Semantics & the first place

by Jay Cross on June 3, 2007

Yesterday I spent a few hours tweaking my bookmark pages, consolidating feeds, and moving articles around on my personal wiki, as well as rearranging my bookshelves and straightening out the desk drawers. My workspace is always in motion, as are my default sources of information. The gusher of information roaring by cuts new channels, making  me re-calibrate my navigation system at least once a month.

I’ve had a PLE since attending high school. Here’s what my work/learning environment looked like a few years after grad school.  (We didn’t need no stinking computers.) 


(The green strip on the bottom right is all the people I interact with.)

And here’s today’s version:


(The yellow cloud is the internet.)

Focusing on learning without focusing on work perpetuates the fantasy that school must be different from the real world. (Try finding a Fortune 500 company running BlackBoard or Moodle.)
Furthermore, the buzz about PLEs  in the blogosphere fixates on web tools. Give a kid a computer and every situation looks like a web 2.0 application. I went back over dozens of recent posts about PLEs; they talked about Facebook, digital artifacts, feeds, Ning Groups, social bookmarks, LinkedIn, Skype, ELGG, Glu, 43 Things, Flickr, and so on. Clive Shepherd and Michele Martin were rare exceptions, saving room for people in their learning networks. Why would anyone want to exclude, say books or phone calls from their learning environment?
My interest is in business organizations. I encourage clients to provide default interfaces and performance support tools to workers. I won’t be calling these PLEs.


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