Sunday, September 26, 2010


There has been so much discussion about the precise nature of PLEs in this course. Some people think the term should be inclusive and encompass everything that is part of the environment from which we can learn. Others clearly think that because we generally mean the computer environment when we discuss PLEs, whether in PLENK2010 or elsewhere, that we should be more restrictive in our usage. I suggest we resolve the issue by using the restrictive term digital PLE when we mean the latter. While that won't eliminate all the subtleties and nuances that some people clearly prefer, it at least makes it clear for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

PLEs vs LMEs?

I've read some of the readings for thisPLENK2010 week 2, but I'm not sure that there really is a conflict between these two concepts. In my mind, they are used for different things, but they can also be used in tandem--as witness this very course; housed in the LMS moodle, but all of us free to use whatever we like of it and repurpose it into our own PLE. We also bring our PLEs into play when we participate in a course such as this one.

That also reflects the teaching that I do. While the courses are housed within an LMS--moodle again--and I do provide some internet resources for students to use, the students can also work with the materials presented in a way that suits them. Yes, they do have assignments to do, and the LMS drop-box is very useful for that, but I do provide some starter tools for them to think about how to reflect on their learning process and continue learning in a way that is meaningful for them. These are baby steps for many of these particular students--they are in preparatory courses at AU, and many have limited computer experience, but others are already running.

However, I come back to a point I have made before--intellectual curiosity. Some students just want a grade so that they can get into whatever program they are applying for, but others are interested in the deeper learning process. These are the ones, those with intellectual curiosity, who will go on to develop digital PLEs because they have discovered how useful reflecting on the learning process can be and how much they can grow when they discuss their ideas with others. They're also willing to explore the resources that are available to them and not stick only with the textbook or other instructor provided materials.

So we do need to maintain an LMS within the formal education sphere, but, as we have seen, it is useful beyond that, too. PLEs can be connected to an LMS, and as educators, we should be happy when we see students taking that leap into the future.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#PLENK2010 Blog Stats

This post has nothing to do with the topic for this week in PLENK 2010, but is a reflection on the fact that I have just discovered the Stats function on blogger--it's fairly new; I've been aware of it in only the last few weeks, and I hadn't had time to explore it. It keeps track of the "hits" on a blog. So while it may seem from the comments that only a few people are reading our blogs, that isn't so. While only 2 people have left comments on this blog, here are the stats for the numbers actually reading it (even if only casually) in week 1:
United States 64
Canada  19
Germany 11
Belgium 3
Mexico 3
Australia 2
China 2
Netherlands 2
Portugal 2
Switzerland 1

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I really like George's idea of a PLE as expressed in The Daily today: "I see PLE's as an ecology, a space in which learning occurs. It's like trying to describe water to a fish or air to a person." This is probably because it takes me along a path I was tentatively taking some steps along already--we are all born with a learning environment, and our learning necessarily takes place within that environment. 

Such an idea also helps me to see how formal learning gradually morphs into individualized learning as this environment continually expands ...if we are lifelong learners. Individuals vary in the amount of directed (formal) learning they require before they are able to follow their intellectual curiosity (assuming they have some) down other paths. Yes, these do occur at the same time, but with the exception of a genius or two, someone did teach us all to read and guided us as we learned to write so that we could more fully develop and participate in an experience such as PLENK 2010.

From the readings this week, and reading the discussions, there seem to be so many varied definitions of a PLE, that I think we all need to have a definition that suits our own needs for now. I was getting more "loose ends" before I saw George's post, but then I had a lightbulb moment. Of course, my subsequent ruminations may not be along the same path that George envisions, but thanks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've read all of the introductory materials from The Daily to help me get started with #PLENK2010, and I've watched the initial Elluminate recording. The concepts are familiar to me, but I already feel as though I'm behind--this was the wrong time to come down with the flu!

I've called the blog Loose Ends--not because I am at loose ends, but because I see PLNs as going off in a variety of different directions. I am hoping to find "something" that will help me to tie all of these bits and pieces together. At the same time, I realize that such a goal is unrealistic as PLNs, by their very nature, are continually growing and expanding entities and because I do believe in lifelong learning. I don't know how to reconcile these two opposing ideas. The reality is that I will probably end up with even more loose ends by the time the course finishes.