Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) allow a learner to take control of and manage their learning by “navigating and organizing a stream of information and resources from a variety of different sources” (Ash, 2013, para. 1). PLEs are created using a variety of technologies and tools that aid an individual in organizing the large amounts of information received daily. PLEs are unique to each individual based on interest and need (Ash, 2013, para 3 & 4).
When I started to create a diagram of my Personal Learning Environment, the first thing that I did was list out all the digital resources I use as a student, for personal use, and as an educator. I knew that I wanted my diagram to be in a circular shape and that all the pieces had to be connected in some way with me in the middle as the central figure to show that it was unique for my needs and learning goals. I liked the idea of using circles because they are never ending just as building our PLE is never ending and forever changing. From the list of resources I created, I broke them up into four categories based on how I used them. My categories include connecting socially and professionally, aggregating and annotating, working collaboratively, and creating content, connecting, and sharing. Each category fit into a circle and I connected the circles because I feel that many of these tools are intertwined with each other and can be used for more than one purpose. From creating this diagram, I learned that I use a lot of technological resources in my daily life that have had a great impact on my personal and professional growth. There are probably more out that I could be using or some that I use that I forgot to list. I also learned that I must not do a lot of collaborative work because this portion had the least amount of resources listed.
Even though PLEs are unique to each individual, I found some similarities between my diagram and those of my classmates. The similarities I found are that many of us including Amy, Katie, Scott, and Brian put ourselves in the middle of the diagram and many of us like Amanda, Courtney, and Brian used the concept of a circle in some capacity with each resource interconnected in some way. We also use many of the same resources and tools for professional, personal, and educational reasons. The amount of differences between our diagrams was greater than the similarities which indicated our uniqueness. I noticed that our main differences involved our breakdowns of how we categorized our resources. We all seemed to choose different labels to categorize them. Courtney represented her resources as professional and personal and Amanda represented hers based on frequency of use. Kimmy seemed to only include social networks as her resources. Despite our differences, the point of having a PLE is all about making it your own and blending your resources to develop your own personal learning space.