Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Teacher in us All

PLEs are what?, from Tim Hand, has a nice set of reminders regarding the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) space.

Among other things, Tim reminds us that a PLE is a concept rather than an application. It is a way to frame the vast array of information gathering, transforming, and transmitting tools into a framework for learning and growing. He also ponders whether discussions surrounding PLEs will fade, at least under the term 'PLE'. Viewing our information tools as a platform for learning can hardly be a bad thing, so one would hope the PLE concept continues to evolve.

To evolve the PLE concept, it seems worthwhile to consider a couple possibilities.

The first is the possibility that the big idea behind PLE is not that one can co-opt communications and social interaction tools as education tools. Rather, it might be better to concentrate on the idea that education tools can be crafted to take advantage of communication and social interaction tools. Put another way, there is a difference (however intertwined) between the transport mechanism and the content.

Another possibility is to extend the focus of the concept beyond learning. Rather than a personal learning environment, it seems more appropriate to focus on a personal education environment. While considerable focus is placed on ideas for delivering content to learners and on techniques for using our environment as a learning experience, the discussions often seem to lack a focus on ideas and tools for injecting material to be learned.

This leads me to another, potentially more controversial, possibility. If the PLE concept personifies the democratization of learning, is it equally fair to extend to concept to teaching?

Is it heretical to want SCORM packages (or their future equivalent) created by citizens delivering their own learning content? Is it insane to imagine a Flickr/YouYube/Blogger for learning content?

We discuss the learner in us all. Are we ready to discuss the teacher in us all?

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