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.

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