Saturday, September 25, 2010

What i do in/with my PLE

So we were asked to create a concept map representing the tools we use to keep our PLE working. Now that i think i have a working definition for it, representing it should be easy, right?

It turns out that i felt i needed to go through a 'preparatory stage' in which i would identify how i get my learning done, what are the actions i take, before i freely share which tools i use. Out of this reflection came the following map:

It's pretty simple: i take up to 5 general actions to learn about something:

1) search and read about it on the interwebs. If i feel safe enough, or welcome enough, i may post some comment on the valuable things i've found. By reading i also mean watching slides, videos, and in some rare cases listening to some podcasts.

2) i'm a collector at heart, so i have to store/save everything i deem worthy. What i mean is that if i took the time to read it, it probably went to become part of my bookmark library. If there's a chance to download it (in the case of a pdf, or ppt, or such) i probably will. Once i have the link, i may decide i want to share it, either with specific people to whom i consider it may be of interest, or to the general public on some social media service that helps me connect to some kind of public. In the action of storing, it might occur that i comment on the stored resource.

3) When really in the mood, or maybe because something was extraordinarily eye-opening, i might create some artifact (an e-mail, a presentation, a word document, or even a blog post) were i register my experience regarding the topic, make some comments on it, or just present what the topic is to people that may become interested in it.

4) Rarer, but not out of the realm of possibilities, is the chance to get a conversation started on the topic. In a few instances, i was able to find someone's twitter account and was able to have an almost synchronous chat with that person. Great experience. In some cases, the chat is with someone i'm well acquainted with, and then the chat is through a more 'personal' channel (google talk, skype, etc.)

5) When i am really ON with a topic, and i find the 'right' -online- community, i might register myself in, to get a deeper sense of where the discourse/narrative is at regarding the topic of interest. Levels of participation will largely depend on how many questions i have, which answers i can't find, and the perceived probability of being treated with respect i feel i'll get there.


  1. I do all of the same as you. I am a collector and I like Diigo but I use other collection methods too. I often log on to the new site and then if I like it, I will copy it into Speedtile which I have found to like.

    I also will use the tool in my teaching practice if I think it will help my students. The problem I have is that even though they say college students are tech savvy, that is not the case. My community college students are not tech savvy unless you use Facebook or SMS on their phones. Not one of 50 students knew what Twitter was. Many are afraid of Facebook. I even set up a private, secret group and had some students not wanting to use it.

    I also tried using a wiki with them. I used 2, wikispaces and PBwiki and PBwiki was terrible- I could not find their postings and they did not know how to add their page to the navigation.

    I know they are being called digital natives but native what? Games, cellsphones, SMS and Facebook or some other social network. There area the early adopters out there just like adults.

    I feel that the students have to learn it and I push them to use the tool I am using that semester. I try many and hope to see them work. This time I am using Groupspaces to get 2 classes to collaborate out of Blackboard which does NOT allow collaboration unless they are in the same section. I hate using BB and would much prefer to set up my own but that would not be looked upon as very good.

    I ranted enough- just got sidetracked here but that is what happens as I discover new tools and find I can't use them.

    Kathleen Cercone PT, PhD

  2. Hi Vahid,
    Thanks for putting your thoughts together in such a cohesive way. After i read through them i realised that i do something very similar within my PLE but i have never taken the time to reflect how the pieces fit together.

  3. @Kathleen One of the things i disagree with in the PLE paradigm we were exposed to in week 1 is that it takes for granted that every and anyone can just use tools magically. I think that tools must be taught explicitly to the students/participants. Eventually the facilitator will learn new tools from the participants too, and everyone will learn together, but at some point agreement must be reached and a minimum common set of tools should be selected and everyone get the (minimum required) training to be effective with them.

    @Elaine Glad to know it was useful!

  4. Hi Vahid,

    Agree with your last point to Kathleen. Also i like your task based approach to defining your PLE. I have not got much from the PLE diagrams that emphasize the tools with the tasks usually represented by a linking arrow. i set the basis for my ple by devcising this model i intend to add creativity in the home box and then maybe soon i'll fill it in :-)