Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Totally Distracted....or is this simply my PLE!

I got on the computer sometime this morning with a view to meeting course requirements. It's now 9.18pm, Boston Legal is on in 12 minutes and I haven't done anthing that I was supposed to have done. I have;

  • Spent time figuring out how to use Googlereader and note that I did have to update my password again in order to 'sign in'. I managed this without any stress so consider myself to be on the way to online literacy.
  • I found the 'manage subscriptions' button (I suspect there is a more technical name than button)
  • Subscribed to all the bloggers on the 2009 flexible learning participate page (was I supposed to do that?)
  • Had a quick read of recent posts on these, sorted blogs into folders and generally got my head around the usefulness of this resource. It seems I can only store Blogs here or rather I can't store static web pages - is that right?
I then followed the suggested reading links that Bronwyn provided. Having read the 10 tips on writing a blog post and following a link to 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers - Is a Blog Right for You? which outlines the qualities of successful bloggers, I concluded that I haven't really got my head around blogs at all - I thought I had! I was thinking yeh a great place for me to go blablablabla until my heart (or mind) is content but apparently not! It seems that there is a whole short and snappy technique around writing blogs the purpose of which is to attract interesting or interested follower's! Uh oh - this awaken's my competitive self - what if no one is interested in what I have to say! - Is it just me or is it kinda cult like???

I then followed Bronwyn's link My PLE is like my cooky baking to Sarah Stewarts blog and that was pretty much it for me. I spent the remainder of the day and evening on Sarah's blog and following the interesting links she provides. Sarah you have way too much interesting content on your blog!!! So far I have only done 2007 in depth. I do strongly encourage fellow newcomers to go read this blog from the beginning. Although time consuming it is fascinating to be privy to Sarah's social media/ online learning journey. It's funny, honest, informative, comforting, inspirational and in my mind, gives quite a different picture than the Ten tips link above.

Some things I learnt, discussion points and links that particularly interested me;

A PLE or Personal Learning Environment

It seems that a PLE is simply a kete filled with all the tools one chooses to use in their personal learning much as I as a social worker have tools I use in my work with people and more literally a carpenter or gardener have tools they use in their work.

This introduction to the concept of a PLE is timely as I was beginning to wonder how to manage all this new information I am learning. Online learning and Social Media is a whole new culture perhaps even a whole new world that I know so little about. I don't have schema's or a filing sytem in my brain in which to store all this new information and it is increasingly merging into a muddled mass with no clear lines or boundaries. In describing her PLE, Sarah provides a lovely visual in which her cookies have merged into a giant cookie blob on the baking tray and this perfectly captures how this feels for me. Unfortunately it's not a visual that works for me. My brain is such a chaotic place that I have to compensate by managing tangible material in orderly systems.

The idea of capturing all the tools I am discovering in a diagram appeals as a means of imposing order and thus enabling me to figure out how it all fits together or not. There is certainly much scope in this concept and I will return to it at a later date. In the meantime check out Sarah's PLE and the links to other PLEs she provides. My PLE is like my cooky baking.

I particularly enjoyed David Delgardo's explanation and the brief but very informative history he provides of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and 'e-learning' relative to PLE and 'e-learning 2.0'

I also found the following link useful.Personal Learning EnvironmentsView more presentations from Stephen Downes.

I discovered that I'm called a 'lurker'. This means I read other peoples blogs without leaving messages. Such negative connotations!!! I doubt that I will remain a Lurker - just while I am finding my feet.

I looked at a range of video's about making effective powerpoints and slide shows and I discovered 'Slideshare' via Sarah's blog. I did put links in before bu I seem to have deleted them.

Another topic that particularly interested me on Sarah's earlier posts were those discussing online identity. It's getting late so I might come back to this very interesting topic another day.
Interesting links Sarah provided that I am keen to follow up include;
"Learning to be myself" Konrad Glogowski - 8th Grade Teacher who thinks it is important that students know him as a person.
GrĂ¡inne Conole, A Professor of E-learning in the Institute of Educational Technology at the
Open University described by Sarah as having an easy, friendly blogging style.
online identity and transparency and online identity score. Michele Martin who promotes transparent online communication
Leigh Blackall struggling with the concept of whether to be a teacher or facilitator

It feels a bit strange and invasive to have delved into Sarah's online world and to have extracted and inserted bits of it in to mine.

Through the course of my journey today I also figured out Delicious and saved some links in my delicious site so all in all a lot of learning today but I haven't done the tasks I have to do. Having to do set tasks raises this question for me. If flexible learning exists on a continum from teacher directed to self directed what are the points along the continum and at what point is the learning truly flexible ?

Cheers For Now

PS - one last thing!
I am Me and I am OkayLink to a Virginia Satir Poem - storing it here seems as good a place as any


  1. Hi Jenny

    Great to hear from you and thank you for all the kind comments you made. Did you see my patest post where I have talked about how my PLE has changed over the last year.

    I am glad my blog is a useful resource for you - that is what it is meant to be, so please don't feel you are being invasive. If I felt that way I would have made my blog a private one, or not blog at all.

    The whole point of blogging, or at least to my mind, is that it is a learning resource not just for me, but for others. And I will learn from you and your blog - that's one of the joys of blogging!!

    best wishes, Sarah

  2. Great post Jen.. I think you and Sarah would hit it off. I'm reckon Sarah will mentor you into this blogging thing, I have a feeling you're a natural online communicator and networker, and Sarah sure does know how to do that.

  3. Hi Jenny
    Great post. I agree that Sarah's blog is excellent and it is easy to get lost in there for a long long time!
    I liked your comments about developing a PLE - I too am finding my way with this and trying to work out how it all fits together in a way that makes sense to me.



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