GoogleTranslate Service


PLE2010 Conference – what did we achieve

July 17th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Dave shows off the super sized Manchester PLE
Photo Samscam

Its been a week off from the blog. Following the PLE2010 conference in Barcelona I took a short holiday. And since I have been back I have been fighting (unsuccessfully) a power failure in my office. So now I am squatting in a friend’s house and using my laptop.

I have much to say about the PLE2010 conference – I am not quite sure where to start.

Firstly it was a truly social conference – social in the both face to face and distant participants were involved in the different sessions. Social too, in the way the pre-conference discussions ran into the conference proper and then into the discussions at coffee breaks and in the evening. The formal conference was just one part of the whole event. And social in the use of media. Besides the live streaming of many sessions, it woudl appear the conference generated over 5000 tweets on the first day (the tweets are archived here).Indeed, for many of us it was the first chance to meet face to face people we have been collaborating with on line for a long time.

Much of this was down to the design of the conference. the pre-conference publicity and discuxxiosn had been focused on social media and in particualr twitter. And the programme design, from unkeynotes to cafe style sessions, debates amnd workshops, was signed to facilitate social interaction and participation. And it is encouraging that many have said they will relook at how they are organising conferences and draw on our ideas.

But what about the ideas? Firstly it was very heartening to see that we seemed to have moved beyond the stage of defining a PLE by what it is not i.e. not a VLE. Instead participants were looking outwards, at how to support learning. I am not sure how much we shared common understandings and meanings around PLEs (sadly I cannot find a record of the session which tried to arrive at such a common definition) but there seemed sufficient understanding for common debates.

One controversial issue was how far it was possible to provide an institutional PLE. This debate was driven by the folks from SAPO Campus in Portugal who are trying to do just that (and still managing to find time for late night and in depth analysis of the failings of the Portugese football team!). My own take is that I do not mind where the tools for a PLE come from as long as the leaner is in control.

Two ‘discourses’ particularly heartened me. The first was between educational researchers and practitioners and software and technical developers. This is an oft troubled discourse in the ed tech community. It may be that the common understandings around the idea of a PLE are allowing these different groups to work together in new ways. I particularly enjoyed the session on using Google Wave as a PLE and was impressed by the Talkingabout video sharing site. But what charatcterised these ideas – as in others I could not attend but heard from others about – was the innovation in appropriating technologies for pedagogic innovation.

Another – and more problematic but recurrent discourse was the issue of motivation. Participants were trying to develop PLEs with students inside the schooling and university systems. But surveys and anecdotal evidence suggests students are wary being overly focused on what work they need to do to pass exams, rather than exploring ideas and learning. And most students view direct didactic teaching as the best approach to passing their exams. As such they have little time for reflection or indeed little understanding as to why they should engage in such activity. This is problematic. We may consider their longer term learning important and thus view the development of meta-cognition and problem solving a priority. But perhaps inevitably under the present education systems their major concern is just to jump the next hurdle in the education race.

My only personal disappointment was that the major focus for PLE development and implementation for the vast majority of participants was for learners within schools and universities. There was limited interest in work based learning or in learning outside teh existing systems – the very areas where I think PLEs have the greatest potential.

Indeed, I think we have to consider the wider issue of where to locate the PLE debate. Clearly it is not just another instance of educational technology. But neither can it be easily subsumed in considerations of pedagogic approaches to the use of ICT for learning. I increasingly feel that the whole issue of PLEs is closely related to the ongoing discussions around open education. The very promise of PLEs is to understand the use of technology for learning in a new way, in a context where learning becomes part of society and is free and open to all.

But now there is a lot of work to be done. We have over 70 papers and many offers of publications. Most participants seemed to assume that PLE2011 was already on the cards (watch this blog for more news on that). And the bigger question is how we can use the ideas and networks generated by the conference to build a collective community of practice based on networking and sharing. Any thoughts or ideas  very welcome.

Tweetbacks

  1. open education {supporting non-trad delivery systems}, learning, pedagogy and the PLE @GrahamAtwell http://tinyurl.com/39ors25

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

    RT @bonni208 “The more women they had on a team - the better they did.” #awil2019 pic.twitter.com/WvwzXJOVgk

    Yesterday from Graham Attwell's Twitter via Tweetbot for Mac

  • China has committed £22bn to education technology research; Britain has given less than £1m theguardian.com/education/201…

    About 2 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via TweetDeck

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories