Thursday, March 12, 2009


This is a diagram of my Personal Learning Environment, the place where I organize and access my online learning resources.

I put it together using the free version of a mind-mapping tool called The Personal Brain. I chose the Brain because:
  1. I find the user interface easy to use: click-drag-and-type, copy-and-paste.
  2. I like the logic of parent, child and peer relationships between 'thoughts'.
  3. I like how it collapses and expands to organize and display information in clusters.
  4. I like the interactive final document it produces: searchable, navigable, hyperlinked.
  5. I can export the final document as a web page (that I FTP onto a server) that displays both the map and the web site I'm working on in the same page.
Now when I get online I go first to my PLE page and then through that to all my learning links (including this blog). I love having the map available to me on any page I'm working on: just click a small arrow at the top corner of my screen and the map unfolds down to let me navigate to another page.

The Brain also helped me resolve what for me was an 'intellectual conflict' between producing a visual map of my PLE and visualizing the final environment itself. I guess I wanted to build it as I was mapping it out. With this tool, I was able to produce an image that is itself the final space, so two birds with one stone, I felt.

I appreciated doing this assignment because it forced me to consider and organize my favourite online places visited for information and knowledge. Just seeing visually how my visits are clustered helps me to understand and shape my learning.

The assignment also forced me to open other online spaces: an iGoogle aggregator space for my emails and RSS feeds, a GoogleReader space for my journal subscriptions and this blog to document my progress through the course.

Guess my digital footprint's growing.

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