Primary PLE Please

Hi Steve, your reimagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.
That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills? Integrate it and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?
At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.
Maybe…
It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use? Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.
There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.
I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m seriously coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.
Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

PLE

I originally wrote this as a comment in response to this blogpost by Steve Wheeler/@timbuckteeth, but it was rejected for being too long.   So here it is, exactly as the comment was written.

Hi Steve, your re-imagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.

That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills?  Integrate and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?

At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.

So maybe…

It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use?   Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.

There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.

I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.

Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

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Games and Future Learning

In this video from Edutopia, James Paul Gee talks collaboration, problem solving, knowledge creation and much more. Eleven minutes well spent.

Thanks George.

Second Life

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I’m on a couple of  learning curves at the moment.  The gentler one of them is Google Wave (more of that in a later post).  The other, steeper curve, is Second Life.  Both of them have reminded me of what it’s like to be a new learner, unsure of the next step, wary of making  silly mistakes.
So how am I learning?  I’m learning with others, and in Second Life I’ve been lucky to connect with a community that really welcomes new learners.  The only stupid n0ob questions here are the ones that remain unasked.  So, thanks for the warm welcome Second Lifers and Jokaydians, it’s been an eye opening couple of months.
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I’m relatively new to Second Life, only really getting involved during the Jokaydia Unconference at the end of September.  Since then I’ve taken a few opportunities to join the Jokaydian community to further my Second Life experience and step a few rungs up the newbie ladder.
A couple of weeks ago I followed a tweet from @jokay and joined a Jokaydian foray, via Second Life, into Story Quest.  We met on the beach, geared up with backpacks and wal(k)ing sticks and, after watching the introductory video, we were transported by Marty Snowpaw to our destination.
On arrival it was immediately obvious that this was a carefully crafted world.  The lighting, objects and ambient sounds all combined to create an immersive experience (even on my lowly laptop) that drew me in straight away.
The underlying narrative was intriguing.  The story appeared to revolve around a recently deceased man and presented itself, to me, as an interactive biographical puzzle.  Who was this man Uncle D?  What had happened to him?  Plot elements and Easter Eggs were tantalizingly revealed as I explored (under the able mentorship of Jennette Forager).  I discovered references to “The Scarlet Letter” and I couldn’t help but read underneath it, seeing HIV/AIDS as the 21st Century badge of community shame.  Was this Uncle D’s story?  There were hints of sickness, of debilitating illness, of euthanasia.  Where was the story headed?
I know I could have discovered more if I wasn’t still learning the tools and I have a feeling the whole experience had much, much more to offer; a biographical narrative unfolding in tiny slices, equal measures of entertainment, education, mystery, wonder and enlightenment.  It was a powerful virtual experience, with a genuine emotive connection, made all the more real by the participants, writers and designers.  It just may be that virtual worlds are evolving into the next iteration of the narrative genre.  I wanted to dig deeper, but unkind timezones precluded further exploration and I was subsequently left with many questions unanswered.  Were the characters real or fictional?  Was this the story of an individual or a shaken cocktail of many?
As a novice in Second Life I’m still a bit of a lurker, listening rather than speaking, observing instead of participating, but if ever there was an experience to engage people in virtual worlds or virtual learning environments, this would surely draw them in.  Thinking with my teacher head- how much more powerful is a story that can be co-experienced with peers at a personal pace, with discoverable details that promote thinking, dialogue and multilogue between students?
All I know is that I’m going back, to discover more, to find the next clue, to read the next chapter, to know what happened, to complete the quest.
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