Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/Facilitative Tools of PLE

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Facilitative Tools[edit]

Different definitions of PLE reflect different perspectives. One is from the perspective of emerging technology and tools which can facilitate the learner to construct a personal learning environment. For example, Sean FitzGerald held the view, "A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is a collection of free, distributed, web-based tools, usually centred around a blog, linked together and aggregating content using RSS feeds and simple HTML scripts"[1]. George Siemens held a similar stating, a PLE is "a collection of tools, brought together under the conceptual notion of openness, interoperability, and learner control" [2].

Though people view PLEs from the perspective of emerging technology and tools, there are differences. The main difference is between the construction of a PLE from the learner's or the designer/developers point of view. For example, the PLE project at Bolton University has released the PLE software PLEX[3] 2006 .

The following is a list of emerging technology and tools from the view of the learner.

1. Tools to facilitate user created content.

Tools to facilitate user to created content can be divided into two categories. One is like Blog,Flickr,Yutube,etc., and the other is like a wiki or google docs a "mashup" such as, google maps or google earth, Panoramio.

Supporting the user to produce content is a common characteristic but the way of how to organize the content is very different. The former is according to the user identity, so every one has a unique website that accumulates personal content. The latter is according to the content logic itself.

One can make an extensive list of tools by media type, which the tool mainly supports. For example, here list some tools in China.

2. Tools to facilitate communication.

Apart from Email, as main online communication tool, some new forms of communication tools have appeared in recent years,such as Skype and Twitter (called microblog by some people). Similar products of Twitter are found in China such as jiwai,zuosha,fanfou,etc.

3. Tools to facilitate social networking.

There are services called social network sites(SNSs) which help users to develop a social network . Boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007) argues the public display of connections is a crucial component of SNSs[4]. According to the report of 《Sharing Privacy and Trust in Our Networked》(OCLC 2007) SNSs are primarily designed to facilitate interaction between users who share interests,attitudes, and activities, such as Facebook,Mixi and MySpace [5].

4. Tools to facilitate effectiveness.

Tools like RSS Reader and Tag offer a new way for a user to manage information and knowledge effectively.

For each kind tool listed above, there are many tools and/or services the user can utilize. Here some examples:


[1]Sean FitzGerald, http://seanfitz.wikispaces.com/creatingyourple

[2]George Siemens,http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/archives/002884.html


[4]boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html

[5]OCLC(2007),Sharing Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World,Retrieved December 9, 2007 from: http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf