Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal Of Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385.
This is an interesting study conducted in an independent college prep school. High school students were assigned to study topics of their choice through creating a personal learning environment, rather than through using traditional textbook study methods. This demonstrates the ways in which personal learning networks are an effective way to encourage constructivist approaches to learning, and use of technology to support deeper learning outcomes and greater reflection than might happen through traditional methods. As predicted, some students benefitted more than others, and they got out of it what they put into it. Those with open minds to the new learning format gained the most.
This article was very beneficial to me, as personal learning environments were a new concept to me this semester. I found the graphic illustration of “the networked student” very helpful in understanding the concept of a personal learning environment, the role technology plays, how it should work, and how it contributes to the independent learning process. This is a very useful article for anyone seeking to build a personal learning environment for themself, but it also provides guidance for how to introduce these tools to students without overwhelming them, especially if they are used to more traditional learning methods.