Our daily immersion in the digital world is often taken for granted. Sometimes we really don’t see how much we have taken in and learned, whether inadvertently or purposefully, until we take a step back and reflect upon it. As we focused upon our personal learning environments (PLEs) this week, I was astonished at how mine has grown over time. I began by making a list of the technology tools I have used over the past year or two, and it included far more than ten. In fact, my final diagram included 25, but this was after eliminating tools and technologies I do not use very often.
I chose to utilize the 4 Cs model: Create, Collaborate, Collect, and Communicate. As I tried to categorize my tools, I found that the majority of my go-to resources fit into multiple categories. With this in mind, I felt the best way to illustrate my PLE growth was a tree. In essence, I feel that my use of digital resources are all solidly rooted in the 4 Cs, and all of my growth has been achieved over time with the use of the resources I placed in the tree. The “fruits” of my industry from the Cs are the resources. I tried as best as I could to place the elements in a section of the branches that aligned with the most appropriate Cs, but, again, many are multi-faceted. This would explain why my “tree” is composed of are intersecting collections of circuits and nodes, and since most of the resources are Internet based and accessible whenever and wherever, I placed my “PLE tree” in the clouds.
All different, and yet the same…
In comparing my PLE to my classmates, I noticed that the 4 Cs model was trending and that we tended to utilize several of the same tools/resources. We all listed at least one social networking tool, a blogging tool, management tools, and curation tools. Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, and Diigo all appeared in the diagrams I reviewed. These are all popular platforms in general, and through this reflection, I see why: versatility. Though each of classmates come from varied fields and backgrounds, we all converge in our utility of our PLE technologies; however, I noted that despite our choices in tools, we all tended to place them in different categories, which truly shows the beauty of personalized learning. We can seek out what we need, not what has been mandated or suggested as one-size-fits-all solution. We find support through our common choices and collaboration with other like-minded people. We take what we learn, and we turn around and synthesize it to create ideas and solutions four our personal contexts. Therein lies the power of technology and PLEs coupled with our own unique voices.