Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mapping my PLE/PLN for PLENK2010

I started out mapping out all the tools and doing a real diagram but that's like trying to understand how my brain works and I don't care that much about the details.  The point of the diagram above is that most of the annoyances I encounter with my PLE/PLN have to do with the bipolar nature of the beast.  There's "WORK", which is quite interesting, but constrained by "this is a government computer" types of issues, and there are PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL" interests beyond work.  There are work-tools and personal tools.  There are rules and confusing policies.   This is my PLE as I see it, though some of the tools listed on the WORK side of the brain made there way in the diagram only because they SHOULD be part of my PLE (if they were used effectively).

I posted a second diagram with more details of the tools involved in the PLENK Flickr group.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When We Think We Know

Here's the context:  A work-related group I participate in (committee type) is planning to organize a World Cafe.  I'm a participant with a limited role, no decisional power, advisory power at best.  I'm sensing from the conversation that few people in the room have direct, first hand experience with a World Cafe.  I have very limited first hand experience myself, perhaps just enough to know we (as a group) don't know enough.  I've attended one such event and didn't really get much value out of it.  Yet it appears that I've read so much about World Cafes (out of personal interest) that I feel as if I know more than other folks around the table.

It's not clear that I really do but let's focus for a second on HOW I know what I know about World Cafes.
  • I haven't learned much from my limited direct experience with a World Cafe (other than the fact that a first experience with a World Cafe isn't necessarily a very positive one)
  • Until last week I didn't own any book or manual about how to handle World Cafes
  • I've probably collected some resources about World Cafes when I was focusing my attention on learning through conversations
  • I've probably followed a few blogs from people who talk about World Cafes
  • I've been particularly interested in the use of graphic facilitation in the context of World Cafes
  • I had a few conversations about World Cafes with individuals who didn't necessarily have much more experience with World Cafes than I did. 
The result is that through my PLE (yes, I had to find a way to connect this to PLENK2010), I may have developed a sense of "knowing" what a World Cafe is all about, when in fact, it's quite superficial knowledge and until I'm more deeply engaged in participating in and organizing World Cafes, I should be careful not to claim that I know much about them.

Somehow connected to... Where Your Brain Figures out What it Doesn't Know (NPR)... which also reminded me of Teaching Smart People How to Learn (HBR).
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Thoughts about PLENK2010 ... so far

Random thoughts... about PLENK 2010 as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
  • Liked the #Plenk2010 Daily, a summary of posts on Twitter.  I'm not a heavy Twitter user but this course has already prompted me to learn a few Twitter tricks I didn't previously know (I learned to use the delayed posting function). I tweeted from my iPhone (typos included). 
  • Watched the recordings of the Elluminate sessions.  I don't really feel any need to be there live and participate in the sidebar chatter.  It's too confusing to me, requires a split brain to follow the presenters and the side conversation.
  • Tried to add my blog feed to that of others but I'm not sure I provided the correct information.
  • A lot of the traffic is noise, but that's the reality of much of what we face in the workplace.  We all need to learn to deal with noise and to better filter information.  
  • Reconnected with someone I'd not been in touch with for a long time.
  • Talked about PLENK with a colleague at work who doesn't have any special interest in PLEs but understood what I was talking about in terms of using different media to connect and reach out to people across the globe.
  • Posted more on Twitter this week than any previous week since I opened my account more than a year ago (I'm guessing).
  • Learned (from a fellow PLENK participant) that there is a multi-user version of Tiddlywiki called TiddlySpace. I'm a certified Tiddlywiki fan.
  • Learned at least one new word: rhizomatic.
  • Set up a Google Alert for PLENK2010. 
  • And... many of the participants appear to be in the education field -- which makes sense.  I'm coming at the PLE/PLN/PKM discussion from the perspective of lifelong learning and personal professional practice more than as a tool for students.  
 None of this seems to mean a lot right now.  Patience required.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PLE, PLN, PKM --- I get it, it's about the P, it's personal.

I don't really think in terms of personal learning environments and personal learning networks but more in terms of personal knowledge management plan, which I see as more action oriented and focused. To implement my personal knowledge management plan, I use a number of tools and techniques (my Personal Learning Environment) and I draw upon the people within my network (Personal Learning Network).

I'm still trying to figure this out but I don't want to spend too much time on terminology. It's personal in the sense that it is uniquely my creation and my responsibility.  It's what works for me and what works for me is continually changing so I'd rather go with the flow rather than spent too much time defining what it is right now or what it has been in the past.  The problem is with this approach is that it's difficult to have a conversation with other people - especially a conversation with 1000+ people- if we're all using similar terms to mean completely different things.

I'm repeating myself.  I've blogged about this in the past (in February 2009).  I probably said something different at the time. 
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PLENK2010 vs/and writing

Yes, I have found yet another way to distract myself with an interesting activity that will take time away from my ongoing novel project.  Someday I'll get my priorities right. If I had a deadline on the writing/editing tasks, this would not be happening.

I've signed up for PLENK2010, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).  I don't think it should be called a course.  It's a semi-organized learning environment where ~1000 folks with a similar interest in Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are going to read about and mostly talk about PLEs.  It's a gigantic dispersed, networked conversation around PLEs and related topics.

Now that I think about it, my writing/editing tasks can be seen as part of my big picture PLE.  To the extent that I still consider myself an amateur writer and the writing/editing I am currently doing is more of a learning experience than an income and deadline-driven activity, then taking part in PLENK2010 is not in conflict with my writing/editing goals.

I may have a tendency to compartmentalize and construct barriers and boundaries when there really shouldn't be any.  Making connections where there were none before is going to be one of my goals.  Isn't that how we learn, by building on what we already know (or think we know)?
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Monday, September 06, 2010

The New Social Learning

I've just finished reading The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social media, by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner.  It's an easy read, full of examples of how organizations have done it. 
  • I can see how social media tools can greatly support ambient awareness and individual learning in the sense that it can help anyone stay current professionally.  It's great for personal knowledge management (if you incorporate reflection time).
  • The new social learning helps you connect to a great variety of people you would not have connected with otherwise, but does it really help you in the daily work routine.  For some positions and organizational functions (if your work involves attending a lot of conferences, if you work in the public affairs office of an organization, the knowledge management office, etc), social media is transforming the nature of work.   I'm not sure this is the case for the majority of jobs.  It has also transformed personal knowledge management and informal professional development for everyone.
  • How do social media tools affect group / team learning?  I will probably have to take a closer look at the book but I didn't see a lot in there about how social media support small teams and group learning. I can see how it supports learning in a very broad and general sense, but I am more interested whether social media can be applied effectively in small group settings and how. The book doesn't seem to pay a lot of attention to the difference between social media tools that support global connections vs. enterprise 2.0 tools that are really more internally oriented (with some connections to external partners). I have a feeling that many organizations are still struggling with just that and are having to define or redefine how enterprise 2.0 is not just getting employees more connected to the outside world but also more connected internally . Some social media tools are much more appropriate than others for group and team learning.  I'm thinking of the potential of wikis in particular.
  • The amount of space dedicated to countering possible detractors is telling, but the critics are not specifically targeting the learning aspect of social media, they're targeting social media in general.  The authors don't claim that learning through social media replaces all learning, but they also don't touch on how this new social learning fits in with other types of learning (such as "learning from experience").
  • In my current place of employment, I have recently attended two sessions on social media, both of which were entirely focused on the use of public social media and offered a very PR-oriented approach (how do we get the word out about our wonderful work).  There is nothing wrong with that but I fear that if our collective understanding of social media doesn't go beyond that, we'll be missing out on the greatest opportunities.
  • You do have to read all the examples offered in the book with a grain of salt.  There was one particular example that made me raise an eyebrow because I knew something about it first hand and... well, the best way to put it would be to say that I have a different interpretation of how successful it was.
Related resources:
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