What did you learn about yourself when looking at your PLE?
Once I was done figuring out what exactly I wanted to include in my PLE, I took a long hard look at the visual representations and came to a couple realizations. The first revelation was I am a creature of habit. I seldom try new a app., or community if I'm already comfortable with what I am getting out of the current communities I'm involved in. My problem is my attention bounces from one thing to another, then back, and then poof gone to something else. The communities I participate in allow me to explore my interests even when they change monthly, weekly, and yes, even daily. For example, I was first introduced to Blogger in my first semester at Boise State. During that time, I thought it was great for class purposes and a great avenue to write. Then as I became more comfortable with it and my attention for using blogger purely for school shifted, I found my purpose for it also shifted. I found a blog written by pseudonym Brown Moses, and began following his writing and became fascinated by his journalism covering the Syrian conflict. That sums up my attention span pretty well I think. I started with education blogs and ended up taken in by a war blog. That is the point I realized though, all of my PLE's offer me that variety within their communities, and the same concept once I looked at my fellow classmates PLE’s seemed to hold true as well. I did not have to give up blogger for education to gain blogger for the Syrian conflict; it was wrapped up in a neat package for me to explore whatever catches my attention for that week. I noticed all of my PLE's offer me that escape. Should I grow tired of looking at Education Technology posts in Google +, I'm a click away from a community that allows me an Economics fix. These communities are tailored for someone who cannot get enough information about EVERYTHING at any given point in time, whether its Malcom Gladwell or Adam Smith, I don't have to go far to be surrounded by people who are talking about what I'm fascinated by at that given moment. The second revelation was I would not have 3 quarters of this list if it wasn't for my classes at Boise State. The curriculum written for Ed Tech, has thrust me into these communities and with good reason, every one of them is relevant in their own way. My final revelation was I choose all of my PLE's selfishly. My PLE's were chosen based on the question, “how can this make my life easier?”. I need my communities of influence or PLE’s to add value to me or my students, save me time or both. For twitter, I find it easier to compare news and validate that news by taking in all the different sources twitter can offer. Evernote saves me time when I can share lecture notes, and Soundcloud puts all of my Economist Podcasts in one spot. All have "yes" as the answer to whether or not they add value to my life. For a long time Facebook added zero value to me. I created an account for this specific class, and I am not sure, if I will use it more after this class ends, but for right now, it still adds value to my life for this class. When I thought about that, I came to realize, these apps today could be fleeting technology tomorrow and open the doors to new and improved value. In that moment, I became like a little kid waiting for new toys. My new toys just happen to be new PLE's as I discover them.
How does your PLE compare to other peers in class? Write a self-reflection and a comparative analysis that discusses similarities and differences between yours and your classmates' diagrams. This analysis should be in terms of content not the type of creation. Post a link to your blog (about what you discovered in creating your PLE diagram and comparing it to your classmates - examine at least 6 classmates' diagrams to get a full picture) in our Facebook page.
Something that jumped out at me when viewing other people's diagram is what I call the big four. The four communities that everyone seemed to be a part of. Those being Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google +. Where I really found the differences in professional and personal style were in what we choose after the big four. That is where you found some very interesting and unique PLE's. For me, the newest addition of Storify was what I preferred due to the flexibility it allowed for me to create meaningful lesson plans. It also seemed popular with some of the twitter chats I participated in as a recap tool. Most chats would archive some of the responses in Storify. This allowed me to go back and find people that contributed answers to the questions that I normally may have over looked given the speed of twitter chats, which grow my PLN. I also added Engrade, which I found to be unique to my PLE compared to other students. Engrade is an online grade book, which gives you the ability to have students turn in assignments by uploading word documents, as well as create wikis for videos and lesson plans on top of being a grade book tool, I use Engrade the most, and have gained the most from it. Engrade as a resource itself was different in name but not in terms of what it accomplishes once I compared my PLE to the others. While other people may have not had Engrade specifically, they did have interesting alternatives. In addition, where I used Storify and twitter to increase my personal learning and attend webinars I found some suggestions such as edweb.net as a great alternative I never knew about until comparing PLE's. Another difference I noticed when comparing PLE's is that I have not explored off the beaten path options as much as I could. Most of my preferred environments are the ones that come recommended from itunes, or other blogs. I have a feeling there are so many quality alternatives out there that other students and professional have found. A great point about this project was it allowed different students to observe what other educators are using to grow as professionals. For example, one comment on my Facebook post was "I never used or heard of Evernote or Engrade before". At one point in time, I had never heard of them either, and now I cannot imagine my day-to-day efficiency running the same without them. I think before the assignment I never had that A-HA moment about how PLE's grow and adapt to the individual. I thought of PLE's as just these established communities you are a part of when you subscribe to a social network, or use an APP that is cross platform and connected. Then I read that Facebook comment and thought to myself, PLE is a never ending, constantly evolving, living environment where we can grow at any minute in any moment of time, from something as simple as a diagram. The second A-HA moment came from just how fortunate we are to be as connected to each other through these influences as we are. I spoke about the big four, and how everyone seemed to have similar PLE's. Those PLE's have the ability to connect millions of people from all over the world. There is a reason they are so popular. There is a reason we can grow and learn from each other better than ever. We grow using an invisible network connecting educators and those passionate about education. Our PLE's and our access to each other makes that possible. Looking at every one's different diagram that showed a distinction of their personality with the extension of their networks shows that invisible link that binds us all. I remember a freshman foundations class in philosophy during my undergraduate studies when we spent a week diving into the head of Nietzsche. There was this one quote that I could not think of word for word, so I cracked open that book(old school PLE’s hahaha) and found it to be perfect for how I feel about this assignment and every one's PLE's in comparison to mine.
“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”-Friedrich Nietzsche
Our PLE's are that connection to each other, and to each other’s intelligences in our specific subjects and interests. The tools and creation we use to form them, and grow them, truly are the strongest ties. A-HA moment complete hahaha. Great job everyone; I truly enjoyed every one's visual, and learned some great new tools as well!