Google has severely diminished the chance that I will ever just take your word for it that you know something. It has, however, made me the biggest know-it-all on the planet. And now, with the introduction of iGoogle as my Personal Learning Environment (PLE), it has made me the biggest, most organized know-it-all on the planet.
It is no secret that I am an obsessively organized person. My students love to alter my desk by moving my stapler, tape dispenser, keyboard, etc., just inches from the way I left it the day before and watch to see how long it takes me to adjust it back… all for their own personal entertainment. In the past, it was even a game for co-workers to rearrange my personal space just slightly to see if I would even notice. I noticed. And like clockwork, I moved the right picture back to the right frame, adjusted my computer screen back to the correct angle, and redistributed my pens and pencils back to the appropriate dispenser. I would like to take this time to personally thank Google for allowing me to now protect my personal space with my own unique password. Every time I leave and come back, my links and gadgets are exactly where they are supposed to be.
A couple of months ago I created my very first iGoogle page. I didn’t think that I could love Google anymore than I already do. I was wrong. This month I was assigned the task of creating different tabs on my iGoogle page. No longer is it necessary for me to create list after list of bookmarked pages, now I can just link them to the appropriate tab in my PLE. Before I reveal what my PLE looks like, I shall first go on a rant and express my personal opinion on PLEs. Because it’s my party and I’ll rant if I want to.
“The term personal learning environment (PLE) describes the tools, communities, and services that constitute the individual educational platforms that learners use to direct their own learning and pursue educational goals. PLEs represent a shift away from the model in which students consume information through independent channels such as the library, a textbook, or an LMS, moving instead to a model where students draw connections from a growing matrix of resources that they select and organize.” (From 7 Things You Should Know About Personal Learning Environments) I recognize that not all learners learn the way that I do thus the utilization of a PLE would only seem necessary for successful learning. In other words, why wouldn’t you use it?
The current debate is whether or not PLEs will supplant or augment e-learning platforms. In my opinion, there is absolutely no debate. I don’t understand how anyone could think that a PLE would supersede other e-learning platforms such as Course Management Systems like Blackboard and WebCT. If a PLE replaced such Virtual Learning Environments, then what learning could take place collaboratively? Don’t we all need a place to gather collectively and be delivered specific content-focused information and THEN go consult our PLE for further exploration? Um, duh. Instead of suggesting that PLEs will replace these essential e-learning platforms, why not advocate that PLEs will only enhance crucial learning in these flourishing virtual learning environments? Fear of the unknown? Maybe. Apprehension in embracing the next “new” thing? Possibly. But as for me… I do not fear the unknown, I welcome the unknown. I am not apprehensive about the next new thing, I am enthusiastic about the next new thing. So without further ado, my next new thing:
Final Note: I secretly wish that iGoogle came in purse form. I hate carrying a purse. I’d rather just carry my Mac everywhere.