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(Schools out). Personal Learning Environments – what they are and why they might be useful.

January 14th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

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Terry Friedman is planning to publish a new version of the popular Coming of Age book.

And along with Leon Cych, he is planning a 24 hour telethon in which the contributors to Coming of Age are “on” for up to 20 minutes, either talking about their contribution or being interviewed about. I thought I would produce a short video (or slidecast) for the occasion. And by short I meant short. I always set out with good intentions but they always end up 25 minutes or more. I am proud of myself. This one is 6 minutes and I think it gets the key ideas across.

If you don’t like cartoon strips or prefer reading to watching a video or just want to find out more, you can download my contribution to the book below.

Coming of Age 2.0

4 Responses to “(Schools out). Personal Learning Environments – what they are and why they might be useful.”

  1. I really liked the cartoons.

    I couldn’t agree more with what you said, but that is still a lot do in this area, and specially in the humanware area. Today I somehow – being a little bit pissed off at people – decided to blame it on the technology for a change…but you are 150% right.
    Knowledge belongs to people and how they learn and deepen their learning is up to them. It takes (extended periods of) time and it takes personal effort too. It also takes the support of others and the willing and need to learn and to improve.
    Today we started the EVO sessions officially. In the BaW workshop we have more than 150 participants (no moderators included), all the continents are represented and we span 18 time zones. Most participants, I noticed, are even from low-tech coutries.
    Isn’t that great? Although the BaW doesn’t aim particular at PLEs, it aims at giving the participants the tools to create them. (and that is also another reason why we focus on free tools)
    Everything here is informal – there’s no certificate and no grades attached. We do not mark participants’ contributions nor do we send homework. There is neither formal assessment nor any kind of payment or reward to anyone involved. Well… there is a reward – the greatest of all – and that is to improve skills, excel and make friends who share the same interests and who are willing to give a helping hand.

    Because it is informal and there is no pressure to learn, the motivation seems to be bigger. I have joined paid courses online where I haven’t learned as much as I’ve learned here, because both participants and moderators didn’t seem to care that much. Just enough. Here if you are willing, you will not only improve but also exceed what you thought to be the limits of our capacities. And all because you really allow yourself to get into the spirit of the community. And those are the ones who benefit more from it. They not only help maintain the community; they are also able to build their PLEs.

    What strikes me is that although it is true that we are still producing industrial education, our students aren’t that eager to go to school as the ones from the industrial age reportedly were. And that of course, like you pointed out, is because they embrace the present and all it has to offer whereas policy makers and many educators are still tied to the past. And that is a phenomenon all around. I can also learn that from the BaW example …although we got a lot of countries being represented, we only get 1, 2 sometimes 3 participants from each country. And most of them complain that they don’t get support locally to learn this way, and although we have just got started they are already reporting they like it. No wonder… they have been invited to enter the present, which for many might only represent a remote image of the future!
    But things are changing …slowly.

    A comment bigger than a post… great. Now I not only bug u in skype, I get to bug you in the blog. NO wonder it called me a spammer! 😉

  2. Stella Porto says:

    Graham – thanks for this! Just saw it… I agree with all of it. My questioning goes towards practical changes that will need to take within institutions in order to embrace such paradigm. For larger institutions based on an enormous offering of accredited online programs, the change might be quite difficult and produce too many bruises. What are the practical implications and how to go about this? Thanks for your discussion, I’m watching your postings on this topic as much as possible.

  3. Stella Porto says:

    Graham – thanks for this! Just saw it… I agree with all of it. My questioning goes towards practical changes that we will need to take within institutions in order to adopt such paradigm. For larger institutions based on an enormous offering of accredited online programs, the change might be quite difficult and produce too many bruises. What are the practical implications and how to go about this? Thanks for your discussion, I’m watching your postings on this topic as much as possible.

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  1. […] a better solution.  Graham Attwell writes about this fairly often.  In particular, I enjoyed this presentation on slideshare.  But I cannot honestly say that I think most students will embrace this concept and […]

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