learning, teaching and research (archive)

ideas, notes, jottings

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June 22nd, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Chris Sessums posted two days ago on what makes his personal learning environment. Academics tend to think more in terms of research and scholarship rather than learning which is both a pity and a mistake. I have for sometime been trying to persuade academic colleagues that they, just like our students, are first and foremost learners. OK, hopefully we are pretty competent learners, even perhaps expert learners, and our students are generally still learning to be learners, sort of ‘apprentice’ learners. But I think the learning to learn business doesn’t end for any of us these days, not even academics.

Chris invited us to tell what our personal learning environments consist of. Here goes a first shot at it.

Text books, research monographs and papers, libraries, journals, newspapers, TV and radio news, RSS feeds from selected news and information sources (e.g. BBC, Earthwire, CommonDreams, Union of Concerned Scientists, RealClimate, etc…).  Google Scholar.

Novels, films, TV and radio documentaries. Biographies, autobiographies, political, economic and history books. Friends and family. Listening to my wife.

Conferences. Conference bars. Staff development events in my Uni. Email correspondence with colleagues.

LeedsBlogs (Elgg based social community). Lurking in a number of Ning communities. Eduspaces. A fairly extensive, mainly educational, blog roll.

I’m sure I can add to this with a bit more thought and imagination. Like Chris says, it’s all networks of one sort or another. Even to engage with a journal article is to enter into some sort of dialogue with the author, their status, reputation and the context in which they wrote the article. For me it is always engagement and dialogue with others, face-to-face, on-line, synchronously, asynchronously, or with the words of past generations. Marx, Weber and Durkheim, Foucault, Chomsky and Alan Bennett are all nodes in the networks that make up my personal learning environment.


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