Thank you very much!

I would like to thank all participants of the 5th International Conference on Personal Learning Environments 2014 for turning our little event into a very lively, engaging, and conversational encounter. Without your openness for playing with alternative session formats and the purposeful blending of programmed and more informal forms of engagement this type of conference would simply not be possible.

PLE Conference 2014 in Tallinn

I would also like to thank again my fantastic organisational team in Tallinn – Dr. Kairit Tammets, Dr. Terje Väljataga, and Priit Tammets – who helped in so many ways to turn the overall event into a rather pleasant experience for all of us.

The Tallinn Team will try to slow down and rest a bit in the coming days before we rejoin and start curating some of the digital traces that were produced during and around last week.

I hope you all took something interesting – or even inspiring -with you from Tallinn!

All the best,

Dr. Sebastian HD Fiedler – Tallinn Conference Chair

Preparing for the Paper Sessions

We got a few questions regarding the format of the paper sessions. So, let me try to elaborate a bit on that topic before we finally come together in Tallinn.

In the Call for Papers we had stated the following:

“The PLE Conference treats written submissions of academic work and the presentation of it as two totally different practices…”

What we mean by that is that during the actual conference event we really want to use our written products only as a sort of backdrop. So, instead of trying to “cover” your entire paper in any comprehensive way, we would expect you to provide some conversational triggers or hooks that engage other participants and that invite controversial exchanges.

We do not expect that we will be able to treat all topics and questions within the allocated sessions alone. The overall programme is designed to allow for various opportunities to carry on with conversations throughout the entire conference. So, relax… and treat the “paper sessions” mainly as conversation starters.

Please prepare for “presenting” your contribution roughly along the following guiding questions:

  1. What problem/challenge/question does your contribution address?
  2. What are your main insights?
  3. What are the limitations/weaknesses of your contribution?
  4. What would you like to discuss/explore with other participants?

You can use whatever means you would like for getting these aspects across. Just be prepared to do this in a very condensed manner. We have up to 4 contributions in each paper session. So, please shoot for around 5 minutes in “presentation” mode, ending with a clear statement regarding question 4 (what you would like to discuss or explore with other participants)… and leave the rest of the time we have together for an actual exchange of ideas.

We are really looking forward to welcoming you all in Tallinn!

Dr. Sebastian HD Fiedler

Conference dinner on Thursday – July 17th

On Thursday, July 17th we will have our conference dinner to keep conversations going.

We have reserved a rather funky space at Maru Kohvik.
Maru Kohvik is located in the Lennusadam complex – a former Seaplane harbour that now hosts the stunning Maritime Museum. The Museum and Maru Kohvik are right in the old hangar buildings that had been initially constructed as part of the naval fortress of Peter the Great in 1916-1917.

Food will follow a Nordic-inspired theme.
The “ticket” for this dinner option is 35 Euro and will include the following items:

  1. Welcoming drink Maru special (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  2. Starters:
    • Salad (barley grits with smoked ham and wild mushrooms)
    • Salad (smoked Baltic herring with apples, potato and pickled cucumbers)
  3. Main dishes:
    • Pickled duck with mashed carrot and rhubarb sauce
    • Croquette of barley grits and smoked baltic herring, served with potato and onion mash
  4. Desserts:
    • rye bread with “kohupiim” (a type of sour creme)
    • cheesecake with strawberry salad
    • rhubarb cake

We will order and pay for our drinks individually at the bar.
We need to let the restaurant know how many folks actually want to participate.

Please, put your name on this Doodle Poll to pre-book your tickets no later than July 9th!

Pre-conference dinner on July 16th

On July 16th we want to meet for an informal, pre-conference dinner to get the conversations started.

We have reserved a rather nice space at “Lendav Taldrik” – an Indian Restaurant that has recently opened within the Creative Hub at Telliskivi 60a.

The “ticket” for this dinner option is 25 Euro and will include the following items:

  1. Welcoming drink: Zonin Prosecco Special Cuvee
  2. Starters:
    • Paneer Pakora (indian cheese)
    • Cauliflower Pakora
    • Chicken Pakora
  3. Main dishes:
    • Chicken Masala
    • Nepal Kheema
    • Channa Masala
    • … all with rice and raita (yogurt salad with cucumber, onion and tomatoes)
  4. Dessert: Kheer

Additional drinks will be ordered and paid individually at the bar.
We need to let the restaurant know how many folks want to participate.
Please, put your name on this Doodle Poll to pre-book your tickets no later than July 9th!

Personal Learning Environments, Self Directed Learning and Context

Graham Attwell from Pontydysgu, UK, has just published a post titled “Personal Learning Environments, Self Directed Learning and Context“. This is what Graham has to say about PLEs and “people not enrolled on formal educational programmes”…

…At a development level, there is little point in trying to develop a new PLE to replace the VLE. Instead we need to provide flexible tools which can enhance existing technologies and learning provision, be it formal courses and curricula or informal learning in the workplace or in the community. It can be argued that whilst most educational technology development has focused on supporting learners already engaged in educational programmes and institutions, the major potential of technology and particularly of Personal Learning Environments is for the majority of people not enrolled on formal educational programmes. Not all workplaces or for that matter communities offer a rich environment or learning. Yet there is vast untapped potential in such environments, particularly for the development and sharing of the tacit knowledge and work process knowledge required in many tasks and occupations. PLE tools can help people learning in formal and informal contexts, scaffold their learning and develop a personal learning knowledge base or portfolio…

Read the full post on the Pontydysgu Weblog.

Inspired by earlier editions of the PLE conference

Dr. Gemma Tur Ferrer from the School of Education of the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain, has recently launched her new personal website titled UNlearning & UNteaching. In her second post Gemma shares how much her work has been inspired by taking part in earlier editions of the PLE conference.

Thanks, Gemma… for this personal account and for supporting the ongoing discourse around PLEs with your contributions.

Gemma Tur Ferrer

The name of my new site is especially dedicated to the PLE people … When I started my research life at University I happily  attended the first PLE Conference. I didn’t know it was the UNconference with UNkeynoters. I just thought that the PLE UNstyle was the style… I learned so much and felt so at home that I felt I could manage in what was for me a new world.

I learned there that teaching and learning with technology means giving the power to the learner; that  technologically-based teaching methodologies have to be student-centred and aimed at self-regulated learning or it is not worth using ICT. I learned that the PLE was a pedagogical approach and that its research is devoted to understanding how to transform the learning process with technology. And it has changed the way I understand learning and teaching now in the emergent new educational contexts with technology. Reading and listening to scholars in educational technology at the PLE Conference means learning about relevant social and educational research.

Therefore, there was no other option for me but to dedicate my site to the PLE Conference… UNlearning and UNteaching for me is the only way to carry out research related to transformational educational practices with ICT. And this is something, which along  with the PLE people, I will work hard to achieve.

By the way, are you attending the PLE Conference 2014? I think you should consider attending it

We sincerely hope that this years edition of #PLEConf provides more experiences of this kind.

Come and join us in beautiful Tallinn in July for some great (un)conferencing on Personal Learning Environments… and beyond.

Dr. Sebastian HD Fiedler – Tallinn Conference Chair

Update on reserved Hotel rooms

We still hold a number of hotel rooms in two hotels that have agreements in place with Tallinn University. With the holiday season getting closer the hotel folks are getting a little more antsy. So, we have been told that Park Central is only willing to hold rooms until June 17th and Nordic Hotel Forum until June 19.

More details about these hotel options and how to book them can be found in the “Where to stay” section.

In case you are looking for alternative accommodation there is a wide selection available on platforms like or Also AirBnB lists a growing number of private accommodation in town.

Tallinn Old Town - Main Square

Submission of accepted academic papers: guidelines and new deadline

We have decided to move the submission deadline for all accepted academic papers to
July 1.
I am sure some of you appreciate the little extra time for working on your text. And we think we can afford this extension.

I also want to use the opportunity to remind all authors of accepted academic papers that you need to submit your texts following the guidelines below:

  • Title
    Titles should be informative and stimulate interest.

  • Author(s)
    State the author(s) name(s) and affiliations

  • Abstract
    Articles must include an abstract of around 300 words providing sufficient information on the research.

  • Section headings
    Use a maximum of three levels of headings. Do not number the headings.

  • Figures
    Figures, graphics, and/or images should be at least 300 dpi.

    It is the author’s responsibility to ensure figures, graphics and/or images used in his/her paper are cleared of copyright and/or that she has the rights from the copyright holder to reproduce those figures, graphics and images. When figures, graphics, and images are reproduced, a parenthesis should be added to the figure legend stating the following: (Reproduced with permission from xxx.)

  • References
    References need to follow APA style.

  • Length
    Academic papers should not be longer than 8000 words including tables, captions, and references.

  • File format
    Please submit your final papers as pdf-files.

Based on the experiences of last year we have decided that we don’t provide a particular template at this point in time. Formatting templates most likely become part of the picture after the conference in the context of some of the publication projects we are still negotiating.

So, as long as we all stick to a 12 point (readable) font, bold for headlines, and the brought guidelines above… things should be fine.

We are looking forward to your contributions!

Dr. Sebastian H.D. Fiedler – Tallinn Conference Chair

Another special issue on Personal Learning Environments published

The Journal of Literacy and Technology (JLT) has just published a Special Issue titled “Personal Learning Environments: Current Research and Emerging Practice“. The issue includes papers from the PLE Conference 2013 (Berlin/Melbourne) and is thus the second special issue – after eLearning Papers Issue No. 35 published in the fall of 2013 – that features contributions from the 2013 edition of the Personal Learning Enironments Conference Series. This new special issue of JLT is edited by Nancy Rubin (Columbia University, USA) and Ilona Buchem (Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany).