Last year I started asking around, on Twitter, for the origin of the acronyms that I was reading so much about. ‘Personal Learning Networks’ (PLNs) and ‘Personal Learning Environments’ (PLEs) were so often used by the educators that I was following that it was surprising no-one really could source them.
Recently, I have had more luck. Both David Warlick and George Siemens were generous in their explanations and insights. Stephen Downes’ comments and posts helped put it all together and one just followed the breadcrumbs.
“The term ‘Personal Learning Network’ is directly derived from ‘Personal Learning Environment’, which as history shows was first used at the The Personal Learning Environments Session at a JISC/CETIS Conference in 2004.”
completes the picture (although I do not understand the politics of this completely) and places these terms in context.
This post is really about framing these concepts for potential use in a NSW DET context. I believe that we should use PLN as a term for teachers/staff and PLE in relation to students’ learning needs. I wrote to a ‘system leader’ outlining this last year:
If we facilitated a model that emphasised each professional teacher developing their understanding and skills on how to create a Personal Learning Network (PLN) using Web 2.0 tools along with traditional notions of professional development (professional associations, regional networks, school-based TPL), it is possible that a quantum leap forward in how students were taught and learn, may take place
If we developed a model that emphasised each student having a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and facilitated staff understanding of how this could be undertaken, learning outcomes would not only be enhanced but potentially, teachers and students could adapt more readily to technological change due to the development of this most flexible of models.
Considering the evolution of the acronyms, surely we could use them to communicate the changed teaching and learning landscape. How far do we educators (and our systems) have to go to get up to speed with the tools, and more importantly the pedagogy, that is needed for ‘our times’ and could this framing assist?
What are your thoughts on developing the PLE concept for students and that of a PLN for educators?
Finally, I am looking forward to Stephen Downes’ seminar next Tuesday in Sydney
NB Thought I’d update this post (October 2009) with a link to Stephen Downes’ latest archaeological dig.