Personal Learning Environment
PLE: The Octopus
I decided to represent my Personal Learning Environment as an Octopus, because I do many things, as an octopus has many arms. It was the best visualization for my learning environment. All of the things I do seem chaotic when moving around and tangled up when resting, but always work as a whole and in unison.
I lived in Chile for 23 years and been an American the rest, I have family in Chile and the U.S., I speak two languages and I am learning two more for professional reasons, I’ve been to college in two different countries and I have two bachelor degrees, and working on my masters. I currently work as a medical interpreter, college instructor, writer, editor for a magazine, soccer referee, and my favorite job is to playing the guitar and bass in a jazz band. In addition, I volunteer in 3 places, and I am a family man. This is my personal learning environment 24 hours a day, everyday of the week, every week of the year.
In order to make all of these elements work, I have to become an octopus; there is no other way to balance the amount of things going on in my life. I placed 6 arms in my octopus: Art-Family-Education-Work-Music-Tools. These are the essential elements of my life, and I am constantly handling every single one of them carefully. Many of these arms sometimes overlap and get twisted around each other; many times work gets in the way of family, other times I work with my family; this is the reason why I represented my PLE not in a linear way in which intersections and arrows mark a clean pattern, but knotted around.
The elements that conform my map are scrambled around because they work, interact, intersect, and overlap with and against each other, just like the tentacles of an octopus; this happens not in a linear way, but interconnecting with each other in one or more points, and in some cases not connecting at all. In order to have vacations, I find a job that requires traveling, like journalism; that is how I balance the lack of time and the amount of work with my personal life. On a traditional day, like yesterday or the day before, I wake up, check my email and answer them, wake up my girls, get ready for the day, have breakfast, drop off the girls at school, and come to Eugene to class. While in Eugene, I edit articles between classes, do my homework, contact acquaintances, pay bills, I have meetings through conference calls, etc. I return to Bend, around 11pm, right on time for my night shift at the hospital. If I am lucky, or unlucky depending on the perspective, I won’t get called in, but some nights there is no sleeping, because my shift ends at 7am, right on time to start all over again. On the weekends, I have to travel all around Central Oregon to referee soccer, and if there is extra time have some band practice. As presented, is necessary to have some familiarity with my environment in order to understand its presentation, and from the outside it can’t be denied, the map is very representational.
In order to accomplish my day, I have the constant company of modern technology, cell phone, web access, Facebook, emails, face-time, open and running all of the time. But I also rely much of my work in traditional ways as with old newspapers, books, paintings, essays, etc.
Some of the major intersections between elements of my map are education and work, by being an instructor and a student at the same time, I have to constantly be updating myself and learning to get a grade, and learn to work and teach. Another important intersection is music and work; music has been my passion since I was 4. Today, music still drives my life, and I work in it by playing jazz in a band. The tools in my map also intermingle in different categories (or arms). I use technology as the computer and programs as I-tunes or Facebook to communicate with my family, to write, to research, to record music, to listen to music, etc.
My Personal Learning Environment is not very conventional, and it doesn’t look like a map, in fact anyone trying to make much sense of this PLE, will be as lost as I am when I was doing it. But again, as an octopus, all of the elements in my PLE are able to work individually, and at the same time; at some point, an arm can even be cut off, and still the octopus has the capacity of regenerate it. I just hope the brain of the octopus, has enough strength to keep the arms working, as they should, for as long as it can.