Week 4 of PLENK2010

One of the readings this week is some advice from Dave Cormier in Cluster and Focus -> Surviving Week 4 of a MOOC.

The advice of cluster and focus is wise and timely.  I have been feeling a overwhelmed at all the information.  So many paths to take, so many exciting conversations, which way do I go? which way should I go.  So I am taking a moment to re-evaluate my own goals in joining PLENK2010.

My original goals…

  • I wanted to connect with other like-minded professionals and learn from others.
  • I have wanted to learn more about PLE/PLN and Open Learning and this was a perfect opportunity to learn and experience these two ideas.

During the first week’s discussion of PLE/PLN several thoughts and ideas came crashing together with the phrase Personal Learning Ecology. I have been focusing, at least my thoughts in this directions since week one.  I feel like I side-stepped week two, am trying to play catch up for week 3 and am thankful for Dave’s post about looking for a focus.  I still need to create my “mindmap”, but I have yet to find the right tool to create what I have pictured in my mind.  I also feel like my PLE (I use this term in the sense of Personal Learning Ecology) is a work in progress, perhaps even still in that primordial goo, trying to figure out how to connect all the atoms into a coherent whole.

So to add to my first two goals, I now want to explore, extend, expand upon this idea of Personal Learning Ecology.  I like the living, breathing, changing nature of it.  I like the idea of a system – its speaks order, purpose and potential to me.  I like the personal nature, it is mine.  It does not need to look or act like yours.  Learning is central.  I honestly do not know how not to learn.  I have moments when information comes to my mind and I can’t recall how I know that little known obscure tidbit, but I do.  There are days I come home and just want to shut out all the “inputs” – no light, no sound and yet my mind continues to work, searching for connections from the day until some other “input” demands my attention or grabs my curiosity.

I am going to add this – “Do more about Personal Learning Ecology” to my list, hopefully there are others who will want to “cluster”.

In another presentation that I attended via elluminate on Monday from The Future of Education Foundation Elevating the Education Reform Dialog, I was brought again to that age old question “What is learning?” So many things rest on how one defines this action.  So I add to my list – “Create my definition of learning”.  This is the central word in my PLE, so I think I should be able to define it for me.

So my goals are now

  1. Connect with other like-minded professionals and learn from others.
  2. Learn more about PLE/PLN and Open Learning
  3. Do more about Personal Learning Ecology
  4. Create my definition of learning

3 Responses to Week 4 of PLENK2010

  1. Rita Kop says:

    Hi Lisa

    I really like your post. It shows your very personal pathway through the course and brings out all the insecurities that all of us feel, not only about the course, but also about our changing profession, as there is no doubt in my mind that technology is changing the way we teach and learn.

    I hope that this fourth week and the theories of learning and knowledge will clear up some of the fuzziness, although I can see you have already spent quite some time thinking about different theories of learning.

  2. Roger Sommerville says:

    Hi Lisa,
    After a holiday break and time away from PLENK10 I have returned to your personal ecology model and may have added some points of interest in my blog that help merge traditional communication and learning with internet based connectivity.

    Like you I have found it hard to maintain a focus within PLENK10. As we recognise that we are now at the centre of our learning so must shape it ourselves and not wait for others to do it perhaps we just accept that doubt and a little confusion are natural parts of our learning ecology.

    Although I applaud researchers and data collection I keep coming back to the fact that individual adults get on with their learning and pay not one scrap of notice to learning theory as they do it. I know plenty of adults who were almost non-learners in some years of their secondary schooling who became explosive learners when inspired by a job or a special interest. This group does not dwell on efficiency of learning or respected pedagogy they learn what they want and need as they wish – this learning is explosive in that it can be done very quickly and involve long hours and many different sources. It can stop just as quickly when the need disappears. How does that fit the learning ecology model?

    Roger S

    • lkidder says:

      Roger –

      It has taken me a while to respond, but in my reading The Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra, I ran across the idea of “emergence”, which fits very nicely with what you are describing.

      “Throughout the living world, the creativity of life expresses itself through the process of emergence…Designed structures are always created for a purpose and embody some meaning…Human organizations always contain both designed and emergent structures. The designed structures are the formal structures of the organization, as described in its official documents. The emergent structures are created by the organization’s informal networks and communities of practice…We need both.”

      I have some more brewing on this topic which should show up in the next post.


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