Short papers

Ammar, Abdullah

“EFL student’s personal epistemologies and theis reading engagement”

Reading tasks at tertiary levels require deeper processing and more reading engagement compared to school-level ones. A question that remains unanswered in pertinent literature, at least partially, is what makes some EFL tertiary students more engaged in reading tasks and show more tendency towards adopting deeper level processing techniques and strategies when handling reading tasks in EFL classes. Literature on reading instruction provides a multiplicity of reasons such as student goal orientations, motivational factors, language proficiency levels, familiarity with reading topics …etc. One of the possible answers that have not yet been explored in reading literature pertains to the epistemic stances that EFL students tend to adopt in EFL contexts. In this regard, epistemic stances refer to beliefs that EFL students hold about the nature of knowledge, where it resides, how it can be constructed and evaluated, and how knowing occurs (citation). Related research literature shows that these epistemic positions are domain-specific and culture-bound (citation). Different cultural contexts and educational environments might activate epistemic positions reflective of cultural norms and traditions, which in turn would affect ways and strategies of information processing and levels of cognitive engagement in foreign language learning situations; reading may be no exception. Hence, the current study is an investigation of the nature of epistemic positions of EFL students in the Emirati tertiary context of foreign language instruction on the one hand, and the relationships between these epistemic stances and the level of their cognitive engagement and information processing in reading tasks, on the other hand. Description of the Epistemological Beliefs Questionnaire (EBQ) and the reading tasks used is presented. Results are discussed in the light of the cultural specificity of personal epistemologies in the Emirati EFL context. Implications for foreign language education in general and reading instruction in particular are presented along with suggestions for further research.


Asunción, José; Moscatele, Michelle; Feria, Rommel

“Design and Implementation of a Cloud-based Personal Learning Environment”

Informal learning is a semi structured, ongoing process of learning that occurs in a variety of places, such as home, work and through daily interactions.
While traditional approaches to learning caters to institutions, informal learning can be adapted to suit a learner’s needs in different situations.
Rapid advances in technology presents many possibilites for this type of learning but
schools are bemused by the ways they are used for such purpose.
To meet this challege, this paper proposes an implementation of concepts underlying personalized learning in a personal learning environment (PLE). It can be concluded that the PLE can be useful tool for learning because it gives
learners an alternative, personalized learning experience.


Attwell, Graham

“Designing a Mobile Perosnal Learning Environment”

One challenge for those wishing to develop Personal Learning Environments is how to record and facilitate reflection on learning that takes place in different environments, including the workplace. The use of mobile devices could be a major step towards achieving that goal.
There is growing interest in the potential of the use of mobile devices for learning in offering opportunities for access to learning for those with limited access to traditional educational opportunities and technologies, in providing ubiquitous access to learning and in facilitating contextualized learning. However there is limited evidence on which to base such expectations and as yet practice has generally been limited to short-term small-scale pilots and trials.
This paper is based on the conceptual development of a Work Oriented Mobile Learning Environment (WOMBLE) through the EU Mature project. It is particularly concerned with the potential affordances of mobile devices for supporting developmental learning and informal learning in the workplace.  It is based on a premise that the use of mobile devices may facilitate the development of e-learning in the workplace in a way which has not previously been possible. Thus the first theoretical underpinning for the paper is the nature and pedagogy of work based learning. The paper is also based on conceptual and theoretical work being undertaken by the London Mobile Learning Group, which proposes a socio-cultural ecology for learning, based on the “new possibilities for the relationship between learning in and across formal and informal contexts, between the classroom and other sites of learning.”


Ezeiza, Ainhoa; Calderón Amador, Juan José

“Roles emergentes de aprendices, docentes e instituciones desde una perspectiva PLE”

El aprendizaje informal en entornos PLE supone un cambio de estrategias del proceso educativo. En esta presentación, nos situamos en el rol de docente para, desde esa perspectiva, realizar un análisis comprensivo de las PLE y vislumbrar las implicaciones pedagógicas que suponen, para así proponer a las instituciones universitarias estrategias de alineación al nuevo contexto.
Los PLE, desde una perspectiva de los procesos de aprendizaje subyacentes, tienen tres herramientas básicas: herramientas para el aprendizaje rápido y por descubrimiento, herramientas que generan colaboración y cooperación en acciones concretas de aprendizaje, y herramientas de consolidación del conocimiento. La articulación de estos tres tipos de herramientas, su frecuencia de uso y su profundidad dependerán siempre del propio usuario-aprendiente y, en ese sentido, el aprendizaje es autogestionado y autorregulado.
Partiendo de ese contexto de aprendizaje, el docente y la institución educativa han de resituarse en ese proceso como catalizadores del aprendizaje, generando nuevos nodos y conexiones en ese aprendizaje y colaborando en esa autorregulación del aprendizaje. Los roles emergentes en este modelo se construyen desde la perspectiva del PLE del aprendiente con el fin de ampliar su entorno y especializarlo, en una progresión que parte de enlazar nodos de carácter general hacia otros que permitan al aprendiente interactuar con expertos en áreas de conocimiento específicas.
Por una parte, cuando el docente construye su PLE, tiene que prever la presencia de nodos a diferentes niveles de conocimiento de su área de especialización que permita interconectarlos a los aprendientes.
Por otra parte, la propia institución universitaria tiene que ser generadora de redes de conocimiento, por lo que tiene que construir entornos de interconexión entre los diferentes PLEs, de aprendientes, docentes e investigadores.
En conclusión, la horizontalización de los procesos de aprendizaje no debe ser total, sino que pueden construirse redes a diversos niveles que se interconecten de forma asimétrica para facilitar la interacción progresiva en redes de mayor nivel de complejidad.


Gelabert, Juana Mª; Moreno, Juan; Salinas, Jesús

“Construcción de Entornos Personales de Aprendizaje por profesorado universitario”

Conocer el proceso de construcción de cada uno de los PLE, no sólo nos ayuda a comprender las estrategias personales y docentes empleadas, sino que nos da pistas de la proyección futura  que puede darse en este campo. Para ello consideramos imprescindible averiguar la organización actual del PLE del profesorado universitario.
El estudio se ha realizado entre profesores de la Universidad de las Islas Baleares, siguiendo una metodología mixta, donde el procedimiento de recogida de información se basa en entrevistas en profundidad con la construcción simultanea del mapa conceptual que va representando el PLE y un posterior análisis del mismo por parte del entrevistado.


Guilana, Sonia; Camacho, Mar

“From Personal to Social: Learning Environments that Work”

Standardised institutional VLEs are rapidly falling short in meeting the demands of a networked society. Web 2.0 and social networks are proving to offer a more personalized, open environment for students to learn  formally as they are already doing informally. How can we as teachers enhance the digital skills of our students to promote a more effective, meaningful learning?
Teacher and institution centered platforms clearly need to be enhanced with student-centered environments. Social networking tools like youtube, wikipedia, facebook, ning or blogger allow our students to manage their learning environment on their own terms and to be more conscious of their progress. At the same time, all these tools are intrinsically collaborative at heart. Spaces to share, comment and remix information which will eventually become individual knowledge. By handing out the management of the learning tools, learners are endorsed with the opportunity to build their learning path more actively, suiting one’s needs and demands in time.
The use of the social networks as teaching  platforms not only takes into account the students interests  but also include something that motivates them in a great deal.  PLEs help to promote an open attitude from students towards communicating and exchanging knowledge, and contribute to establish ties among other networks.
Ples require from students to establish connections and parameters for dissemination and collaboration. In this sense, it can be pointed out that the metacognitive process that entails the use of personal learning environments  allows the students to be much more conscious of the resources and tools they use and which of them will facilitate them valid strategies along the process of  lifelong learning.
The aim of this paper is to show how the personalization of learning  has become an important  focus of attention over the last few years  and the implications that it has to all stakeholders in providing a new learning culture. We’ d like to share some examples of our teaching practice with our students and discuss the strategies to implement effective learning environments both at a Higher Education and Secondary Education level.


Santamaría González, Fernando

“Desarrollo de competencias y habilidades mediante un entorno personal de aprendizaje: un caso de la Universidad de León”

El trabajo que presentamos se ha elaborado en un contexto natural de aula con una muestra de maestros en formación correspondientes al Título de Maestro de asignaturas de Matemáticas y su Didáctica de la Facultad de Educación (Universidad de León).

Con ese tipo de estudiantes, con una metodología caracterizada por el trabajo colaborativo guiado por la evaluación continua en función formativa, desde hace más de 4 años se han ido implementando distintas herramientas basadas en web para llegar a lo que hoy día llamamos  un entorno personal de aprendizaje (PLE). Los protagonistas del proceso de aprendizaje/enseñanza son los propios estudiantes que, como maestros en formación, deben acreditar una serie competencias y habilidades en el desarrollo profesional en su puesto de trabajo y las habilidades de recuperación de la información y pensamiento crítico a través de esta plataforma personalizada. Se han realizado encuestas y entrevistas para medir los grados de asimilación y habilidades para manejar este entorno conectivo de redes. En ese artículo, se hará un estudio previo de las influencias externas para desarrollar ese entorno. En una segunda fase se ve la evolución del marco de actuación de este PLE y de sus objetivos: la habilidad de autogestionar el propio aprendizaje de la didáctica de las matemáticas y la problemática que ha surgido en el ambiente universitario por el hecho de ser una experiencia aislada y la falta de compromiso con el aprendizaje auto-organizado y negociado.


Serenelli, Fabio; Mangiatordi, Andrea

“The OLPC XO laptop as a PLE”

Personal Learning Environments can be defined under different points of view:

• technically, they are a hub for contents and contacts related to the learning experience of a single person. They can be composed by both desktop and web applications, with every piece of software supporting the user in a particular task;
• in opposition to Virtual Learning Environments and LMS, they prefer the usage of independent (even if interrelated) web 2.0 applications, following the ‘Software As A Service’ model;
• socially, a PLE is a set of instruments which gives value to individual contributions in a learning ecosystem.

What we wonder is if a PLE can be at the same time a cognitive artifact and a physical object. Can it have a concrete form, can it also be hardware? What can turn an ‘object’ into a PLE? The OLPC XO laptop seems to answer these questions. Its Graphical User Interface (GUI), called Sugar, can balance individual and collaborative learning instances. The whole user experience is based on social networking. The XO is a child-centered device, reflecting the way children think and interact with the social and informative context. XO is an inclusion instrument in the learning environment, by the fact it is an equalitarian, basic dotation for everybody. But this laptop is also an inclusive learning environment: it is in the hands of all the actors of the educational process, from teachers to children. In OLPC deployments, technology becomes a commodity, the computer becomes invisible. Being a context-variable, being part of the infrastructure for networked learning, the XO is:

1.  a cognitive amplifier: a machine designed for children and equipped with software which can empower their cognitive potential (computation abilities, memory, writing skills, etc.);
2. a relational amplifier  which can connect (automatically) its owners on various levels (Metcalfe law: the network value increases as saturation increases);
3. a platform to access instructional contents which can be online or can be hosted by the machine itself;
4. an instrument for sharing knowledge and, in presence of internet access, for publishing;
5. a knowledge-creation tool by the means of individual and collaborative activities.


Speicher, Maximilian; Akbari, Mostafa

“Suitability of Google Wave Extensions for Designing a Learner-centered PLE”

According to Attwell and others (2008), a PLE should provide functionalities to access and aggregate content, then manipulate and analyze the collected resources, reflect on one’s learning and finally present, represent and share the created artifacts. However, current approaches to Personal Learning Environments, such as PLEF (PLEF 2010) and Symbaloo (Welcome to my PLE! 2009), are oriented towards accessing, aggregating, representing and sharing data but waive the other functionalities mentioned. In particular, these approaches neglect live collaboration and communication, which makes the processes of manipulating and resenting resources more effective (Alexander 2001). While it is strenuous for the learner to continuously switch between different platforms in order to have access to all of the functionalities of his PLE, it is desirable to present a solution in which the learner is not only able to fetch and aggregate whatever is of prime importance to her – may it be bookmarks from delicious, her Facebook wall or Zoho documents – but also manipulate, reflect, (re)present and share from within one single place on the Web. All this can be achieved using present technologies, like XMPP and the numerous Web 2.0 Application Programming Interfaces. Google Wave (Google 2009; Google 2010) seems to be a good choice for realizing the desired PLE. This new invention by Google constitutes a tool for real-time collaboration and communication. It is a shared space where multiple participants can discuss and work using texts, videos, photos and other kinds of resources (called “Gadgets”), such as maps or polls. Moreover, it is possible to build Robots, which can be added to a wave and act as normal participants, i.e. they are able to detect changes to the wave and react to these changes by editing the content theirselves. Exemplary learner-centered Gadgets and Robots which are a work-inprogress at the moment and at large represent a complete Google Wave-based PLE will be presented and discussed in this short paper, as well as feedback from user tests, the assessed advantages, emerged problems and their specific reasons.