by Stephen Downes
Jun 07, 2016
I like this paper and it speaks to a lot of the ideas and issues surrounding the concept of the personal learning environment (PLE) but many of the references are from 2006, illustrating the mire in which the concept has become embedded. The cause of that mire, though, is usefully described in the last section of the paper: "the LMS has become a dominant feature of formal learning environments, and it is a large and lucrative market.... One of the key issues will be determining where PLEs fit in terms of relationship with the LMS. Is it an augmentation, a competitor, a replacement, or something else?" My own experience is that despite the benefits to students and employers, people in the business of education technology aren't interested in the PLE. But yeah, that will change. You can read the whole book Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications, edited by George Veletsianos, for free on the Athabasca University site.
I'm not sure it's possible to actually make the argument stick - after all, the LMS automatically enters grades for you into the student record system, and who can do away with that? - but I think there are aspects to the no-LMS argument that should be considered. For example, "Accessible, relevant and engaging learning" does not mean "digitised and locked in a system that resembles nothing like the rest of the Internet, or what you might experience in life after school." Moreover, probably the most powerful argument is that "the LMS is in the way." When we are trying to create a unique, custom, and perosnal learning experience, the thing that treats everyone the same and limits choices stands in the way of any progresss.
It is not new to observe that with the transition from printed media to digital we will need to develop new literacies. But the actual description of those literacies have eluded most writers (and left me wondering about their comprehension of traditional literacies). This article is a case in point, and I would like to stress that digital literacies are not simply yraditional literacies with the word 'digital' attached to them, however disguised. Look at the list of six items in the middle of this article, all represented as somehow new. Let me remove the reference to 'digital' in each. Now consider them: find and vet information; see problems from various perspectives; become self-directed learners; find solutions; learn quickly; design and create. Is any of this new? Seriously?
I'm not really sure how to process this, but I have to admit that this list of 1,000 learning and performance tools is impressive.
I'm not really a model maker, but I know people who are, and in any event David Neat's blog is a classic example of a sustained sharing of open learning. Subjects include where to find premade shapes, making paneled doors out of stencil card, polymer-modified plaster, and much more. I love the detail and the clarity of the posts, and most of all, how this blog is really useful to a wider community. Via Metafilter. Article in Makezine. Post about New Blade, the model maker's fair.
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