Following in the footsteps of PLE Barcelona (2010, original site down) and PLE Southampton (2011), this year’s The PLE Conference, held both in Aveiro and in Melbourne from 11 to 13 July, was a very exciting and rewarding opportunity for learning, sharing and hanging out with the PLE community. Because the two venues were in different time zones, there was an uninterrupted flow of information and news for around three days (well, it’s still going on, in fact). You can have a taste of what went on by reading the #PLEConf stream on Twitter (Click on “all” to see all the tweets). I am sure you’ll find plenty of food for thought and interesting people to follow.
The local organizing team, lead by Carlos Santos and Luís Pedro, did a great job in keeping up with the special spirit of this conference – everything went smoothly and the online presence of the conference, with a page for each session, the community site and an experience around badges, was great. On top of that, the facilities (known as the catacombs) couldn’t be more suitable for the “unconference” nature of the event. Congrats!
Both Day 1 and Day 2 (un)keynotes were crowdsourced, but using different strategies. For day 1, António Dias Figueiredo & Frances Bell called out for questions regarding the concept of Personal Learning Environments.The initial reaction was slow, but a second, provocative post – PLEs: Science of Fad? – set things on track and provided a good selection of questions that were then discussed during the keynote. For day 2, Gráinne Conole & Ricardo Torres Kompen (chosen by conference participants) decided to ask four questions that contributors could answer in any way they liked (text, video, presentation, etc.). You can find all the great material they gathered on Cloudworks and contribute to the follow-up debate.
Then there were the sessions, always in very participative, conversational formats, where everyone could contribute while learning from others. My empirical perception is that the reflection around PLEs has matured a lot, which made for deep and substantial discussions both in the sessions and in the informal conversations that went on all the time.
I did a workshop with Maria João Spilker and Paula Silva (fantastic to work with them) – Content Curation for Personal Learning and Sharing – and Rui Páscoa, Sérgio Lagoa (who couldn’t come to the conference) & João Brogueira presented the paper Pedagogical Practices, Personal Learning Environments and the Future of eLearning which I co-authored. I was very happy with the results in both sessions.
It’s always a good idea to stay until the end in the PLEConf, because it always finishes on a high note. The Speaker’s Corner, organized by Graham Attwell around teams defending motions proposed by participants (the more controversial, the better), was hilarious. The perfect ending for yet another awesome PLE Conference.Till next year, amazing PLE community.
Below are my pictures of the conference. For more photos, you can search for “PLEConf” on Flickr.