Primary PLE Please

Hi Steve, your reimagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.
That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills? Integrate it and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?
At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.
Maybe…
It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use? Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.
There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.
I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m seriously coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.
Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

PLE

I originally wrote this as a comment in response to this blogpost by Steve Wheeler/@timbuckteeth, but it was rejected for being too long.   So here it is, exactly as the comment was written.

Hi Steve, your re-imagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.

That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills?  Integrate and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?

At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.

So maybe…

It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use?   Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.

There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.

I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.

Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

teachernzandface.jpg

12 Responses

  1. I’m aiming to address some of these issues when I speak at ULearn in Christchurch this October. You are correct in saying that I tend to focus on mainly HE and FE contexts, but I also have a keen interest in what goes down in schools in relation to new technologies, and I aim to focus on the application of these ideas to learning in compulsory education contexts as I develop them. Thanks for your great response, and see you in NZ! 😉

  2. Aargh … you might grumble about Steve’s site not accepting too long comments, but yours doesn’t remember your comment if you get the antispam thing wrong 😦 [Well, firefox 3.6.6. doesn’t).

    I’ll try to remember what I wrote.

    For some time, I’ve seen creating a PLE like building a lego house.

    The most basic – we give the kids a pre-made set of wall, window, roof etc., They get to choose the colour & maybe if it’s a bungalow or a house. Luckily (in HE at anyrate, no-one’s seeing PLEs at that stage any more)

    Next stage – we’d give the students a standard set of bricks/doors/windows etc., & demonstrate a house; then encourage them to build one – with a few tweaks of their own.

    Next stage – you’d give them a much more random set of bricks – teach them how lego works – maybe show them a set of houses, some very traditional, some very wacky, to give them some inspiration.

    NExt up – you’d encourage them to incorporate other things that aren’t lego; maybe some would find other makes of brick that work; some might even try to hack their meccanno & stickle bricks to make them fit in.

    Finally, you’d have the students who arrive with the house they built earlier – and are looking for inspiration to change it.

    That’s where I’d like to be; but I feel that we’re nearer the top of the list in many cases.

    • Sorry about the commenting trouble. It’s almost guaranteed that when you’ve honed and refined a comment it disappears into the ether…there must be a law that applies 😉

      I like your Lego analogy, particularly the idea of a Lego/Meccano/Sticklebrick mashup. As adults we choose and use addons for our core PLE as new tools appear, adapting and discarding them as needed. If initially they don’t fit we bend, tweak mash and bash until they do what we want.

  3. I saw that one coming Steve/TeacherNZ (Name?).

    Use of web by minors may be seen as a problem but it is not. This is where the balance between the amount of control is needed from the institution.

    A CLE as we define it will allow control to both students and teachers/institution using cloud based tools. In HE and FE students should be considered more responsible of their actions, however the institutions should also promote web safety and ‘what not to do online’. In schools the control needs to be bit more biased towards the institution, gradually lifting it with older students.

    I do not know where and what is the right age – perhaps its personal and varies.

    • Hi Manish. I’m Michael Fawcett. Agreed. I have no problem with minors having web access or using web tools, but many do not allow minors to sign up for them until 13 years old. To get around this in school we use teacher/class accounts but, although this enables student use, it doesn’t allow real student ownership. Maybe this is part of the scaffolding process.

  4. With my CLE it may be possible to use class accounts to work on documents that are visible/editable by say anyone in the class (again problem with/benefits of anonymity remain)

  5. My name is Talisa (http://swaintalisaedm310.blogspot.com/) and I’ll be summarizing my visits to your blog on my EDM class blog (http://edm310.blogspot.com/) on 09/12/2010. All of these suggestions are very interesting. Particularly the PLE lego analogy. By allowing kids to create basic “houses” from what they’ve seen, you’d be giving them a strong foundation and understanding of general PLE’s without restricting their creativity. As they become older, it’s only natural that they’d need/want to change the structure. That’s a great analogy!

    I also do not have a problem with minors having access to the web as long as the institution is monitoring their activity. However, I don’t believe institutions should ever lift this control. The older kids become, the more trouble they can get into. At a certain age, maybe 13 or 14, it would be nice to lift that control and place more responsibility on the students, but it’s not very realistic. The institutions are still responsible for their actions.

    • As students increasingly gain access to mobile devices like cellphones (and some of the 8 year old students in my class have them + facebook accounts) the question of institutions controlling student internet access will be moot. Better to teach responsible, appropriate use at an early age rather than block and filter.

  6. Hi my name is Haley. I think that this is a very reasonable and realistic suggestion. Now of course ten years ago it would have been a complete joke. But in todays society technology has become a vital part of our everyday lives. So it makes sense to begin incorporating PLE/VLE learning at a young age. Why teach children to learn one way and then when the reach adulthood or higher learning they must switch to another form?
    I understand that it wouldn’t be a simple task though. The school system would have to settle on what restrictions there would be. Also the parents would have to be in agreement on what access their child can have. All in all it is a good idea though!

  7. Hello! My name is Tiphanie (http://owenstiphanieedm310.blogspot.com/) and I’ll be summarizing my visits to your blog on my EDM 310 class blog (http://edm310.blogspot.com/) on 09/12/2010.

    I think it would be a great idea to start introducing children to more technology at a younger age. It would help them ease into the technological world step by step instead of just throwing everything at them at once when they turn a certain age. Since technology is so important in our world today (right up there with math and being able to read in my opinion) it seems only right that we should teach children about things that will help them strive in life. So why not start teaching them how to work a computer as soon as possible? Many teachers in middle schools all around the country require you to know how to type papers and access an e-mail account and they throw that at you with little to no instructions in most cases. I believe any child would be more confident in doing these task when they were already familiar with doing them.

    While growing more familiar with technology at a younger age could prove a good thing I also wonder if they could grow bored with it like most children do with mathematics and science. After thinking further on this though, I realized that while math stays relatively the same, technology is constantly changing and would be very difficult to grow bored with. The fact that technology is constantly changing at super fast speeds only enhances the idea that children should begin learning technology at a younger age.

  8. Yes Tiphanie, I do agree with you about how rapid technology grows. I don’t think it’s ever possible for children to become bored with technology. By the time anyone masters version 1.0 of anything, the company comes out with 2.0, making your previous knowledge obsolete. And honestly, students would be able to keep up. It’s probably their suggestions that make companies release more updated versions.

    To TeacherNZ: I do agree that teaching students technological responsibility at a younger age would be amazing. And the majority of students would learn this responsibility. It’s unfortunate that these students have to be restricted because institutions know that some people (not just kids) never learn and will take advantage of any situation. Very moot topic indeed, teachernz…

  9. […] Primary PLE Please | What Now? What Next? So What? <span class="“> – Annotated […]

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