PLE

This is not my first time mapping my personal learning environment. A previous incarnation can be found discussed here and here. Looking at the diagram from 2018, I am a little surprised how much has remained, despite moving across the continent and going back to a job with an office. (I was a stay-at-home dad then.) I wanted to do something different this time, instead of the circular structure I’ve used in the past, so I thought I’d place it over a tree and group the four parts. I see now that my understanding of a PLE is kinetic: in the 2018 diagram, I used the metaphor of a wheel, with information clodding on and spinning off, maybe sticking long enough to be reflected upon; in the 2021 diagram, I am following the course of sap in a maple (or birch) tree.

Sugar is made by photosynthesis in the leaves. That’s connection. Sap (sugar water) moves down through the branches and the trunk. That’s collection—for the tree. Sap accumulates and is stored in the root structure of the tree for the winter. That’s where reflection can happen (not that a tree reflects on anything, but then there’s this). In the spring, sap goes back up the trunk to power leaf formation, and some of it is tapped off by humans. That’s sharing.

Here are two earlier drafts. In the first, I included app icons for some of the tools I use and media I consume regularly. That looked cluttered to me, so I deleted them. From the second to the third, I changed the location of the SHARE section, to better illustrate sap flowing out, rather than only back up, and to be a little less symmetrical.

Much of my PLE is mediated by my iPhone, especially in the Connect realm. Collecting and sharing happen largely on my laptop. Information comes in by email, on radio and podcasts, from Google and Wikipedia, among other sources. It goes out by email, Zoom and FaceTime, and social/professional/educational networking apps.

My reflection is hard to identify right now. As I looked at my old blog posts, I realized that I am listening to much of the same music, and I am still washing diapers, but these things do not have the same reflective effect for me that they did three years ago. And now that I work from home, due to the pandemic, my daily walking commute has been replaced by baking bread and cookies, but that is not as conducive to focused reflection. I can’t believe that I have no reflection in my PLE; but it is not focused in a way that I can identify.

As I was working on this, my wife asked me if I have an internal monologue. She had just read an article on a science website about people who have no voice in their head. My internal monologue is never silent—never. Perhaps that is my reflection, and perhaps that is why I cannot identify it.

Project

For my unit-sized lesson plan, I prepared and delivered a four-session unit on “skills and values” for a Vocational Exploration course being tought by two of my colleagues. The course is one credit hour, pass/fail, seven weeks long, offered in the second half of the semester. In fall 2019, it met Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:10-1:00 pm, in a computer lab in the library. There were eight students in the class, ranging from first-years to seniors. Their majors included Business, Criminal Justice, and Psychology. I had existing relationships with four of them; the other four I did not know. The lessons that I taught were scheduled for the last two weeks of the semester, the weeks before and after Thanksgiving break.

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Pedagogy Article Review 2

Returning to Online Pedagogy after a long break, I found that I was still interested in the learning theories—behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism—that were discussed in the second module (previous post). In the intervening time, I also took a course that discussed Indigenous ways of knowing and passing on knowledge. This led me to wonder if there is research documenting an “Indigenous learning theory.” A search of that phrase in academic databases eventually brought me to Elizabeth Lange’s (2004) article “Transformative and Restorative Learning: A Vital Dialectic for Sustainable Societies,” which, as the title suggests, explores an application of transformative learning theory. Knowing little about transformative learning theory, I also read a chapter of Edward Taylor’s (1998) The Theory and Practice of Transformative Learning: A Critical Review, which I found in Lange’s works cited, for more background. Although transformative learning theory does not exactly satisfy my search for an Indigenous learning theory, it has potentially interesting applications for my work.

Lange, E.A. (2004). Transformative and restorative learning: A vital dialectic for sustainable societies. Adult Education Quarterly, 54(2), 121-139. Retrieved on 26 December 2020 from www.researchgate.net. DOI: 10.1177/0741713603260276

Taylor, E.W. (1998). The theory and practice of transformative learning: A critical review (ERIC Clearing-house on Adult, Career, and Training for Employment, Information Series No. 374). Columbus, OH: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Retrieved on 27 December 2020 from files.eric.ed.gov.

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Pedagogy Article Review 1

After reading George Siemens’s 2005 proposition of Connectivism as the new learning theory of the digital age and Mohammed Ally’s 2008 discussion of online learning theories, I wondered if Connectivism had been accepted and become relevant in the decade since. (I should have had some indication, based on its inclusion in this course, that it had.) I searched for “connectivism” in the Rasmusen Library, and this short, very recent article was the third result.

Utecht, J., Keller, D. (2019). Becoming relevant again: Applying connectivism learning theory to today’s classrooms. Critical Questions in Education, 10(2), 107-119. Retrieved 12 September 2019 from search.ebscohost.com.

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PLN Revisited

a diagram of a personal learning network: two concentric circles labeled reflect (inside) and collect (outside) surrounded by arrows and boxes representing connection and sharing

I was hoping to revisit my PLN from the beginning of the semester and find some great evolution or fulfillment, but I don’t think much has changed in the illustration I posted then. I have made some efforts toward a public PLN page on my website, but it is not ready to be published. I have also thought of two things that should have been added to the “Reflect” circle: diaper washing and music.

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A New Course Title

We had a discussion at the beginning of the semester about what this course might better be called. “Web 2.0 Fundamentals: Participate, Produce, Publish” is getting dated. Looking back over the semester, I think that the Personal Learning Network (PLN) was the unifying theme, giving meaning to the Web 2.0 Fundamentals and tools that we engaged during the course. Our domain/blog/eportfolio was the manifestation of that. I think now that a succinct and accurate new title for this course might be “Online Personal Learning Networks and Domains.”

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Collaboration: Reflexion on the Creation of the Class Annotated Bibliography

In the weeks just before Thanksgiving, our class collaborated to create an annotated bibliography of interesting and relevant sources related to teaching with web tools. Seven students, plus the instructor, worked in a shared Google Doc, all with editing privileges. 

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Media Creation: Log Screencast

For my media creation project, I created a screencast. This is something I have done many times before, but this time I used different screen capturing software and uploaded the final product using Kaltura MediaSpace. My previous videos were recorded, edited, and uploaded using Screencast-o-matic or Screencastify; for this one I used the native screen capture feature in MacOS Mojave and edited in iMovie. Always in the past, I have been in too much of a hurry to caption my videos, since they were produced on demand and students needed answers right away, so this was my first time doing that, also.

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