Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Personal Learning Environments

The tech guru at our school has been thinking hard about how best to work with students and technology. He's pushing us to push the boundaries and meet students' needs in the best ways possible. This morning he shared an epiphany with me. He's been mulling over the idea of 'personal learning environments' and has created a working definition for himself. (I'm sure he'll correct my explanation if I'm missing something, at least I hope so.)

Here's an example: students are working on a study of oceans. In a group they could have a specific focus, say ocean currents. Their group would create a wiki as a base for all their research. They would create a group delicious site full of relevant links, a bloglines collection of feeds, and a blog that they write to share their thinking and their synthesis of their learning through the research. All of these sites would be linked in their wiki.

My question is, what else is a possibility? My feeling is that no piece will make sense for every group and for every project, but these seem like a good starting point. What other tools could help students research and/or pull their thinking together?

2 comments:

Jeff said...

What about Flickr/YouTube to include their images/videos? Or how about something like SlideShare or VoiceThread for a nicer final presentation than the wiki and an exposure to digital storytelling?

JM said...

Direct links using the Flickr/Youtube might be appropriate. Or export those videos and attach the file to either the blog or any of the other interfaces used. If you were creating a multi-class grouping (as in extending the learning to distant classes, for instance) - Videoconferencing might be interesting, allowing them to talk through ideas - especially useful for those students that need that extra "thinking" time before writing, (among various other reasons). It would also be great for them to conference with others, just as they would in class.