Just putting the finishing touches to a new site design. I have tried to move away from the blocked left or right menu system, actually any drop-down menus at all and I am trying to group information together to display in a sort of “On The Desk” design. Don’t know how well it will work for the whole site. Here is a picture of the X-Ray Library site main page, this is the Photoshop rough so all of the categories are not in yet but i like the look of it.
If you are old enough to understand the joke behind the title of this post you will probably need an explanation about what a Personal Learning Environment is.
A personal Learning Environment (PLE) is in its simplest form it is a selection of “web based” tools chosen by the user to support contact with teachers or lectures and tools for creating and disseminating their course work. Added to this outward communication needs of course to be the inward communication from learning specialists and institutions, these tools are also chosen by the user and complete the learning cycle. The idea of a PLE has been around for a while and i have seen several attempts to define and quantify what they would look like. I feel many of these attempts have some merit but the semi chaotic nature of the idea is what becomes the millstone around these attempts necks. The idea though i think is sound, a user controlled set of tools which they take with them as they grow and learn.
Steve Wheeler on his blog Learning with e’s has just written a helpful post on this area, one of his images of a suggested PLE by Joyce Seitzinger’s (Melbourne University) i find very helpful. The idea based on 4 quadrants of learning, where Joyce uses an office metaphor for the PLE. What struck me was the ease at which one of these communication structures could be built. For myself the portfolio becomes the area of active learning the other three quadrants largely are areas of discovery and storage.
If there is a weakness in the diagram i pulled in to this page it is that i don’t think there is enough richness or depth of possibility and a really good PLE needs this. Having said that it is a great starting place situating the idea into an environment we should all be able to understand.
The biggest headache I have as a Learning Technologist is trying to see the future clearly especially in a time of rapid technological change. Take “Flash” as an example, prolific on the web and an old friend when it comes to packaging multi platform content. A friend for life, then apple stopped supporting it on their mobile devices, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will not support it finally Adobe announce they are to discontinue support in preference to HTML 5.
So the life long friendship wi flash is now at an end, and the climb to learn and implement HTML 5 across all the future projects in the pipe line becomes a priority, browser testing shifts up a gear and desktop rebuilds to cope with the death of flash becomes a race against the ever percent burden of the IT guys.
Within this winter of change I am tasked to write a Blended Learning Vision document for the College, a vision to take us to 2016 which can be then used to inform and shape strategy for the next 3 years at least. Where do you start, a premature rush to HTML 5 or a reevaluation of all the software packages which output to Flash, what will the world look like in 2 years?
It is not always a bleak as I feel today, technology has always changed at a pace, the browser wars of the mid 90s were not always a disaster, moving forward with the implementation of new abilities and the early implementation of a media rich write to web was at times very exciting, what seems different now is the expectations of what can be done and the changes afoot to how we “do”.
Three big targets for this vision paper have to be Mobile computing, where the mobile refers to the human ability to be mobile and not get tangled up in the platform of the mobile, the veracious ability of users to consume rich media and still cry out for more and last but not least the Pedagogy of how our users will learn, what will be our predominant theory of the how do we learn.
Well time to get out my crystal ball and peer into a misty future and with uncertain steps start putting down my thoughts.
I have worked as a learning Technologist for 15 years and have seen massive changes in both technology and people’s attitudes towards the “How and what” of the world of teaching. Before that i worked as a contractor in systems and hardware support all over the south of England and in Europe.
On This site you can find links to my professional networks, information on where i work and what i am working on at the moment. You will also find my reflective thinking on the world of technology and learning, how and why we use what and the effects on both practitioners and our students on using technology.
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