Old town Tallinn, Estonia
Our text “Personal learning environments: A conceptual landscape revisited” (pdf) has just been published as part of eLearning Papers – Issue 35 Personal Learning Environments. The issue was edited by Ilona Buchem (Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Berlin) and Tapio Koskinen (Aalto University, Helsinki).
This paper reports on a renewed attempt to review and synthesise a substantial amount of research and development literature on Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) published in recent years. Earlier comprehensive review efforts (Buchem, Attwell, & Torres, 2011; Fiedler & Väljataga, 2011) had attested considerable conceptual differences within the research community. If and how these differences have qualitatively changed since 2010, is the focus of an ongoing literature review project. While the project is still work in progress, some provisional findings and insights are reported and discussed.
Buchem, I., Attwell, G., & Torres, R. (2011), Understanding personal learning environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. PLE Conference 2011.
Fiedler, S.H.D., & Väljataga, T. (2013). Personal learning environments: A conceptual landscape revisited. eLearning Papers (35), 1-16.
Fiedler, S. H. D., & Väljataga, T. (2011). Personal learning environments: Concept or technology? International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 2(4), 1-11.
Old town Tallinn, Estonia
“A person can never surrender his freedom. He can never make himself an object causally determined by the physical world because the very project of surrender, the very attempt to render himself causally deter- mined, must be a free choice of himself. A person cannot make himself determined by the world, for whenever or however he attempts to do it, he must choose to do it. A person can never not choose because, as Sartre says, ‘Not to choose is, in fact, to choose not to choose’…” (p.48)
Cox, G. (2010). How to be an existentialist or how to get real, get a grip and stop making excuses. London: Continuum.
Viru Raba, Estonia
Our text “Personal learning environments: A conceptual landscape revisited” will be published (open access) in mid-November as part of Issue 35 of eLearning Papers. Here is the abstract:
This paper reports on a renewed attempt to review and synthesise a substantial amount of research and development literature on Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) published in recent years. Earlier comprehensive review efforts (Buchem, Attwell, & Torres, 2011; S. H. D. Fiedler & Väljataga, 2011) had attested considerable conceptual differences within the research community. If and how these differences have qualitatively changed since 2010, is the focus of an ongoing literature review project. While the project is still work in progress, some provisional findings and insights are reported and discussed.
Many thanks to Terje Väljataga for working through this substantial amount of literature and for co-authoring this text with me.
Old town Tallinn, Estonia
“Researchers may be able to point out ways to `improve’ practice according to certain criteria, but they cannot assign to themselves the political act of legitimizing these criteria (cf. Ulrich, 1983, p. 308). It is an error to believe that good practice can be justified by reference to the research methods employed. Methods need to be justified by reference to their implications for practice, not the other way round!
In competent research, the choice of research methods and standards is secondary, that is, a function of the practice to be achieved. Good practice cannot be justified by referring to research competence. Hence, let your concern for good research follow your concern for understanding the meaning of good practice, not the other way round.
The suggested primacy of the concern for the outcome of a research project over the usually prevailing concern for research methodology (the `input’, as it were) is somewhat analogous to Kant’s (1788, p. A 215) postulate of the `primacy of practice’, by which he meant that practical (ethical) reasoning is more important than theoretical-instrumental reasoning; for practical reasoning leads us beyond the limitations of theoretical knowledge. I would therefore like to think of our conclusions in terms of a primacy of practice in research… ” (p. 9).
Ulrich, W. (2001). The quest for competence in systemic research and practice. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 18(1), 3-28.
Pääsküla Raba, Tallinn, Estonia
“…in the project of conventional education, meaning making is mediated neither by the teacher’s question nor by the students’ questions. It is not mediated by the teacher’s question because the teacher should not have genuine questions about the subject matter with the students. If the teacher does have genuine questions about the taught subject matter (on a systematic basis), he or she is viewed as incompetent. While it is true that people ignorant about some academic topic (but more experienced in learning) can successfully provide guidance about how to learn to another ignorant person (Matusov, Bell, & Rogoff, 2002), the conventional education project doesn’t recognize these experienced learners as “teachers” (especially in the school context). On the other hand, although students might have genuine questions that they occasionally raise in classrooms, the conventional education project does not treat these questions as a primary source of guidance for shaping the classroom curriculum. The students do not know where they are supposed to arrive – the teacher does. Thus, the students often do not have questions at all, or have “wrong” questions, according to the teacher, (i.e., so-called “off-topic” and “off-script” contributions from the teacher’s point of view, the teacher solely representing the education project in the classroom, see Kennedy, 2005). In the conventional education project, the unit of learning is not an information- seeking question that a student asks, but the correct answer that he or she produces at the teacher’s demand to an information-known question asked by the teacher. Neglecting the students’ (and the teacher’s) genuine information-seeking questions as the central unit of learning makes the conventional education project anti-dialogic yet again” (p. 5).
Matusov, E. (2009). Journey into dialogic pedagogy. New York: Nova Science Publishers.