Terry Anderson's skepticism about the likelihood of universities providing students with personal learning environments isn't surprising. He writes:
"Similarly, PLEs are nowhere near as easy to use to facilitate and support many of the educational functions that are trivial in modern LMS systems."Isn't this a bit like criticizing the design of a screwdriver because it doesn't work well for hammering nails? As far as I know PLE's were not created to facilitate the process of institutions educating students -- they're designed to help learners manage their own learning. Pretty much by definition, they are not institutional. An anonymous writer at myWORLD already articulated most of this view better than I could, and I was also reminded of the conversation that broke out in November around Dave Cormier's related post.
This stuff reminded me of an existing pattern and sent me back into my own virtual memory bank, particularly to a productive phase in this blog from late '03 to early '04. This is the same debate we've been having over the integration of other personal technology spaces into educational programs, especially blogs, games and e-portfolios (can anyone articulate how a PLE differ from a proper e-portfolio, or are we just bored with e-portfolios already?). Anyway, for my own reflective amusement, I collected a few of my own thoughts along that thread, most of which link out to the usual suspects:
- Informal vs. Formal Learning
- the conflict between real blogging and "educational" blogging
- Why Video Games Won't Thrive in Mainstream Education and more on games in education
- Designing for Students or Educators?
- the difficulty of combining social software with career planning portfolios
- Student Motivation and Blogging Portfolios
- E-Portfolios and Jumping Through Hoops
- Who Cares About Blogging for Its Own Sake?
wrote about this topic last year. Simply imagine PLE in the company of blogs and e-portfolios:
"Something as reflective, time-consuming, information-intensive and personally revealing as blogs and e-portfolios will only ever appeal to a certain subset of people who discover the benefits of the process. The education system tends to look at these successes and tries to force everyone to 'enjoy' the same benefits, but it won't work. Even if you 'converted' all of the administrators and teachers, most of the students are just going to be jumping through the hoops, particularly if the new tools just rehash all the old ways of doing things ('read Chapter 1 and answer the questions on p.211 in your blog')."Of course none of this is a criticism of the value of these concepts and technologies to help motivated people learn in self-directed ways -- I'm still fired up about that -- but please, let's not pretend that the education system can adopt them so that students will miraculously engage in the curriculum they're being taught.
Oh yeah, and much of this stuff came from OLDaily at some point...