Friday, September 19, 2014

PLE, personal learning environments

The Internet usually looks like a mare magnum for young students. So many things, so less time... They end up wasting their energy looking for resources, being absorbed in social sites or playing silly games. The solution? Make them curate their own PLE.

Ejemplo_PLE.png Personal Learning Environment, that’s what PLE stands for. And the process of building one is called curation. Everyone has ever done something like this, in fact bookmarking interesting websites for any kind of personal growth is to curate, and that especial folder you keep with several useful links for your work is a sort of a PLE.

Nowadays there are many tools to fabricate a PLE, but if you are going to choose one be sure that it is social media friendly, i.e, that you can share and find others’ works in the Net. I used to use Delicious, but I didn’t find it student-friendly enough, so I decided to change it for Symbaloo. This last one’s main advantage is its ease of use and its board-like interface.

As PLEs deal with many different things (presentations, social networking, documentaries and videos, research, production, publication, citation, collaboration, storage, project management, coding, augmented reality, virtual worlds, gamification, gamecodization...) you can also curate different boards according to the subject you are working about.

Let’s see an example. This is a board I use to teach the concept of PLE to my 13-year-old students. Everything is mixed but visually arranged. As it’s obvious there are hundreds of applications and this is but a mere mini collection.

There are some points to bear in mind about a PLE:

  1. It’s dynamic. A link which used to be valuable can be unuseful all of the sudden. Keep some, discard others.
  2. It’s flexible.
  3. It has to be social: make it be known and know others’.
  4. It’s not only about school: whatever you do you should have your own personalized one.
  5. It’s curated: you have to invest time and effort to make it of good quality.
  6. It’s a magnifying glass to focus on certain aspects of the Internet and avoiding wasting time.
  7. It’s a productivity tool.