For the past couple of weeks, I have been engaged in a cMOOC with Stephen Downes, ELearning 3.0. Of course, engagement is a tricky thing. I fully intended to be on top of everything, every day, but I have had to dip in and out.

This afternoon, I read through Stephen’s description of designing the course (the series starts here). It was fascinating at so many different levels. One the surface, this series looks like nothing more than a technical description of the tool he built for this cMOOC, gRSShopper. But it is really about what it means to design, implement, and evolve a (personal) learning environment. The tool is not just a tool. It is a vehicle for learning.

This is incredibly relevant to me. I have been spending the last few years investigating learning design, first as a K-12 educator (I was a secondary biology teacher in New York) and now as a teacher educator at Pace University. In this capacity, I am interested in the emergence of learning networks under conditions of autonomy and competence support (I am in the midst of writing a theoretical framework/blog post on this topic at the moment.

The point for the moment is that the tools of design and their implementation are the learning environment itself in a real way. I can only learn using the personal learning environment I have created. If I want to learn more, I need a modified/more robust/better(?) learning environment. Lots to think about now.

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