Deeper Use of Technologies
Ubiquitous technology offers new approaches to computer-assisted learning. It is now possible to go beyond the boundaries of the classroom thanks to personal learning environments (PLEs) that students can use anywhere. By integrating lifelong learning with technologies, PLEs support self-determined and self-regulated learning, allowing a student to draw connections from resources that he or she selects and organizes. The student can also engage in personalized collaborations with other students. Thus, PLEs are complex knowledge systems helping students organize their learning freely and thus taking ownership of it. The learners get support to set and manage their own learning goals, organizing both content and process, communicating with the other students in this process, and achieving personal accomplishments through self-determined tasks. To sum up: learning environments are customized and personal, and students can set their own goals. These two simple features imply new forms of “courses.”
Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)
A PLE is a set of instruments loosely joined that work for the individual, as it can be adapted to each person. The most important aspects of PLEs are:
- learners are active, self-directed creators of content;
- learners have ownership of their data and are socially engaged;
- content is personalized with the support and data of community members;
- learning resources are authentic and almost infinite, like an open “bazaar”;
- self-organized learning has priority in contrast to the culture of most educational institutions; and,
- use of software tools is social and aggregates multiple sources.
Studies indicate that these features of PLEs can be highly motivating.