My Personal Learning Environment (PLE) applied to Online Learning
What do I bring to an Online Learning setting?
1. I bring in My Accumulated Knowledge and My Energy Literacies – these include;
a. my abilities to allocate time for reflection and recognise my own understandings and where they are at.
b. Recognising how and when I learn best (get a flow going).
c. Recognising how I view the concept of “being able to expand my knowledge rapidly myself”.
d. Recognising how I can use my experiences to support other participants
e. Applying energy to growing my inquiring capacities
2. I bring My Inquiring Disposition Literacies – these are my abilities and interest in moving my learning and understandings along and their capacity to drive the rest of my PLE.
a. What are my Inquiring Literacies? How disposed am I to inquiry?
b. How well do I pose questions to encourage new lines of thought?
c. How well do I listen unreservedly to others?
d. How does coaching fit with my inquiring disposition?
3. I bring My Walking Wikipedias (all those people I know, know of and connect to) Literacies – these are my relationship literacies – building trust, listening and interacting capacities.
a. Have I got an easy access means to make online connections to those I work with? (Decide which of the Social Media tools you want to use – e.g. Skype but you will no doubt use others.)
b. Have I got easy online connection to the thinking of experts and practitioners in the field of education I am coaching in? (The term aggregator is applied to people or groups who bring together collections of sources and resources. An individual who does this is Stephen Downes, a Canadian Educator, who provides a daily newsletter full of links to new ideas and thoughts about education. Our http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz provides a wide range of sources and resources that have particular importance for NZ Education. You can set up your own aggregator using Google. Become a member of iGoogle. Once this is set up click on My Account or More, in the Menu bar, and add the Reader to your home page your Google Reader.
c. Do I actively reflect upon the meaning and intent of other people’s messages? Do I regard this as online listening? Remember the coaching listening patterns – I think it is a great idea to take your hand of the mouse while you consider an online screen – this slows down your desire to rush to the next link and enables a pause for reflection.
d. Do my online actions encourage others to explore their thinking, accept that tentative ideas are just fine, and model an inquiring disposition?
e. Does my online participation occur regularly enough to show I am a keen member of the community?
4. I bring My Sourcing Literacies – my finding, sorting, analyzing, storing and retrieving literacies. This is the most easily recognized set of online literacies as we all still see the internet to a greater or lesser degree as a giant encyclopaedia from which we take knowledge.
a. Finding – Google search has many different aspects – such as Google Scholar and does provide guidance about how to find “stuff”. You will only ever find a fraction of what is potentially available – do not be concerned about what you have missed – the best thinking keeps re-surfacing especially if you have an aggregation approach that brings them back to your attention.
b. Sorting and Analysing – slowing down to spend time weighing up what is useful will in the end save time – e.g. 2 useful sources of new ideas are much more useful than 10 possibilities.
c. Storing – very important for formative ideas, – if your retrieval systems are sound then getting back to sources, people and discussion should be easier. Openly discourage yourself from printing off resources but save resources you value – see below in My Computer. Note: Blogs are a simple way to keep track of your own thoughts, understandings and intentions – use a Blog.
d. Retrieval – Some of the social media developments have revolutionized our ability to track down new sources and resources. Delicious is probably the most common shared collection of online sources. Diigo is another. Each of these has a range of sophisticated systems you can use to stop your lists becoming unmanageable – using tags is of great value. Become a member of Delicious and see what happens when you enter a search for NAPP2011.
e. Resource Banks – Be fully aware of the nature of leadership resources on the various MOE sponsored sites such as http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz. Build your own resource banks and be able to retrieve them quickly.
5. I bring My Social Media Literacies – these include all my means of interactions with My Walking Wikipedias – usually a chosen interaction type fits the context of my communication.
a. Your Online may berelatively simple using a range of social media tools. Blogging, online discussion.
b. In Aotearoa we have developed Mahara as a means for educators to grow their capacity to use a range of social media to share and build understanding. Many Aspiring Principals will belong already and we have arranged for all of us to access to the MOE supported My Portfolio as this is a suitable place for Aspiring Principals’ portfolios to transition into life after NAPP 2012. It will provide the means to run a Learning Partners Group in a secure setting.
c. Facebook, Wikis and other free online spaces can provide useful additions to our online learning spaces.
d. Social media interactions provide us with two main types of interaction. Actively reflecting upon the meaning and intent of other people’s messages/articles/video clips etc involves a form of interaction with the publisher as it pushes us into more thought and action. The second interaction is publishing. Here we share our thoughts, understandings and knowledge as a means to help add to the community’s knowledge base and very importantly we sharpen then adjust our own understanding by encouraging the interaction of the minds of others with our own. E.g. Blogs – How to make better teachers , Six Steps to Making Sharing Part of How You Work
6. I bring My Computer and My Internet Literacies – Applying the technology as I attempt to satisfy My Inquiring Disposition usually follows a personalized path. As computers now have huge storage capacity a big issue for educators is to use a file and folder system that enables our minds to easily link into the pattern we need to retrieve files, references and links to our networks. These are useful suggestions;
a. Have a base folder for a new year – e.g. 2012 and within it apply the same folder headings used last year (e.g. Staff Professional Learning 2012), inside that in turn have sub-folders for different parts of professional learning. If necessary you can go back and retrieve files from previous years and save and adjust them as needed to fit 2012 operations.
b. Backup – ensure regular backups are made and copies stored on more than one site – using a back up in Google docs, making copies of past years. and then having 2-3 copies of the current years files on a portable storage device. Do not rely on just one copy! Dropbox provides storage in the clouds for duplicate copies of your personal files – these can then be accessed from anywhere you connect to the internet.
c. Periodically tidy up your computer – e.g. the Desk top, temporary files…
d. Have a system to link you to websites of interest – again use headings (or tags) that have linkage to your my Computer systems – common titles. There is a real advantage in being able to share tags with others – 10 minutes setting this up may save a staff many hours of searching. Frequently used websites need to be 1-2 clicks away.
e. My Internet Literacies – check you can open several tabs at once as you use your Internet Explorer or Firefox web browser. This is often useful when you considering 2-3 sources at the same time and borrow bits from each to place in a presentation.
f. Site Navigation – establish a quick and secure password/login system, spend a little time to sort the structure of the site/community you are in. This is like remembering the directions on a map – familiarity with the paths soon means you do not need the map.
g. Establish very clearly with yourself that learning time is really important every week. Within that time confirm set times for online networking – this may start as only 30 minutes linking to and reading online source materials. Establish online interaction as a requirement with yourself and make sure others know what you are doing and the benefit it brings. This value of publishing helping learning cannot be over emphasized.
h. Slow down your physical actions with the mouse/cursor – you are seeking understanding so give your brain a chance to reflect. In fact take your hands off the mouse.
i. Learn one new thing related to internet/computer use each month. E.g. hyperlinks
This blog entry aims to support online learners as they merge their face-to-face (“kanohi ki te kanohi”) learning worlds with internet based ones.