Personally learning network
Déjà vu all over again”
I find that everything said about Personal Learning Networks [PLN] of Personal Learning Environments [PLE] is a fair summary of staying abreast of facilitated communication. But nothing about the communication is new, only the containers. The writers for this week’s readings are preachers, some more strident than others. But communication was the reason behind the internet with sharing and communicating. Listserv threads are still around. They have been used to connect people of similar interests since before there was a WWW. Just as the current crop of new programs Listserv was free until a product emerged to allow users to know nothing of the mechanism of unix while participating in threads of discussion on the topics of their choice. Even the legendary mistakes of facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the inadvertent posting of information of a private nature existed in advance of these new forms.
But beyond the fashionable consumption of new ways of doing things–that’s what makes jobs and keeps people busy day and night–several of these articles are right to stress the needs of a digitally networked discussion, much as we would the face-to-face encounters, if they occur. Rheingold especially is laying out pattern of engagement, emphasizing participatory actions. I’m particularly pleased to see serendipity touted. This has liberal arts written all over it. It’s not about finding the real name of Tiroler Ganger Die Gludstinder whose recording of Allweil Luftig was first played by Mac on the Antique Music Program, and then that program uploaded to the Free Music Archive where Martin Auer, notes the title should read Allweil lustig (“Always Merry”) and the band name is probably Tiroler Sänger (“Tyrolean Singers”), The Glückskinder (“Lucky Fellows”) or in English order The Lucky Fellow Tyrolean Singers. [http://freemusicarchive.org/player?subscriber=FMAPagePlayer_1392637481659] But its about the sharing. There are people to follow, and Mac is one of them. One never knows where recordings of Swiss yodeling of the early 20th century may appear.
It was never kind, but “lurking” as a pattern of passive participation, may no longer be tolerated. Similarly due to the rise in gratuitous irrelevant commentary, many places now require log-in and password. This is a pain if only because one must then manage the passwords. But it does cause one to hone the list of sites. As an “old school” surfer (in several respects) I tend to also review the links. Often some are familiar others are broken, but again serendipity abounds. An individual or site may be gone, but an archived version exists.
There is less virtue in trimming the list than might first appear. I find that moving url to a cache is preferable to discarding the contact. Again, serendipitous opportunity to feed someone else a contact may come from a site one no longer follows.
What I value about Rheingold’s list is that his suggestions include not only the getting of information, but the giving of information and the need for restraint. Without visual clues and long association the surly comment is damaging to the relationship in ways that many don’t imagine. Then too, responding to requests for information is important as well.
I’m still trying to imagine how I’ll use this in a teaching condition. Student projects within the major tend to be brief and intense. Rheingold is perhaps an important reading for instructors of classes, such as FSEM, in which molding habits of social interaction can be beneficial across the entire course of an undergraduate education. Still it’s hard to imagine a first-year student who signs up for an FSEM and then maintains the same interest over the span of her undergraduate experience.