Week 1: Personal Learning Networks

The ‘play’ and ‘reflect’ activities from this week encouraged us as students and individuals to engage with social media, such as Facebook and blogging (the About Me post below being the result). The process of joining the Facebook group was not challenging, however reflecting by providing a post about who I am, my current studies, my views and other personal things encouraged me to think about what I wanted to communicate and share in an interesting way with my new class group.

Tools such as these enable us to connect virtually and creatively with others. It was interesting reading Stephen Downes’ view of where we, as a collective society, are now. With regards to e-learning and the value of technology. In his article E- learning 2.0, from the eLearn Magazine website supported by the Association for Computing Machinery he noted the “advent” of ‘digital natives’ who seem to inhale changing technology like oxygen and internalise it easily (2005). I have felt that I have seen this often with students at a young age who explore and intrinsically utilise technology, such as iPads. Often it seems like the rate of technology is advancing exponentially and that adapting to this ever changing environment is highly important.

Personal learning networks can be important for this adaptation. Communicating with others, especially like-minded individuals, helps and encourages the sharing and processing of information. My perception of personal learning networks is that it seems like Piaget’s constructivist view through which the sharing of knowledge and information are like nonlinear ‘building blocks’ that support further learning or pieces of knowledge. For example, if a learning environment is supportive a person can acquire new knowledge which links to their already existing knowledge or ‘base’ knowledge thereby making it easier to understand and process. Forming connections in this personal learning network space can encourage individuals to be supported and actively seek and participate in meaning making. It offers an opportunity to discuss and interact informally and openly, which can be invaluable for many reasons.

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