Saturday, September 25, 2010

PLENK2010: Transferring the connectivist model of a PLE to the workplace - towards a Personal Working Environment

The issues faced in helping learners to build more effective learning environments maybe is not so different to the issues faced in other areas of our lives.  For instance: are there or should there be equivalent models of learning management systems and personal learning environments in how we do our work.

Over the last decade or so we have seen the rise of the office intranet, initially as a place to share a bit of basic information about processes, the discussion forums, news, and event calendar and so on. Slowly other key systems became meshed with it and soon we could access it when we were out of the office using the same logon access we used in the office. Eventually we could access some of its features from the mobile phone browser, staying connected to the office when we were on the road or for the lucky ones; working from home.

Often Microsoft software dominates in the office, often times it is manadated and the ability to install anything else restricted as security and usage concerns rise.

For savvy users USB based portable software, cloud computing, news feeds, online social networks and access to what we want through our personal phones has given us a way to create a much richer personal working environment.

Enlightened workplaces of the future may awaken to the worth of employees that have the richer set of connections that an integrated online and off-line network brings to their work.

PLENK2010: Learning Management Systems versus Personal Learning Environments from a learner's perspective

As a learner the worth of a learning management system for me is that it is a single bucket of information about my course, essential readings, how I'm progressing, a place to upload my assignments and interact with my tutor and maybe some of my fellow students.  Possibly it also allows me to access or order materials from my learning provider's library and gives me a place to reflect and share ideas and give feedback. My personal learning environment includes the LMS but also gives me better ways to interact with others, reflect and share, source information on topics more broadly and basically tap into a much bigger network or connection both on line and with the off-line people and environment in my life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

isolating concepts

As a child I was taught to "love others as yourself" but doesn't the whole concept of "other" immediately create a mental boundary between yourself and the "other".  Maybe it should be "love ourselves as ourself".

In his 1981 book called No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth, Ken Wilber did much to explore how we can progress beyond the artificially constructed boundaries that we are taught through our education and culture to conceive.

Perhaps what we need is a transition from Us & Them thinking to Us & Ourselves thinking. We need to extend this concept of "ourself" to include our whole environment and everything in it.  When trees are no longer something that grow "outside", somewhere in the country which is "outside" the city etc would we take more care with them.  When our "enemies" are part of "ourself" do we extend compassion to them, reflect on our behaviours and try to root-out the injustices in society? While we continue to treat things, people, plants and animals as separate to ourselves will we unconsciously undermine our good intent towards "others"

just musing...

PLENK2010: There is nothing that is outside of my PLE

Having had one of my early morning ah-ha moments it came to me that there is nothing that is not part of my personal learning environment.  Whatever is my current topic of interest I will often find something relevant to my learning about it in such obscure places as romance novels, something in a tv show, a seemly unrelated comment by a friend or the ideas I am considering go into that void called my subconscious where something happens to that learning and a day or so later or 3am in the morning it will all come together - perhaps the neurons have had time to run a few programs and reconnect in different ways.

Learning starts when there is something on your mind.  I've called it in my diagram a topic or interest but it can be anything, positive or negative that requires new thinking, problem solving, new skills or just a new approach.

The most obvious place to find learning is those things that directly relate to the topic but we do not exist in isolation from everything else going on around us.

For me, I learn something quickest once I can bring it into the mainstream of my life and start making wider connections.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

peer supported and networked learning

My interest in e-learning has been on the back burner since the start of the year. I think that's actually been for the best as its given me time not only to finish a Diploma in Library and Information Services that I've been doing but also I can now look at e-learning afresh.  I've been getting back into reading my favourite e-learning rss feeds as well as news about the latest technologies from Google and others. I've reinspired myself by re-reading some of the works of Ivan Illich which seem as relevant today as ever.  This time what I got out of his stuff was his emphasis on mentored and peer learning. For me this means finding people, either on-line or in person, who can help you learn what you are interested in.  Sure you can learn in isolation, to an extent, using the resources of your own brain, experiences and surroundings but when you want to take an interest to a whole new level, to go beyond old ways of doing things you need fresh stimulus and the input, encouragement, different perspectives of peers can be a way to progress your learning interest to a whole new level.

At the same time that I have been re-inspiring myself I've also been looking at the new light-weight compact digital cameras that can record HD Video in a format I can easily upload to Youtube. I have dabbled with some extremely basic videos about worm farming but I want to do more with this medium.