Monday, 25 May 2009

newer thoughts about PLE

Via Podcampus I got to know about a conference about PLE: the conference "Personal Learning Environments in der Schule" was held on the 13th of March in Goldau. One of the speakers, Prof. Dr. Schulmeister is examining the definition of PLE and what it means for instructors.

First of all, what is PLE?

As the buzzword says it is the learning environment that surrounds us:
  • the tools we use to find, write, share, discuss... a paper,

  • the sources we discover and use

  • the people we talk with about topics

But beyond that our own history - as Prof. Dr. Schulmeister highlighted - is part of our PLE (video (german) of his speech, 3rd min.)

Moreover Prof. Dr. Schulmeister thinks that new ideas are developing out of not-communicated things: Ideas are formed out of talks and out of thoughts. Sometimes they come spontaneous, sometimes they need time to develop.
Mr. Schulmeister underlines that a focus only on the today's tools would be a big mistake. The tools we use nowadays are only limited instruments but they are giving us new opportunities.
Over the past 5 years (maybe more, maybe less) there was a shift from focusing the tools to focusing the people: from software to community.

What is PLE out of the didactic perspective?
PLE concests of standard components that are put together by the person who is using it. (That's why we have to offer information via different types of media)
Schulmeister does not support Michael Wesch's opinion that school/ instruction has not changed but learning did. In Schulmeister's opinion it is possible to present this statement in a completely different way: Learning has not changed but instruction did.
Scoolmeister is an advocate of cooperative learning. He is although right in provoking us to think about following critical questions in learning:

  • Is there a concept that wholly fits to the topic learning? (e.g. observational learning?)

  • What role does resistance against learning play? (I think everybody experienced this at least one time)

  • Are we as instructors paying enough attention to socio-cultural differences?

  • Is everybody able to do research?

  • Are we allowed to take interest in a specific topic for granted?

  • Are we allowed to take self-organization for granted?

  • Do students have a proper learning and/or time management?

  • Do they have a time management at all?

Schulmeister sums up that PLE's are formale components of the learning situation.

After that Mr Schulmeister examines the difference between LEARNING environment and environment. ...
I will go on about that topic later on.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Continuance: Google Books and mass digitization

Yesterday I discovered the book "Teaching Library in Deutschland" in GoogleBooks.

This book was published in 2005 and is copyrightly material! Google is audacious in digitizing it and giving nearly full access to it (only a few pages were left out). The only acknowledgement they make is to publish the information "This is copyrighted material" at the bottom of the pages! They have chosen confrontation: they are breaking the rules deliberately, hoping for the long arm of the law (that it takes years to until there is a consistent international decision in copyright questions). Google is digitizing books on a large scale without asking for permission. On authors and other rightsholder are able to raise an objection. German authors are fighting back since March 2009 with the so-called "Heidelberger Appell" which beared fruit in the "The Freedom to Publish and the Protection of Copyright".
A collection of articles dealing with the "Heidelberger Appell" can be found here (unfortunately only german articles). A few days ago there was a good posting at IBI-weblog (german) where several recent articles were contemplated.
Two weeks ago there was held an international conference with 250 people from 19 different countries regarding the topic copyright: "The Future Of Copyright – What Is The Right Protection?". The presentations were translated into french, german and english. Until now there are no presentations/papers/podcasts etc. or results available. (Or did somebody find sth. about this conference?)

To shorten it up here: the suspense continues ;) I hope the authors are winning and the intellectual property remains protected.
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