This is an update of a generic PLE model I generated in 2009. It is relating information needs to a selection of web-based tools for the most part. While there are literally thousands of tools available, I only used examples from Jane Hart’s yearly top 100 tools for e-learning to illustrate the model. The 2009 model included 100 tools from the 2009 list to which I had added a further 20 tools to reflect the wealth and variety of web-based tools available. I believe this model is a good starting point for any lifelong learner to personalize his or her learning environment.
The fact that I am updating this model not only reflects the perpetual Beta state of the current technological environment but also my own thinking on the topic. For instance, tools like Google Wave, Bloglines, Drop.io or DimDim have been discontinued; the Ning platform is no longer free etc. Other once popular tools like MySpace, 43 things or Frienfeed have lost momentum in favour of new tools with additional functionality coming on stream etc. To reflect recent changes, reduce clutter and simplify navigation, I have now updated the model with examples drawn from Jane Hart’s top 100 tools for e-learning list for 2010 only.
While it is very easy to get sucked into endless lists of tools or focus only on technological gadgets and gimmicks, one needs to be clear on what one wants to achieve with them. So in revising this model, I am reminded of an older post by George Siemens in which he reviews tools not in terms of technology or features but in terms of change:
It’s the change underlying these tools that I’m trying to emphasize. Forget blogs…think open dialogue. Forget wikis…think collaboration. Forget podcasts…think democracy of voice. Forget RSS/aggregation…think personal networks. Forget any of the tools…and think instead of the fundamental restructuring of how knowledge is created, disseminated, shared, and validated.