Notes from a seminar (slides) by Tony Hirst.
PLE=Personal Learning Environments.
Gilbert Ryle – notion of category mistakes (in The Concept of Mind); happens when people talk about PLEs as things – they’re not, they’re environments: you can’t point at them. Also figure/ground illusion (vase/faces) – edges are the key.
Contrast to VLE – which is a thing (e.g. Moodle). A PLE is not (just!) the personal version of one – but there’s a figure/ground thing, the VLE could be part of it. A PLE is the students’ bag of stuff: literal stuff (laptop, phone, bits).
PLE is open, controllable, public; VLE is closed, private, you-can’t-edit. [But: control/privacy to enable experimentation for learning – safe to get it wrong.]
Edges between VLEs and PLEs. OpenLearn has made a big effort to make the content portable. Materials are stuff in a learning environment, and have alternative formats: print (single HTML file); XML; RSS feed; OU XML; IMS Content Package; IMS Common Cartridge; plain ZIP of all the html files and media assets; Moodle Backup. This export bit is the edge – can do the figure/ground swap here.
Mashups – using Glue Logic (not actual glue). Live demo of sucking content from OpenLearn – leaving a trail of bookmarks as he goes on Delicious, tagged ‘elcple’. Copy RSS link from OpenLearn course/module. Use in places like PageFlakes, Netvibes, iGoogle.
Uncourses blog – trying to do in real time as a blogged course: ten weeks to study, so ten weeks to write. All done on WordPress at Digital Worlds. Category and tag feeds so it’s “self-disaggregating”. Link structure is emergent (in the sense that he didn’t plan it in advance). Categories and tags are … basically confusing on WordPress. Module coming to deliver posts (RSS items) as a drip-feed over time, starting when you want it.
(Flock and Firefox tip: can right-click on any search box on any site and ‘Add a keyword’ for that search.)
Mashups are not production systems, they’re flaky. (Pageflakey.) – in response to having Yahoo Pipes problems in his PageFlakes setup.
“Box.net is like MyStuff that works” – can share files, make them droppable, clicking in a browser will ‘just work’.
Grazr as an RSS reader on turbo – can wrap RSS feeds together in to OPML files.
Glue Logic – lives here http://ouseful.open.ac.uk/xmltools/dwCommentFeedsOPML.php (aka http://tinyurl.com/4vq4nt) – takes parameters and produces OPML feeds out of, say, all comments on posts with a particular tag. “It’s easy to use” [But not documented anywhere?]
Microsoft Live Search – you can add search results as a feed by adding &format=rss to the search URL. E.g. orange smarties.
Autodiscoverable feeds – your browser can subscribe to it.
Tony’s OPML dashboard as a way of messing around with RSS/OPML files.
StringLE – a String-and-Glue Learning Environment. The sample site sort-of works but is suffering from linkrot somewhat.
Pipework – Yahoo Pipes. Live demo of taking Wikipedia data on city populations and putting them via a Googledocs spreadsheet on to a map.