PLE 2014 – a call for hosts

The PLE Conference 2014 – an Open Call for hosts

The first PLE Conference was in 2010 in Barcelona. And it was so fantastic everyone asked where it would be next. So 2011 we were in Southampton. in 2012 it was Aveiro in Portugal. And this year PLE was hosted in Berlin. Meanwhile people from the south of the world asked for their own parallel conference. In 2012 and 2013 this has been organised in Melbourne, Australia.

In this time PLE conference has developed its own unique atmosphere and style with many saying it is their favourite conference.

Which leads to the next question – where will the PLE conference be in 2014? We have also developed a tradition of publishing an open call. Would you and your organisation like to host the PLE conference next year?

You will preferably be somewhere reasonably accessible and have access to spaces conducive for intensive and sociable knowledge sharing. You will probably need the support of your organisation. And despite the great support from the PLE Conference Organising Committee you will need to commit yourself to some hard work.

If you think this sounds like you please contact Graham Attwell or another member of the PLE Committee by September 20, 2013. Also feel free to ask us anything you need more information about.

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PLEs: Is “personal” also “social”?

Are Personal Learning Environments only about “personal” or also about “social”? Here are some thoughts and questions:

Ilona: It seems to me that the focus on “personal” in the discussion on PLEs makes people think that learners are isolated, on their own, not communicating, while actually “personal” is more about individual, learner-centered, learner-owned. The social has been somehow pre-programmed to PLEs, especially with Web 2.0, but not thematised explicitly, so maybe that’s why the PLN concept was created to fill out this “social” missing. How much social is there in PLEs and what’s the difference to concepts such as CSCL?

Ademar: Ultimately, “personal” and “social” are different terms, but closely related, for sure, since there is no “social” without “personal”. In terms of LEs, I see difference between using Personal LE or Social LE, only in the emphasis of each term, i.e., although both have commonalities, PLE seem to focus “more” on the individual, personal learning, and SLE suggest that focus “more” on the aspects of learning together, in a more social way, and therefore favors some features more than others. I see also PLN as a term closer to SLE, but by not having the LE in the term, it seems that emphasises the network, the contacts, the links of the social graph, and not the learning environment itself.  CSCL as a concept can be placed very close to PLN and SLE and … etc. The point is again the same for me: where is the emphasis in the terms? In CSCL the emphasis was on having the learning process supported by computers. Since today everything is supported by computers, the term CSCL sounds antique for me, and not really grasping anymore the essence of learning with technology.

Ricardo: I agree with Ilona that the “social” was somehow implied in PLEs, but not explicitly, and I think that’s where the PLN concept emerged. In other words, I think that PLEs foster PLNs. I have been thinking about this for a while, and I think that it could be argued that the creation of a Digital Identity is the foundation of a PLE, which allows the learner to develop connections that in turn create a PLN. If you want to take this one step further, in terms of the learning process, maybe this sequence is one of the drivers behind MOOCs. In fact, in a MOOC you’ll see both “social” and “personal” sides of the digital support to learning processes. As Ademar says, the emphasis is put on different elements, but it is true that there is no social without personal – and, in the end, we are still talking about learning, whether it is alone or as a part of a community – or both.

What do you think? Join the discussion!

Ilona Buchem, Ademar Aguiar and Ricardo Torres

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Cristina Costa and Graham Attwell talk about the idea of unkeynotes

We have been meaning to do this for a long time. And I totally screwed the first take of this short video where Cristina Costa and me talk about unkeynotes. And even on this version i managed to lose half my head. But Cristina smiles all the way through!

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Berlin unkeynotes: Helen Keegan and Michael Kerres

We are happy to announce our Berlin keynote speakers: Helen Keegan and Michael Kerres. Please find introductions on our unkeynotes page. Informations concerning the Melbourne keynotes will follow later this year.

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The PLE Conference 2013 unKeynotes

Berlin unKeynotes

Prof. Dr. Michael Kerres is professor of education at the university of Duisburg-Essen. His present research interests include learning innovations in education, instructional design of online learning and social learning enviornments. He is director of the university’s Learning Lab and head of the online master  programmes “Educational Media” and “Educational Leadership”.

For more info see::

Helen Keegan (@heloukee) is a National Teaching Fellow (UK Higher Education Academy) and Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Salford, UK.  Her expertise lies in curriculum innovation through social and participatory media, with a particular focus on creativity and interdisciplinarity. She has been recognised by JISC as one of 10 institutional innovators in UK Higher Education, and is known for her work on digital cultures and identities, social
technologies and the interplay between formal and informal learning; Helen works across sciences and media arts, developing partnerships and creative approaches to learning and collaboration. As a regular international speaker, recent engagements have included the New Media Consortium at MIT, BBC Global News and the European Distance Education Network.

For more info see:

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Call for Papers: The PLE Conference 2013

The Call for Papers for the PLE Conference 2013 is out! We are happy to announce that the PLE Conference 2013 will be held in Berlin & Melbourne 10-12 July 2013 and the special theme in 2013 will be: Personal Learning Environments: Learning and Diversity in Cities of the Future.

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.

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?

For more information about the Call for Papers including submission themes, formats, important dates and guidelines for submissions, please have a look at the pages “Call for Papers” and “Important Dates”.

We will be happy to welcome you all in Berlin and Melbourne!

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The PLE Conference 2013

The Call for Papers and further information about the PLE Conference 2013 is coming soon …

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PLE Conference welcome reception

Important notification!

With the sponsorship of UNICER we will have special prizes for the best 3 photos that portray a Super Bock beer bottle at the Conference reception.

You just have to publish the photos in Twitter (with the #PLEConf hashtag) or in Sapo Campus to be able to win an amazing prize.

Are you ready to participate?


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Melbourne Programme in PDF

And here is the Melbourne Programme in PDF format. Online version to follow this afternoon.

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Already packed?

Aveiro is the city where sun and wind meet. Yes, we have sun. Lots of it. But we also have a (not so) nice wind that, day and night, reminds us that perfection doesn’t exist.

So here is the weather forecast for the next four days. We won’t have rain, so you won’t need an umbrella… but don’t forget to pack a coat or a sweater!

See you in two days, in Aveiro!

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