Research Log of Web Science Students

Computer Science is not simply programming

Our Thesis is not an Application

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But rather a new approach to learning using technology. But I’d still adamantly tell you that there is nothing like a personal learning environment — of the type that is built using php and jquery.

PLEs have existed for as long as people have been studying.

A PLE is comprised of all the different tools we use in our everyday life for learning.

So whether you prefer to use markers and stickies or listen to your ipod and eating chips suits you better while studying, that’s technically your own PLE!

What our thesis has to offer is another option.

Instead of using markers, you can use the diigo bookmarklet to highlight webpages (in case you weren’t able to photocopy readings and those are available on the web but that’s highly likely with Google books). All your highlights are preserved so you can view them later but  you can also look  at them in another way on a separate page…and add your thoughts and comments like they were short tweets!

I’ve always liked the idea of Post-Its because they’re fun to stick around and colorful to look at.  I like  my own PLE to make  me highlight web pages and add post its beside those highlights. Or for variation,  I can jot down notes instead using a customized font of my own handwriting and juxtapose it anywhere I want on the reading I am studying. Sounds pretty cool right?

Nah not really. The developer in me starts to kick in: “How on earth will I code that? ” But then again the PLE is NOT an application. It’s something abstract. Can you imagine a concrete something for the word studying? Sort of, I’ll try by saying studying involves reading. It always does. Oh and taking notes and using markers. Then too there should be a table where the learner can take his notes. And he should be in a quiet place.

But wait! That’s my style.  Some people don’t use markers and certainly not everyone likes a quiet place.  I know someone who likes listening to jazz music with a mocha latte on the side.

Different people. Different ways of studying that works for them. But certainly there are similarities. In studying, there’s always something that’s studied, a resource for knowledge. Ahhhhh…the learning object! And everyone looks for learning objects that they like. What differs is how each processes the learning object. Like I said some people use markers and some people don’t.

But I guess that’s the first thing about PLEs. Let me put that on my list:

Learning Objects – the real word artifacts: books, notes, readings and then there are the digital versions: ebooks, enotes (hahaha very funny), videos, podcasts, blogs, static text, forum topics, im conversations. Ha! That’s more like it.

What one does to it I guess our thesis doesn’t really care. I’ve realized that we, as researchers, our goal is just to provide a place for learners to manipulate their objects. It’s different in the digital life. You can’t just get a marker like you do in a bookstore. That thing has to be programmed by someone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about shaping our PLE using one learning style — my learning style — and I guess I realize now I am wrong. I think got too excited about design patterns at one point.

The challenge for us now is to come up with an alternative approach to learning that is “pedagogicaly neutral”. I guess when I said that “there is nothing like [a PLE] out there” I think I meant that right now there “is no such thing as a “pedagogicaly” neutral software.

No our thesis is not an application but another approach to studying in the form of an application:

[An  Environment  that]could allow a leaner to configure and develop a learning environment to suit and enable their own style of learning.

All educational software, implicitly or otherwise,
either enhances or restrains certain pedagogic
approaches to learning. There is no such thing as
pedagogically neutral software. A Personal
Learning Environment could allow a leaner to
configure and develop a learning environment to
suit and enable their own style of learning.
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Written by Jose Asuncion

August 5, 2009 at 11:04 am

Posted in Hardwire

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