PLEs relate very closely to the idea of Learner Autonomy. As you can see from this video.
Graham Attwell (one of the people responsible for this video) has described a PLE in the following terms:
" the environment in which we learn. And that includes work, the home, our social environment and the institutional learning programmes in which we participate. It includes books and above all perhaps it includes people… It recognises the primacy of the learner on driving and developing their learning. And – in terms of tools – it provides them the means to organise their own learning… Personal Learning Networks, Personal Learning Environments – I don’t really mind what we call them. What is critical is that a PLE / PLN helps us in organising our learning and helps us make the connections with those with whom we want to collaborate and share, whoever, wherever they are."(See his blog for the full post.)
If you start to think about your current PLE you're well on the way to seeing how you can develop it. A good way to start is to draw up a mind map. Here's mine for example.
Then you can consider the resources that you find most useful and productive. For example, I like:
- the TeachingEnglish facebook page for it's lively discussions and teaching tips
- twitter where you can do searches e.g. #elt, #tesol,#iatefl and find other teachers' handy tips, links etc.
- Symbaloo which is useful for keeping links to all your own – or your classes - most useful web resources in one place
- wordnik which gives the meaning of words with examples of their use in context plus links to them
- wordia which includes videos that people upload to illustrate a word
- and in general tools that support learning activities for example this blog that he developed with students for their science experiments which used a combination of blogger and google docs