The PLE Conference 2013

Personal Learning Environments: Learning and Diversity in the Cities of the Future

10 – 12 July 2013, Berlin, Germany &  Melbourne, Australia


Best Papers from the PLE Conference 2013 have been also published in the Special Issue of eLearning Papers (Issue 35) and in the Special Issue of the Journal of Literacy and Technology (JLT)

The Personal Learning Environment Conference is an international scientific conference taking place annually, each time in a different city. Following the highly successful events in Barcelona in Spain 2010, in Southampton, UK in 2011  and the parallel events in 2012 in Aveiro, Portugal and Melbourne, Australia, the 4th International PLE Conference 2013 will be held in Berlin, Germany together with a parallel event in Melbourne, Australia. The PLE Conference intends to create a space for researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas, experiences and research around the development and implementation of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) – including the design of environments and the sociological and educational issues that they raise.

What are Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)?

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are an approach to Technology- Enhanced Learning based on the principles of learner autonomy and empowerment. PLEs include methods, tools, communities, and services constituting individual learning infrastructures or ecosystems which learners use to direct their own learning and pursue their educational goals. This represents a shift away from the traditional model of learning based on knowledge transfer towards a model of learning based on knowledge construction where learners draw connections from a growing pool of online and offline resources to plan, organise, engage in, reflect on and evaluate their learning and development. By focusing on the enhancing learning of individual, yet interconnected learners, the PLE approach encompasses a diversity of learners, tools, perspectives and knowledge.

So far Personal Learning Environments have been designed and implemented in formal and informal learning contexts, such as school and higher education, work-based learning and in-company training, and in continuing education. The potential of Personal Learning Environments for crossing the boundaries of traditional learning contexts, connecting diverse communities and infrastructures has not been fully realised. Therefore, the 4th PLE Conference in 2013 aims at taking the discussion on Personal Learning Environments a step forward, providing a new impulse for PLE research and development.

The theme for the conference is learning and diversity in cities of the future. In view of the “Smart City” concept and the key priorities for research and innovation expressed in the EU Horizon 2020 framework, innovative, sustainable and inclusive solutions become crucial not only in terms of future and emerging technologies but first and foremost in terms of (i) human knowledge and skills, (ii) diverse and inclusive communities, as well as (iii) learning and knowledge networks. Hence, new forms of connected, interdisciplinary learning and cross-boundary cooperation are seen to play a critical role in the development of creative solutions and in the intelligent exploitation of networked urban infrastructures. In smart urban spaces, people, organisations and objects become interconnected by means of new technologies and media, forging new patterns of cooperation, production, research and innovation.

As smart cities we understand smart urban spaces sensu Michael de Certeau, i.e. “practiced places”, places which are transformed and constituted by dynamic and diverse elements (“a tour is different than a map”). From this perspective the following questions emerge:

What shapes can Personal Learning Environments take to support diversity, cross-boundary learning and interdisciplinary transformation of urban spaces? How can we design and implement Personal Learning Environments as part of highly interconnected social and technological infrastructures of smart cities? What technology-enhanced scenarios can be envisaged to enhance learning and diversity in cities of the future?

Conference topics include (but are not limited to):

+ Concepts, scenarios and technologies for fostering diversity with PLEs
+ Concepts, scenarios, technologies for learning in smart urban spaces
+ General theories and frameworks for PLE
+ Technologies and software for developing PLE
+ Pedagogical and didactic approaches to Personal Learning Environments
+ Personal Learning Environments and Personal Learning Networks (PLN)
+ PLE and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
+ Personal Learning Environments, Open Badges and Gamification
+ PLEs in practice: case studies, good practice and approaches to PLEs
+ PLEs in education: new approaches and managing change in education
+ PLEs in organisations: new approaches and change in enterprises
+ PLEs at work: PLEs work-based learning and vocational training
+ PLEs in context: PLEs for contextual learning such as mobile learning
+ PLE vision: emerging technologies and innovative approaches to PLEs