I recently wrote about my experience in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Connectivism and Connected Knowledge held during the fall semester of 2008.
Here I am back in a MOOC again in 2010 called PLENK10. It’s about personal learning environments (PLE) and personal learning networks (PLN). There are over 1000 people registered and it’s almost as overwhelming as the first MOOC that had over 2000 people registered. So why did I do it? Curiosity, desire to learn something new, a distraction from what I should be doing, I admire the people who are facilitating…Yes, to all of the above.
This first of this 10-week journey is about personal definitions and getting clarity on what PLEs and PLNs are all about. One thing for sure, the definitions and clarities will be different and we’ll have to live with that–so different than the traditional model of education! But in this instance it somehow works.
My understanding is that PLEs are the tools that one uses in their PLN. So PLEs might consist of social bookmarking sites, blogs, discussion forums (the course is on Moodle), Skype, and Elluminate, and these are controlled by me, the learner. I use Evernote to keep articles, videos and ideas; occasionally delicious to bookmark things, which is somewhat redundant, but more easily shareable than Evernote; Moodle for the discussion since that’s where the discussions are happening in this course; and this blog to reflect on what I’m learning. I use these to store knowledge and also to gain new knowledge.
I haven’t quite figured out what a PLN is. It all seems reasonable until I try to write it down. I know that it has to do with people—the facilitators and other learners, but that seems a bit simplistic. Let’s see how my definition evolves as I move into the course—right now I don’t see much of a difference between the two because it seems a PLE can have people too.
My favorite quote of the course so far from E. O. Wilson, the biologist (posted by Chris Saeger):
We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.