There are already many ways of seeing PLEs and definitions are still evolving. I wonder though about the word environment. Brent Davis says, “Over the past several decades, there has been a tendency to use the terms ecological and environmental as if they were interchangeable, particularly within the popular media”. He goes on to argue that environment, from Old French words meaning “to place inside a circle” has a sense of separation and enclosure, a distinction between it and ourselves. Ecology, he says, is more about “webs of interactions within particular systems”. In other words it includes the notion of network. It would save a lot of time and anguish if we could agree on at least a working definition, if only because that would make it easier for us to talk to each other about it – fewer misunderstandings.
Much more important though is the shift in thinking required to truly embrace this approach to learning and teaching. The axioms of the dominant design concept need to give way to a completely different mindset. Govt/institutional policy statements do include requirements for student autonomy in learning but putting this into practice has been patchy.
So many things need to change that it’s hard to know where to start.
Davis, B. (2004). Inventions of teaching: A genealogy. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Well I missed the Elluminate session – it was 5am here in Auckland! Didn’t think I’d be able to say anything intelligent at that time in the morning, nor remember much of what I’d heard. Glad it was recorded, I’ll check it out at http://ple.elg.ca/course/moodle/mod/wiki/view.php?id=60&page=Recordings