For the past month I’ve been working to understand the concept of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and learning ecologies. It’s a recent (last five years) buzz, mostly in non-U.S. academic circles that seeks to define what it means to have a network of relationships that enable your knowledge growth. The Canadians and the English seem to be leading these days.
And we’re all trying to figure out how to describe what it means for each of us. It appears mostly as mind or concept maps. Here’s one now.
Why do I want to learn
It’s pretty heady stuff, in the absolute sense of the word, often so abstract as to be less than meaningful. The simplest functional PLE tools are home pages, or collections of tools, web sites and web pages.
However, the more we are able to define it and lock it down, the smaller and more static our world becomes and the more information we are compelled to process.
I think pundits are striving for awareness at this point, that we each become aware of how information flows through us to become knowledge.
So, what about serendipity? How do random thoughts enter, fleshed out, into your learning ecology? Once the random thought becomes an intentional learning process, it’s a candidate for inclusion. But I’m thinking about the links that you follow, either in conversation or online, or down a library shelf, that intrigue you. When you get there, you find an idea so compelling that you follow it to some level of completion.
For example, in searching for a poorly remembered idea, I came across the concept of slow schools, which led me to slow cities. Slow cities!!! Who knew?
How do we map that kind of component? Or do we? Does that kill the butterfly?
Or maybe that’s what I am to you, a serendipitous connection? Thank you. That’s what you are too me too, a source of random interesting ideas. Or maybe that’s what my entire PLE is, good sources of interesting ideas.
What do you think? What are you thinking about these days?