Every year I have a look at the tools I use for organising my teaching and learning - the tools that support my personal learning environment and help me sustain myself as a life-long learner.
Here is my PLE in 2008.
My PLE in 2009
My PLE in 2010
There hasn't been much of a change in the number of tools - I have a core number of tools I use for most things. But they vary depending on the sort of project I am involved with at the time. In other words, some tools are dictated to me because of my work, as opposed to tools I choose for my own personal learning. For example, Second Life was significant last year because of my involvement in the Second Life Education New Zealand project. This year it does not feature at all - now that the SLENZ project is finished, I do not use SL.
As you can see, my blog and ePortfolio wiki remain at the centre of my PLE.
My ePortfolio is bigger this year because it was an integral part of my midwifery accreditation process earlier this year.
What has gone?
As I have already mentioned, Second Life does not figure in my PLE. I will use it if particular projects crop up but I do not use it for personal learning on a regular basis. Google Reader, iGoogle and RSS has also disappeared because I get links and information from Twitter. This makes my reading a little more random and haphazard, but Twitter is a much better provider of information about synchronous events - it leads to many more serendipitous learning activities than Google Reader and the like.
What stays the same?
My blog continues to be my major place for reflection, development and process work. I found it difficult to blog regularly last year because of the intensive eMentoring project I was involved with. But this year I have made a point of blogging at least three times a week as a renewed attempt to connect with readers.
Slideshare and YouTube continue to be the main places I deposit my material and the first places I go to when I am searching for information, especially for course development. I have also used Blip.TV at lot this year, mainly for storing audio recordings of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM). I have also increased my use of Animoto and Screenr to make videos and screencasts for class materials.
What has changed?
I have increased my use of Delicious as a way of collecting materials for course development and sharing with students. My connection with Elluminate has also grown, not only because of my teaching but also because of the significant number of free professional development sessions that are offered every week by people such as Steve Hargadon and Carole McCulloch. And of course, it played a huge part in the success of the VIDM.
Facebook continues to grow in importance, not just for connecting with people but also for sharing information. I know I have said it before, but I cannot ignore Facebook because so many midwives use it. It played a significant role in advertising the VIDM and disseminating the recordings of the sessions. It is slowly but surely starting to turn into an ePortfolio platform for me. I post links about what I am doing there, and I get tagged by other people connecting to the same events as I do. I firmly believe Facebook can be used as a professional ePortfolio with a feedback mechanism built in that is far more user-friendly than the wiki I am currently using. This is definitely an idea I am going to play with more over the next few months.
Finally, the other platform that is grown in relevance this year is Wikieducator. This is mostly because I have developed the open, online course 'Facilitating Online' in Wikieducator. I have become a lot more confident with it's use and feel very comfortable there as opposed to a year ago. What I am finding is that I learn little tips and tricks as I go along. It is quite a time-consuming process but it has been effective because I have learned as the need as arisen.
I'll leave you with the same questions I asked last year. How is your PLE looking these days? How has it changed in the last year? What are your favourite tools now, and why?