This exercise of attempting to make my PLENK visual once again reminded me of the power of visualization. So often in my f2f classes I would ask individuals of groups to “symbolically represent” or draw a synthesis they came up with, and by golly, after the moaning they always came through with a product that impressed them and me. Got to find a tool to make this happen during real-time class in Second Life.
So after much gnashing of teeth over the PLE/PLN distinction which really does seem more and more like semantics as Dave wrote, I’ve experienced my own moments of clarity as I designed this image.
I began with the famous Shinjuku Eye (has to be one of the most beautiful windows in the world) because I like the metaphor that our PLE serves as our lens on the world. [An aside, Mary Catherine Bateson’s quote that “we think in metaphors and learn through stories” is my most-used quote. If you’re a fan, then you should know that her “sequel” to Composing a Life is just out — Composing a Further Life.]
Once I realized that the nodes I wanted to include were either individuals or networks (from my long-suffering, ever-loyal critical friend to Classroom 2.0), then it made sense to place these along the concentric circles (or at least circle-like) spaces of the eye in order of importance to me at this point in time. What will be interesting will be to see how I might shift these around as the course progresses.
Most enlightening as I worked through my design was that I was forced to see the blind spots that I may have. Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger for blogs in general, are all at the periphery of my eye. Which I just realized also represents the eye of the Second Life logo so the metaphor works on many levels.
One of my motivations for taking this course is to learn what value other networks may have for me so I plan to give Twitter and Facebook an honest go and see what happens. I’m open to both in theory but I’ve just seen such schizophrenic uses of them. There’s the Facebook page of a project director that is obviously primarily for work with the occasional “Hi Mommie, I miss you” from her college freshman daughter. Or the egocentric administrator who pitches the latest and greatest ed theory book and then tweets a bedtime goodnight.
I’ll use this blog for my ePortfolio but I also hope to learn to use Facebook in a professional way to connect with teachers. Heard Beth Kantor, a non-profit guru talk about the Facebook advantage for non-profits last week and I’m pumped. But does anyone out there know how to set up a Facebook landing tab???
Another serious astigmatism is that as an adjunct instructor that I have no contact with other faculty. If I were going to include the actual, physical learning spaces in my PLE then it would essentially be in my Aeron chair parked in front of my rolltop with a gray tabby in my lap. Perhaps joining the New Literacies Collaborative Ning and attending lunch hour seminars on campus will help.
I will have appreciated that my design process became an act of inquiry to find new solutions — guess that’s what learning and a PLE are all about.
So I’ll work on my tweets and landing tab now to see if I can grow a stronger PLE . . .