- How might we use technologies that we have seen so far in this course (wikis, blogs twitter) as a PLE?
A PLE, for me, is all about creating connections with people. Wikis, blogs, Facebook and Twitter are tools that allow us to build learning communities with like-minded professionals, fellow learners and our students. We can share information, ideas and resources freely and easily over the web. These tools, to quote Selwyn (2008), are “…‘interactive’ rather than ‘broadcast’ forms of exchange, in which information is shared ‘many-to-many’ rather than being transmitted from one to many. Web 2.0 applications are built around the appropriation and sharing of content amongst communities of users, resulting in various forms of user-driven communication, collaboration and content creation and recreation.” Through “following” people on twitter, making “friends” on Facebook, joining wikis and having RSS feeds from blogs we can build our own learning environments and personalise it by deciding what information we want to “pull” to us. We can also “push” out content, information, thoughts and reflections via our own blog posts, wiki edits, “tweets” etc and enter into a conversation with anyone with web access.
- What has been your experience of this distributed learning space so far? (Honestly!)
I like the concept of the wiki. It is democratic. We can all add content and contribute resources – we all can contribute to development of each other’s knowledge. The wiki itself is not a closed space, anyone can read it (though not everyone can edit it) and therefore our reflections, discussions and debates, as well as the content, are open to a much wider audience. I find with the wiki and the blog I am using my own voice whereas on Blackboard my register is more formal and in keeping with the “academic” register of a university learning environment. Being myself helps me in my learning.
- Do you think that a VLE/MLE would form a good basis for a ‘Personalised Learning Environment’? (With reasons!!)
I think it can form part of a PLE (see the diagram of a PLE above) and my reason for this that a VLE, such as Blackboard, is a closed environment; there is no direct contact with the wider world. Of course, there is the opportunity for critical thinking and reflection within a VLE but audience is limited to those that are doing the same course as you.
Another criticism of a VLE is that there is an element of “top down” learning. The course tutor decides on the content of the course, there is less opportunity for learners themselves to add content and contribute to the knowledge base.
There is little possibility in a VLE to personalise your learning space both in terms of being able to choose the tools you prefer to use and also the look and feel of those tools (the choice of skins on Twitter or “themes” in blogs).