Invited (un)keynote: Being worked into your PLE

I am happy to announce that Prof. Heidrun Allert has kindly agreed to deliver an invited (un)keynote titled “Being worked into your PLE”. Here is what she has in mind…

Heidrun Allert

“The un-keynote states that PLEs up to now are primarily focused on the transfer, dissemination, and/or organisation of information rather than on the collaborative advancement of ideas. In the current version artefacts are basically treated as self-contained carriers of information rather than as objects of ongoing concern and emergent meaning making. Further developments hence should move from a document towards an idea-centered paradigm, supporting the transcending use of artifacts. The un-keynote will provide a respective experience we then will discuss about.”

Heidrun Allert holds the chair of Media Education & Educational Computer Sciences at the University of Kiel, Germany.

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!

Invited (un)keynote: Your environment is not my environment

I am very happy to announce that Prof. Aaro Toomela has kindly agreed to challenge us with an (un)keynote titled “Your environment is not my environment”. Aaro will focus on the problem that we don’t seem to have a clear understanding of what we mean by “environment”. After presenting the problem and a proposal for a solution, Aaro will discuss with us whether we agree that the problem indeed exists and whether his proposal makes any sense.

Aaro Toomela Aaro Toomela is a Professor of Cultural Psychology and Neuropsychology at Tallinn University, Estonia. He has published widely. Aaro worked as a child neurologist before he moved into the field of Psychology. He currently works on a general theory of mind.

Stay tuned for more programme previews in the coming days!

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

“Bodystorming” on “Assistive Thinking” – Exploring the socio-material entanglement of PLEs

And here comes another programme preview from the “alternative session” department…

Sabine Reisas and Prof. Heidrun Allert from the Department of Media Education & Educational Computer Sciences at the University of Kiel, Germany, will offer the following session:

Sabine ReisasHeidrun Allert

Alternative Session:
“Bodystorming” on “Assistive Thinking” – Exploring the socio-material entanglement of PLEs

Life in a knowledge-based society puts specific requirements on thinking, working and learning. In order to to be able to meet these challenges we support and improve communication and thinking through technology. In this process we create technologies making our ability to think and communicate look restricted again. We are imperfect. We do not cope well. Every solution produces unforseen contingencies. How do humans distribute thinking and acting through technology? Which epistemic practices emerge? How does this influence our concept of PLE? How do we create, re-produce and change our PLEs in practices? How do we negotiate PLEs regarding those uncertain and emerging working and learning situations that are inherently socially entangled and mediated by technology?

The workshop introduces the notion “assistive thinking” which was developed in the context of the multilateral project “Creating Knowledge through Design & Conceptual Innovation” co-funded by the European Union (project website: ). The project aims to foster creative and critical thinking among students and professionals of various disciplines, enabling them to generate innovation and knowledge. Based on the educational model “Design as Inquiry” we see “Design” a general mode of inquiry that aims to gain insight by means of reflective intervention. This perspective is used as an underlying foundation for the exploration of technology and its means for personal/ social practices. From this perspective, we claim that the design of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is an ongoing epistemic activity that is mutually entangled with materiality/ technology and the accompanying social interactions.

The workshop aims to foster a conversation about “the role of exploring artifacts (resources/technology) in practices” and their affordances. Furthermore we want to discuss, if technical options of ubiquitary and hybrid computing are conceivable and preferable in society. What are personal and social implications? What options are socially accepted and adopted? How are opportunities explored, percieved and used? How does exploring and intervening in the world, negotiating meaning, decision making, and problem solving challenge our way we design our PLEs? In this sense, we will explore the constitutive entanglement of technology and human epistemological practices.

Tapping into your personal curiosity: Personal Learning Environments and Inquiry-Based Learning

While we are working on the overall schedule and programme, I thought I would provide a few “programme previews” here and there… so that you can start to form an idea of all the good things that are in the pipeline for July 16. to 18.

So, let me start with an “Alternative Session” that will be offered by Dr. Alexander Mikroyannidis from the Knowledge Media Institute at The Open University, UK.

This is what Alexander is going to address in his workshop:

Alternative Session:
“Tapping into your personal curiosity: Personal Learning Environments and Inquiry-Based Learning”

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) enables learners to take the role of an explorer and a scientist as they try to solve issues they came across and that made them wonder, thus tapping into their personal feelings of curiosity. IBL leads to structured knowledge about a domain and to more skills and competences about how to carry out efficient and communicable research.

A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is an innovative paradigm conceptualizing the aggregation, manipulation and sharing of digital artefacts by learners, within a flexible and versatile online space. The PLE follows a learner-centric approach, allowing the use of lightweight services and tools that belong to and are controlled by individual learners.

The European project weSPOT ( adopts a PLE-based approach in order to support learners and educators in IBL (Mikroyannidis, Okada, & Scott, 2013). The project focuses on IBL with a theoretically sound and technology-supported personal inquiry approach. weSPOT supports the meaningful contextualization of scientific concepts by relating them to personal curiosity, experiences, and reasoning. weSPOT addresses several challenges in the area of science education and technology support for building personal conceptual knowledge (Mikroyannidis, Okada, Scott, et al., 2013).

This workshop will enable participants to understand how a PLE can be used to support them in their research, learning or teaching tasks, following an IBL methodology. Participants will first be introduced to the concepts of IBL and PLEs and the related technologies. They will then be able to use the toolkit developed by the weSPOT project in order to carry out a research inquiry. More specifically, they will be using the weSPOT inquiry space (, an online personal and social environment for performing scientific inquiries. Participants will be asked to use this environment in order to build a PLE that will help them investigate their preferred research topic. They will have the opportunity to try out the tools offered in this environment and perform their inquiry either individually or collaboratively in groups. At the end of the workshop, there will be time for reflection and discussions on the weSPOT toolkit and IBL/PLEs in general.


At the end of the workshop, participants will have acquired:

  • A good overview of the different pedagogical approaches for IBL in relation to PLEs.
  • An awareness of the range of resources, tools and methods available to enable PLEs for IBL.
  • An understanding of how IBL can be applied in their own research, learning, or teaching context.

Stay tuned for more “programme previews” over the next few days and weeks!

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

Interactive session: The future of PLEs in the light of emerging practices

We invite all participants of the PLE Conference 2014 to an interactive session on Personal Learning Environments: The future of PLEs in the light of emerging practices.

In the past PLEs have often been seen from two different perspectives: the technological-oriented view and a pedagogical-oriented view. These frames influence the selection of research questions, methods and analytical perspectives – as well as how course concepts are developed. The different underlying conceptualisations of PLEs are visible in the way we as practitioners, teachers, students and researchers act in the world and how we use PLEs in work and learning.

In this interactive session we want to take a step further and discuss with you new perspectives on PLEs, e.g.: We want to have a closer look on how PLE research/development could evolve? What kind of social and cultural implication should be considered? How could a practice-oriented view be fruitful for further research and course development, and so forth?

This session will be held in the form of a World Café, so that we can discuss questions that really matter to the PLE Community. The participants will have the time to discuss, draw, doodle and connect ideas to make collective insights visible. In the end we will collect, share and exhibit evolving ideas and visualisations. The session will be moderated by Sabine Reisas (University of Kiel), Linda Castañeda (University of Murcia) and Annette Pedersen (University of Copenhagen).

Let`s explore the future of PLEs together!