One of our assignments this week was to create a diagram showing at least 10 online communities that make up the digital portion of my PLE. Because of an article I discovered on Facebook recently, I chose to draw my diagram by hand to allow my brain time to process my ideas. I felt more relaxed than when I use a digital tool, even though I do not draw very well.
I chose to represent my PLE as a recipe because I really like to bake. Before taking this class, one of my favorite parts of social media was the recipes! Now I have expanded my use of online communities far beyond recipe swapping! I represent the online community ingredients by the amount they currently contribute to my PLE both in terms of time, and influence. The largest communities/tools (x4), Facebook, Pinterest, Google Drive, and YouTube, are ones I use in every aspect of my life, almost without thinking. These communities are well-established. I include Google Drive as a community because I collaborate with people in my family, at church, at school, and at work on Google Docs and Google Slides. These resources would be the main ingredients in the cake, the ones that give it substance and bind it – flour, eggs, butter, sugar.
The medium sized communities (x2), Twitter, Google +, and Weebly, are smaller because I use them for fewer facets of my life, and I have devoted less time to them. These are current representations. I see them growing in influence and use in the future, especially Twitter. I include Weebly because it is where I host my websites, which are currently my primary online contributions. I intend to open the comments section on some of my pages when I have more time to moderate them and respond. These resources would be the flavoring in the cake – chocolate, vanilla, etc. I might not use the same flavors each time, but they all get used.
The smaller sized communities (x1 and x 1/2), Diigo, WordPress, PearlTrees, and LinkedIn, I do not use much, or I have only recently begun to use them. I use WordPress for my EdTech Learning Log, so it could probably be bigger, but I only use it for school. I do not blog there for personal or professional purposes. With time, some of these communities will undoubtedly increase in influence on me while others will decrease. At that time, the recipe will need to be adjusted for flavor and consistency. These resources would be the leavening in the cake – they are used in small amounts, but have a large impact. If you leave them out, your cake will be flat and unappealing.
One thing I learned by completing this assignment is that I participate in more online communities than I previously thought. After participating in Live Twitter sessions, I know that I will use Twitter much more frequently in the future. I’m not sure how often I will post outside of chats, but I really enjoyed the experience. I can also see myself increasing my use of PearlTrees, and even using it in my classroom.
Part of our assignment included analyzing at least 6 classmates’ diagrams. The main similarity was the communities. Most of my classmates included the same tools as me. I noticed that the tools used primarily for connecting and collaborating with other people were pretty much the same across the board. Our differences really showed in the tools used for publishing and collecting/curating resources.
The main difference in diagrams was not in resources, but in organization or presentation of the resources. I chose to express my PLE metaphorically. The recipe shows how I currently combine the resources to personalize my learning. Several of my classmates also used metaphors to represent how they feel about their PLEs. Amanda represented her resources as a meal. The resources are organized by how they nourish her. Kimmy represented her resources as balls she was juggling. This shows her current feelings about her PLE. Brian created an expanding circle with himself at the center. Surrounding him are his digital resources as well as his human resources; something that I did not include in my hyper focus on the online communities requirement for the assignment. If I were to add my human resources, they would be the sugar because that ingredient is included in the cake as well as the icing 😉 Joanne created her diagram like an unfamiliar wooden beach chair she discovered on vacation. Each part is linked, but she is currently unfamiliar with most of it. I can relate to this. I didn’t want to use Twitter, even though I’ve had an account for years, because the communication style was so foreign to me.
Other classmates organized their resources by purpose. Megan followed the “PLE model” of connect, collect, publish, and reflect. Katie’s organization was slightly different. She used the following categories: network and collaborate, reflect and share, discover and organize, and filter.
To recap, all of my classmates included similar resources, but their representations of their PLEs were completely personal. This is appropriate because PLEs are our PERSONAL learning environments. We can make use of the same resources, but how we access and utilize the tools available to us will be entirely our own.