased ability for individuals to create and control content and information . I would add connect with each other . There is no shortage of free, social web tools that make this possible. So now we’re beginning to look at the questions around our responsibilities as participants and as guides for learners who are making sense of this for themselves at the same time that they are learning in environments that are much more accustomed to having control than exploring the possibilities that personal learning environments might provide. This is an opportunity for students to share their thoughts about this challenge. What we hope for you: You’ll walk away with a new perspective from which to think more about PLE’s and what they mean to students.
  • Many ways to define personal learning environment. We thought we’d start by having you talk among your colleagues and share your own thoughts about how you would define this.
  • He is an Associate Fellow, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick and a Gastwissenschaftler at the Insititut Technik und Bildung, University of Bremen. visiting researcher/scholar He also believes that PLEs should support a varity of activities which are essential to learning including: accessing and searching, Aggregating and scaffolding Manipulating Analysing Storing Reflecting Presenting Sharing It’s the sharing piece (collaboration, forming networks with peers and others) that some of the student development research might help us to understand better .
  • Marcia M. Baxter Magolda: Educational Psychologist Developed a model of epistemological reflection based on a 16 year longitudinal study of how students come to understand the nature of knowledge. Would highly recommend the article referenced here – not nearly as dry as it sounds – she includes many interview excerpts and reflections that make it a very interesting read.
  • These are competencies that you build while you are really learning - these words may be reflected in your own thinking about your goals. Some may take a more prominent position at certain points in your learning - others a less prominent role. They are likely represented in some way in each of your course learning objectives. But how do they translate to your learning in the whole of your life? Do you think about these competencies as you are building your personal learning environments or not so much…?
  • In a recent interview for elearn Magazine , George Siemens said this about the kind of 21 st century skills that you’ll need to develop in order to be effective in the world: :Its is important for learners to function in fragmented information environments, participate in distributed teams and interact with different cultures, beliefs and viewpoints.”
  • Ivan Illich is talking about a switch in focus here from content to process. PLE’s are focus on process. Many of our learning environments focus on content.
  • PLEs What Do Students Think?

    1. 1. Personal Learning Environments ... What do Students Think?
    2. 2. How do you define personal learning environment? What words come to mind? 2 minute brainstorm…
    3. 3. What some smart people say about PLEs... Participants? Panel? Others?
    4. 4. what another smart person says about PLEs … <ul><li>Graham Attwell of the UK </li></ul><ul><li>“ PLE are based on the idea that learning will take place in different contexts and situations and will not be provided by a single learning provider... </li></ul><ul><li>the idea of a Personal Learning Environment recognizes that learning is continuing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning.” </li></ul><ul><li>He blogs here: </li></ul><ul><li>Graham Attwell 2008: From Personal Learning Environments on Slideshare: http :// www . pontydysgu . org / category / ples / </li></ul>
    5. 5. PLEs will change/evolve as learners do ... Reference: Magolda, Marcia M. Baxter. Evolution of a Constructivist Conceptualization of Epistemological Reflection. Educational Psychologist, Vol. 39, No. 1. (2004), pp. 31-42.
    6. 6. How have your networks evolved over time? What role do your networks play in your learning? How has this changed from a year or two ago – or has it?
    7. 7. On making connections... “ Systemic, big picture thinking starts with the ability to make connections to what you have learned or revelations you have had prior to what you are learning now. It is the ability to connect ideas and scaffold that produces innovation. Using these tools to help you learn from your &quot;past self&quot; is strategic and will result in the kind of deep thought that produces genius.” Snbeach commenting on a blog post at
    8. 8. Things we do in the process of learning... <ul><li>research </li></ul>reflect remember analyze create share collaborate socialize communicate organize discover make connections select defend make decisions seek feedback contemplate search present experiment
    9. 9. How do you build the competencies that you’ll need in order to be effective in the world? Do you have a sense of what they are? What role does your PLE play? Questions from the group?
    10. 10. <ul><li>“ [we] must not start with the question what should someone learn but with the question, What kinds of things and people might learners want to be in contact with in order to learn?” </li></ul><ul><li>Ivan Illich - Deschooling Society (1970) </li></ul>Consider this...
    11. 11. How effective are PLEs without complete educational reform? What do you you think universities should know about how best to support PLEs?
    12. 12. <ul><li>it’s personal </li></ul>Your PLE is like your bike because...
    13. 13. <ul><li>it will get you to your destination if you keep it tuned up </li></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>it’s centered around you but you ride with others often </li></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>it evolves as you do </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>doesn’t have to be high-tech, just needs to get you where you want to go </li></ul><ul><li>needs someone to pedal </li></ul><ul><li>better if it’s custom fitted to the cyclist (learner) and terrain (context) </li></ul><ul><li>requires maintenance! </li></ul>just like your bike, your PLE ...
    17. 17. What do you plan to do about PLEs? Build on your own? Help learners build theirs? Advocate for integration of a PLE process in your Faculty?