Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Speculating: Blogs as .......

I've been reading discussions over the past few weeks about blogs as personal learning environments. This got me thinking a lot about the personal development planning and eportfolio system I developed in 2001 and which never got to take off in my institution for a variety of reasons. Systems like ELGG came close to what I did and did a bit more on social networking/FOAF side with the metaphor of personal learning landscape. But the metaphor I had at the time I started was more of learning journey. But in the system I created there was the element of Etienne Wenger's "learning trajectory" - past, present and future all together. In Etienne's research agenda, the notion of identities also figures strongly and this I believe is an important element too. So right now I'm thinking of Blog as a combination and/or aggregation of ...

.... learning journey
.... learning trajectory
.... (learning) identities

In the system I built, the learner could connect different areas (knowledge, skills and attributes) of their learning together - cross-hyperlink them. I never did manage to display this visually in the way I wanted (as per the Brain software) but I still think all of these elements are important. The system is still missing important elements like showing connections to people, and the possibility of providing a genealogical view ... i.e. multiple ways of looking at the journey.

Now with our online identities being spread all over the net, in comments in various blogs, flickr, del.icio.us, etc., and at various events, we need a way to bring these together simply and quickly. And we need to visually show (semantically, socially and genealogically) our journey, trajectory and identities all in one ... something that aggregates and connects our learning into one visual interface for our lifelong personal portal (side track: I think this means we would need to be able to tag our own comments, not just our posts).

In Europe a year or so ago, eportfolio people were talking about an eportfolio for life. The notion of whatever we system we use being fir life is key if the ownership is really going to be, as it needs to be, with the individual (and not any one course or institution).

Blogs weren't ever designed for this purpose and, as they are now, aren't ready to do this. But the world has moved on a long way since the time when blogs were first developed. We need something now that will aggregate all of our 'selves' and visually display our journey, trajectory, and identities, in multiple ways. Maybe the front end is something like a personal portal/aggregator in (building out from the likes of protopage and netvibes) with an interface that allows for multiple representations of our aggregated selves.

The EduGlu project that D'Arcy and others are just starting to get going one element of this jigsaw - although maybe we need personalGlu, rather than EduGlu. But what are the other elements that are key? How do we connect them together? How can we display them in multiple ways? How do we tie this to the individual for their life (or as long as they want) and not a single course, or a single institution, or a single organization or a single community?

4 Comments:

At 11:23 PM, Blogger D'Arcy said...

We already have PersonalGlu - http://www.suprglu.com - but what is needed to help transition The Academy into properly taking advantage of this is an intermediate baby step of institutionalizing aggregation. For now, we need to honour the concept of Class, so need to provide a tool that groks that. I'm totally seeing EduGlu as a short-mid-term solution, before we are more comfortable with the anarchy that is required to make this stuff really sing...

 
At 11:46 PM, Blogger Nick Noakes said...

D'Arcy thanks for the comments. The personalGlu I'm thinking of would capture a lot more; suprglu + cocomment (and where it's going from the comments on your blog) ++ and know doubt more as I'm posting early thoughts .... maybe too early.

I'm not sure I agree with you about institutional honouring the concept of class. I think we need to honour the student perspective, academically at the level of program, and non-academically.

 
At 3:57 AM, Blogger D'Arcy said...

well, yeah... but if we walk into a school and say "here's a tool that will let you access a student's relevant bits of net stuff" they're going to ask how that relates to classes. A teacher isn't going to want to filter a bunch of feeds, they're going to want a "show me stuff for my Grade 9 Science Class" and perhaps some additional criteria...

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger Nick Noakes said...

D'Arcy when you say "A teacher isn't going to want to filter a bunch of feeds, they're going to want a "show me stuff for my Grade 9 Science Class"", can you say what the situation is here between the teacher and the student?

When I read this it sounds a little bit like a teacher assessing a student's work situation. Just want to make sure I've understood you fully before continuing the conversation.

It feels like we're coming at this from very different and valid/important angles: you from getting teachers to adopt/use tools, such as the yet to be EduGlu, to help them and me from helping students to make sense of all the 'bits' of their learning.

 

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