Archive for the ‘PLE2011’ Category

Pedagogy and Personal Learning Environments

May 15th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

The first of a series of four or five posts about Personal Learning Environments. Together with Linda Castaneda and Ilona Buchem, I am editing a special journal featuring five papers from the PLE Conference 2011, held in Southampton, UK (it never ceases to amaze me how long it take sot get these publications out). And of course the last thing we had to do was write an editorial. This extract from the editorial is an introduction to this  blog mini series.

“This special edition  features papers presented at the Second Personal Learning Environments Conference, held in Southampton, UK in July 2011.

It follows on from the previous journal edition which featured papers from the first PLE conference, held in Barcelona in July the previous year.

At that conference PLEs were a largely new and unexplored concept. Much effort and discussion was expended in trying to arrive at a common definition of a PLE, in debating the dichotomy between technological and pedagogy approaches and constructs to developing Personal Learning Environments, and between personal and institutional approaches to developing and using technology for learning.

Further discussions focused on the impact and affordances of Web 2.0 and social software on developing PLEs, with at the same time early, emergent empirical research on the implementation of PLEs.

In only one year the debate moved considerably forward. Earlier concerns – for instance over a tension between pedagogic and technical developments – appeared less irreconcilable, with the majority of participants agreeing that a PLE can be seen as a pedagogical approach with many implications for the learning processes, underpinned by a ‘hard’ technological base. Such a techno-pedagogical concept can benefit from the affordances of technologies, as well as from the emergent social dynamics of new pedagogic scenarios.

We also agreed on the need to continue thinking around practices for enriching the learning process through transparent dynamics that build on, at the same time, the potential of formal and non formal relationships, the contexts of schools and companies, the focus on learning and knowledge, and so on. In this process, attempts to invent new acronyms to differentiate contexts (of PLE components, or tools), often at only a theoretical level, add little extra-value to the previous analysis.

However, there was an evident concern about the implementation PLEs of in real learning contexts. This was seen as more than just a question of implementing a specific tool or suite of tools. Even when there is an agreement on the importance of tools for learning – especially Web 2.0 tools – the main issue remained of how to develop and implement a new understanding about how learning takes place.

The main concern about the development of PLEs was the practical pedagogical implication of their adoption in different contexts, especially when taking into account a more interdisciplinary perspective. It included considerations of pedagogy, didactics, technology, institutional issues and the many factors that contribute to the complex system of tensions that constitute the common framework in which we talk about learning and education.”

PLE2012

October 3rd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

It seems like this years PLE conference, held in July in Southampton, is only just over. And in many ways it is not over, we are now starting the work of editing papers for publication in journals. But the PLE committee has also announced a call for venues for the 2012 conference. If you are interested in hosting the conference in 2012, please see the call on the conference web site.

Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens

August 22nd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Ilona Buchem proposed to me and Ricardo Torres that we should undertake a systematic review of literature on Personal Learning Environments as our contribution to this years PLE conference held in early July in Southampton. We set out to review some 100 journal articles and blog posts in three langauges.

The major challenge was how to classify and analyse the material. We set out with an original framework comprised of  three tiers of analytic categories:

●      A top tier with the three dimensions: “Personal”, “Learning” and “Environment”;

●     A  middle tier with two domain perspectives: “Pedagogy” and “Technology”;

●      A bottom tier with a set of core concepts and a scale from “high” to “low”.

However, the first reading and analysis of selected literature led us to the conclusion that focusing only on the three dimensions at the top tier level as described above leaves out other central aspects related to PLEs. At the same time the three original categories are too broad and encompass different notions that need further disaggregation.

Thus we decided to use Activity Theory as a basis for our analysis reasoning that the idea of PLEs places the focus on the appropriation of different tools and resources by an individual learner and there is a general agreement on viewing learners as being situated within a social context which influences the way in which they use media, participate in activities and engage in communities. Learning outcomes are considered to be created in the process of tackling the problems and challenges learners meet in different contexts by using tools and resources leading to outcomes. The perspective on learning as tool-mediated, situated, object-directed and collective activity is the basic tenet of Activity Theory (Engeström 1999; Engeström, 2001).

Overall, I think the approach works well. We found that the core concepts around PLEs such as ownership, control, literacy, autonomy or empowerment are often mentioned in the literature but seldom defined, theoretically grounded or differentiated. This obscures the overall picture and understanding of PLEs. We identified a series of ‘open research questions’:

  • What types of ownership and control are relevant to PLEs?
  • What motivates and demotivates learners to establish own PLEs?
  • Which norms and values guide the development of PLEs in different contexts?
  • What roles are played by different actors in a PLE?
  • What is the relationship between ownership and collaboration in a PLE?
  • How do PLEs contribute to identity development?
  • How to balance power between different participants in a PLE?
  • How to support the development of literacies necessary to establish a PLE?

You can read the full paper below or download a copy. We would very much welcome feedback from readers.

Thanks especially to Ilona for all the hard work she put in in getting this paper ready for publication.
Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens

Osobiste środowiska uczenia się

August 22nd, 2011 by Ilona Buchem

W lipcu tego roku, podczas konferencji PLE w Southampton, Graham Attwell, Ricardo Torres i ja zaprezentowalismy wyniki naszej analizy literatury dotyczącej osobistych środowisk uczenia się.

Publikacja naukowa pod tytułem “Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens” została umieszczone w Webscience Journal: http://journal.webscience.org/658/

Oto pełen tytuł publikacji:

Buchem, Ilona and Attwell, Graham and Torres, Ricardo (2011) Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. pp. 1-33. In: Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10th – 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK.

Głównym pytaniem naszej pracy jest: “Czym charakteryzują się osobiste środowiska uczenia się? Jakie są ich główne cechy i w jaki sposób można je systematycznie opisać?”

Przegląd literatury jakiego dokonaliśmy oparty jest na teorii aktywności (Activity Theory). Do analizy ponad 100 publikacji odnoszących się do osobistych środowisk uczenia się posłużyliśmy się metodologią teorii ugruntowanej (Grounded Theory). Naszym celem było lepsze zrozumienie tego, czym są i jak funkcjonują osobiste środowiska uczenia się.

Oto streszczenie:

“This paper represents a scientific analysis of a broad range of publications surrounding the field of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). Personal Learning Environments can be viewed as a concept related to the use of technology for learning focusing on the appropriation of tools and resources by the learner. Capturing the individual activity, or how the learner uses technology to support learning, lies at the heart of the PLE concept. The central research question guiding this review was: What are the characteristic, distinguishing features of Personal Learning Environments? This paper argues that PLEs can be viewed as complex activity systems and analysed using the Activity Theory framework to describe their key elements and the relationships between them. Activity Theory provides a framework of six interrelated components: subject, object, tools, rules, community and division of labour. In referencing over 100 publications, encompassing conference papers, reports, reviews, and blog articles, this paper takes an activity-theory perspective to deconstruct the way central aspects related to PLEs are addressed in different publications. The aim of this study is to create a better understanding of PLEs and to develop a knowledge base to inform further research and effective practice. The literature review presented in this paper takes a broader view on PLEs recognising that research in this field stems from different scientific communities and follows different perspectives.”

Naszą listę publikacji umieściliśmi w Wiki zatytułowanej PLEP – Personal Learning Environment Publications. W ten sposób chcemy stworzyć publiczny zbiór publikacji, który może być uzupełniany przez każdego zainteresowanego tym tematem.

Zachęcam wszystkich do składania propozycji na umieszczenie dalszych wartościowych publikacji na stronie w Wiki!

What we learned at the #PLE_SOU Conference

July 26th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Its my first day back in the office after three weeks of meetings, conference summer schools and travel. There is a lot to catch up on. First a rather belated review of the Personal Learning Environments 2011 conference in Southampton, UK.

#PLE_SOU (for some reason we have adopted a hash tag convention of following airport codes!) had much to live up to. The first PLE conference in 2010 in Barcelona had created a great buzz around it. In part this may have been the excitement of a conference dedicated to PLEs, in part the wonderful people it attracted and also the great venue in Barcelona. It was also because last year we had spent considerable effort in moving away from the traditional twenty minute paper presentation, followed by five or ten minutes of discussion, to facilitating more open and interactive formats, adapting more unconferencing type approaches to exchanging ideas.

We adopted the same approach in Southampton. Not everyone is happy with such an approach and it requires considerable effort on the part of session facilitators. But just as in Barcelona, we wanted to merge the informal and formal sides of the conference and to develop an ongoing dialogue between participants.At the same time with three or four simultaneous sessions we wished to provide people with choices of different formats and with opportunities for unconferencing break out sessions if the wished. And on the whole I think it worked well.

This year too, we put considerable effort into ensuring  we had a robust technical infrastructure capable of supporting everyone being logged on with at least two devices simultaneously and providing a rolling display of tweets from the conference. We also provided a live stream from one of the four conference spaces, which attracted a surprising number of participants. Next year we will look at ways to better integrate those following the conference at a dostance.

Lisa, Su and Hugh, assisted by David Delgado have put considerable effort into the curation of the conference, with the conference web site providing access to photos, slides and videos and to a full archive of conference papers.

Now on to  the contents (based on the sessions I attended). We still have no agreement on a definition of PLEs. I am not sure this is important. There seems to be a broad consensus about PLEs as an approach to teaching and learning and within that there is plenty of room for different developments and initiatives, be it m,ore theoretical pedagogic research, surveys and empirical studies, innovation in practice or technological development. Different approaches could include the development of Personal Learni9ng Environments, institutional support for PLE development (more on that in a moment), MOOCs or support for work based learning. Having said that there was a general recognition that the adaption of a PLE approach is challenging existing institutional practices and for example present practices around assessment are a barrier to PLE implementation.

There was also considerable concern that not all learners are confident or capable of developing and managing their own PLEs. In part this concern was based on a series of different studies looking at how learners are using new technologies and particularly social software and social networking applications. These studies are valuable and it would be good if there could be some kind of sharing space for such work.

Concerns over the confidence of learners in using technology are largely behind the move towards developing ‘institutional PLEs’. There is also a move by schools to adopt such systems both because of concerns for privacy and data security with commercial applications and services and to allow access to social networking technologies for those under 13 years old.

Although most research and development presented at the conference was orientated towards higher education there appears to be increasing interest in PLEs not only from the school sector but also for learning at work and in the c0mmunity.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the discussions was that we were talking about actual PLE implementations, rather than the more speculative research  and planning in Barcelona. PLEs are no longer a dream, but are increasingly being adopted for learning.

Second day of Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE Radio at #PLE_SOU

July 15th, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

Here is the podacst of our second programme from the PLE-Conference in Southampton.

You can find the music we played here on Jamendo. It is the album “Dresses & dreams” by the artist On returning from Tranås, Sweden.

Sounds of the Bazaar at #PLE_SOU day 1

July 15th, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

Like in the last year at the 1. PLE-Conference in Barcelona we broadcasted again from this years’ PLE-Conference in Southampton, UK. We made two 30 minutes programmes and tried to catch the vivid spirit and most important content of this great conference. Here now the show of day 1 as podcast.

Jam Hot! A new take on Personal Learning Environments

July 11th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

It is conference season. Today marks the start of the PLE2011 conference in London. Together with Andrew Ravenscroft, Dirk Stieglitz and David Blagborough, I am presenting a paper with the snappy name ‘‘Jam Hot!’ Personalised radio ciphers through augmented social media for the transformational learning of disadvantaged young people.’

Although the paper is very much a work in progress, there are a series of ideas here which I find interesting and will return to on this blog in the future. In the meantime any feedback very welcome.

‘Jam Hot!’ Personalised radio ciphers through augmented social media for the transformational learning of d…

Sounds of the Bazaar Internet Radio Summer Tour

July 8th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

It is becoming a bit of a tradition that every summer the Sounds of the Bazaar Internet Radio show goes on tour. This year is no exception. And we have lined up a brilliant schedule over the next month including live coverage from conferences, workshops, summer schools and festivals spanning four countries.

To listen to any of the programmes just go to http://cp2.internet-radio.org.uk/start/ravenscroft/

You can listen direct from this web page or open the stream in the music player of your choice.

We kick off next week from the Personal Learning Environments Conference in Southampton, England (#PLE_SOU) with two lunch time shows. We wil be broadcasting live interveiws, vox pops and bringing you the best of the conference live from Southampton. The shows run from from 1330 – 1400 UK Summer Time (1430 – 1500 Central European Time) on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 July.

On Friday 15 July, we have a special broadcast being produced as part of a workshop with Inspire! the Education Business Partnership for Hackney, the Yo youth agency and the University of East London and sponsored by the RadioActive and G8WAY projects. More on this soon but it promises to be great fun. The programme goes out from 1530 – 1600 UK Summer Time (1630 – 1700 Central European Summer Time).

The following week we will be broadcasting LIVE from the Gary Chapman International School on Digital Transformation in Porto, an event jointly organised between the University of Porto and the University of Texas.

The summer school themes are

  • Information access and open civic discourse
  • Digital tools for government transparency
  • Evolving Internet content regulation and the public’s right to information
  • Digital media and the democratic process
  • Factors influencing the growth of online civic engagement

Details of the radio show are still being finalised but we can promise you some surprise guests along with great interveiws and content for anyone intersted in digital media.

And the last stage of our summer tour takes us to SMIAF – the San Marino Arts Festival where we will be running workshops and broadcasting live from one of the city squares. If you are interested in getting involved here are more details:

Graham Attwell (UK) & Dirk Stieglitz (DE) di “Pontydysgu – Bridge to Learning” e della web radio: “Sounds of the Bazaar” condurranno il workshop in occasione dello SMIAF 2011.

Insieme a loro si capirà come costruire una web radio, come produrre il materiale per il broadcasting e tutto quello che serve per trasmettere.

Il workshop prevede due incontri:
Venerdì pomeriggio a partire dalle ore 15
Sabato mattina alle ore 10,30.

***Si richiede ai partecipanti un pc, mac, laptop…personale.
Lo SMIAF non fornisce computer ma solo la connessione WIFI, gentilmente concessa da PRIMA s.r.l.

Dopo il workshop..anche broadcasting in diretta:
Sabato 6 e domenica 7 agosto in occasione dello SMIAF si potrà dare vita alla prima SMIAF web radio e trasmettere in diretta da P.zza S.Agata durante il Festival.
I partecipanti al workshop e anche al festival sono liberi di trasmettere musica, interviste, e tutto quello che ritengono bello ed interessante per quei giorni.

Per iscrizioni al workshop, invia una email a: smiaf.giovanisaperi@gmail.​com

Don’t miss these shows – there will be lots of room for participation and we are looking forward to a great summer radio tour.

PLE2011 Conference Programme published

June 26th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

The Personal Learning Environment Conference 2011 programme has been published. The conference takes place in Southampton from July 11- 13 and features keynote presentations from Cristina Costa, Scott Wilson, Riina Vuorikari and Les Carr.

On Monday 11th there are two pre-conference workshops:

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    Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE from the Online EDUCA Berlin 2013

    We will broadcast from Berlin on the 5th and the 6th of December. Both times it will start at 11.00 CET and will go on for about 40 minutes.

    Go here to listen to the radio stream: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 LIVE Radio.

    The podcast of the first show on the 5th is here: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 Podcast 5th Dec.

    Here is the second show as a podcast: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 Podcast 6th Dec.

    News Bites

    Open online STEM conference

    The Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference claims to be the world’s first massively open online conference for educators focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more. The conference is being held over the course of three days, September 19-21, 2013, and is free to attend!
    STEMxCon is a highly inclusive event designed to engage students and educators around the globe and we encourage primary, secondary, and tertiary (K-16) educators around the world to share and learn about innovative approaches to STEMx learning and teaching.

    To find out about different sessions and to login to events go to http://bit.ly/1enFDFB


    Open Badges

    A new nationwide Open Badges initiative has been launched by DigitalMe in the UK. Badge the UK has been developed to help organisations and businesses recognise young people’s skills and achievements online.

    Supported by the Nominet Trust, the Badge the UK initiative is designed to support young people in successfully making the transition between schools and employment using Mozilla Open Badges as a new way to capture and share skills across the web.

    At the recent launch event at Mozilla’s London HQ Lord Knight emphasised the “disruptive potential” of Open Badges within the current Education system. At a time of record levels of skills shortages and unemployment amongst young people all speakers stressed need for a new way to encourage and recognise learning which lead to further training and ultimately employment opportunities. Badge the UK is designed to help organisations and businesses see the value in using Mozilla Open Badges as a new way to recognise skills and achievement and and connect them to real world training and employment opportunities.

    You can find more information on the DigitalMe web site.


    Twitter feed

    Apologies for the broken Twitter feeds on this page. It seems Twitter have once more changed their APi, breaking our WordPress plug-in. It isn’t the first time and we will have to find another work around. Super tech, Dirk is on the case and we hope normal service will be resumed soon.


    MOOCs and beyond

    A special issue of the online journal eLearning Papers has been released entitled MOOCs and beyond. Editors Yishay Mor and Tapio Koshkinen say the issue brings together in-depth research and examples from the field to generate debate within this emerging research area.

    They continue: “Many of us seem to believe that MOOCs are finally delivering some of the technology-enabled change in education that we have been waiting nearly two decades for.

    This issue aims to shed light on the way MOOCs affect education institutions and learners. Which teaching and learning strategies can be used to improve the MOOC learning experience? How do MOOCs fit into today’s pedagogical landscape; and could they provide a viable model for developing countries?

    We must also look closely at their potential impact on education structures. With the expansion of xMOOC platforms connected to different university networks—like Coursera, Udacity, edX, or the newly launched European Futurelearn—a central question is: what is their role in the education system and especially in higher education?”


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