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You may never see them again.

Write to be read - be better than you need to be!

Get with it – embrace the technology and increase learning


Robert L. Fielding


So, you’ve been hearing about using social networking in the language classroom.  You know how to use Facebook and Twitter, you have a blog, maybe a website, but you are still uncertain about social networking.


Let’s begin by looking at your students – they are not new students – but they are changing the way they interact and learn.

Here’s a description of them.


They are students who are shaped by their environment. The environment they are exposed to is media rich, immediate, fast, engaging, dynamic and instant. Its electronic and digital, Its a communication medium with instant gratification. Marc Prensky, described the array of media the students are exposed to in his papers on Digital Natives . This is not all of youth today, many still struggle to gain education, to have a classroom to be taught in or to have seen a computer, let alone used one. Nor is it limited to just students, Adults too, can be "Digital Natives" as there brains like the brains of our students will adapt to exposure to technology.


The opening statement is the one to think about; students are ‘shaped by their environment’ – and that’s always been true; John Milton walking ‘the high lawns’ of Cambridge University, was influenced by his peers and the accepted genres of the day that were open to him to express himself,.


Today’s student is exposed to a dazzling, potentially enlightening, potentially threatening, very exciting array of media through which he may interact.


Here’s a thought – so is the teacher – at least he would be if he went to the places the student goes to – online places, not physical ones – you can do this stuff at home or in Starbucks, or in the language classroom – it’s up to you.


The point I want to make, if you haven’t got there yet, is that we as educators can’t afford to ignore what is happening to the input side of our students’ lives.


Get with it – go look!  There’s no substitute for a bit of personal research.  It pays dividends to find out what’s out there, as they say.  And guess what, once you get to know stuff – speak the lingo – know what a meme is – and the rest, you’ll be able to talk to your students in the language they are learning; you’ll be able to share what they are doing – you’ll be able to experience something of the environment shaping them – it will start shaping you.  Give it a try, but be aware of the enormity of it.  Focus on the needs of you and your learners in your classroom.


Networking sites in language classrooms


One teacher’s thoughts and experiences shared


Something a bit more serious – an article


How to connect your foreign language students with the world


Online wikispace


*** Teach with the Internet – lots of tools


Educational Networking


The 21st Century Learner – this is what learners can do!!


Online Educators – This is what educators can do!!


21st Century tools for teachers and students


Tools for Educators


Word search maker


Facilitating 21st Century Learning: Taking a measure of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) integration


Traditional and digital approaches


ICT tools and the visual learner


ICT tools and the auditory learner


ICT and the Read- Write learner


ICT and the Kinesthetic learner


ISTE Scenarios


Robert L. Fielding



Personal Learning Environment (PLE) – a new learningconcept or a new learning system?

by Zinayida Petrushyna — last modified Jun 12, 2008 06:25 PM

Although the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is a very new term, (van Harmalen (2006) argues the first recorded use of the term is November 4, 2004) the concept represents the latest step in an alternative approach to e-learning which can trace its origins to earlier systems such as Colloquia , the first peer-to-peerlearning system (released as Learning Landscapes in 2000), and to more recent phenomena such as the Elgg system released in 2003 . The PLE approach is based on a learner-centred view of learning and differs fundamentally from the alternativeLearning Management Systems or Virtual Learning Environments approach both of which are based on an institution- or course-centred view of learning. Van Harmelen describes Personal Learning Environments as “systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to 

* set their own learning goals

* manage their learning; managing both content and process

* communicate with others in the process of learning

and thereby achieve learning goals.” 

He goes on to say: “a PLE may be composed of one or more subsystems: As such it may be a desktop application, or composed of one or more web-based services."

Downes (2006) says “the heart of the concept of the PLE is that it is a tool that allows a learner (or anyone) to engage in a distributed environment consisting of a network of people, services and resources. It is not just Web 2.0, but it is certainly Web 2.0 in the sense that it is (in the broadest sense possible) a read-write application.” Important concepts in PLEs include the integration of both formal and informal learning episodes into a single experience, the use of social networks that can cross institutional boundaries and the use of networking protocols (Peer-to-Peer, web services, syndication) to connect a range of resources and systems within a personally-managed space. The ‘pedagogy’ behind the PLE – if it could be still called that – is that it offers a portal to the world through which learners can explore and create, according to their own interests and directions, interacting as they choose, with their friends and learning community.  Seely Brown (1999) has drawn attention to the social nature of learning: “Learning becomes as much social as cognitive, as much concrete as abstract, and becomes intertwined with judgement and exploration.”

The presentation will examine the social impact of Personal Learning Environments. In so doing, it is difficult to separate cause and effect. Personal LearningEnvironments can be expected to have a profound effect on systems for teaching and learning, on pedagogic approaches to learning and on knowledge development and sharing. Conversely, the emergence of PLEs and the widespread interest in PLEs may be seen as a reaction to the changing ways in which people are using technology for learning, to new societal demands for education and to changing forms of knowledge usage within society. The presentation will examine the question of whether Personal Learning Environments represent a new learningconcept or a new learning system?