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Action Research 2.0 Project Planning for Vicente Novegil[muokkaa]

Title: A Personal Learning Environment in learning Statístics

Overall aim: We plan to construct a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) combining web 2.0 tools, an e-portfolio and a Learning Management Environment (LME). Our major aim is to get the students involved in their own learning suited to the subject of Introductory Statistics. We expect to develop an active role in our students and at the same time we can get a more collaborative learning.

Key words: PLE, LMS, web 2.0, e-portfolio, peer assessment, statistics

Key developmental goals of the project: (3-5 ideally)

  • Identify free web based tools needed for the process of Learning and Teaching Statistics.
  • Construct a PLE based on web 2.0 tools.
  • Adapt some learning activities to the PLE
  • Introduce new methods of Assessment suited both to a PLE and a LME

Key research questions of the study: (3-5 ideally)

  • How application of a Personal Learning Environment influence the Learning and Teaching Process.
  • What type of web 2.0 tools must we adopt for a course in Introductory Statistics.
  • What kind of changes are happening and what improvement they make.
  • How pupils accept learning with the PLE, which changes suit them and which motivate them to work and learn with more quality and more fun
  • How can we use LME and PLE in combination: learning and assessment activities

Research methodology and methods: (outline of approach to research and main methods with reference to key literature)

Technology is part of the new reality in the educational system. Students use it, and teachers need to find new ways to engage students in the learning process.

Technological tools are now being designed to support statistics learning in the following ways:

  • Students’ active construction of knowledge, by “doing” and “seeing” statistics.
  • Opportunities for students to reflect on observed phenomena.
  • The development of students’ metacognitive capabilities, that is, knowledge about their own learning and thought processes, self-regulation, and control. In addition, technological tools give students and teachers more opportunities for feedback, reflection, and revision (Garfield and Ben-Zvi, 2008)

Over the past years we have had some problems in the process of learning and teaching Introductory Statistics. These problems arose from the lack easy to use and free software. General purpose software and statistic specific software is needed as students in previous courses have stated in their e-portofolios.

Web 2.0 is the turning point in which the World Wide Web (WWW) can be used to full enhance the creativity of its users with its many instruments available such as blogs, social-networking sites, video sharing sites and wiki pages, just to mention a few. The richness and diversity of subjects that Statistics works with and the endless possibilities available at the WWW creates an excellent environment in which students play an active role and take responsibility in the entire learning process.

A Learning Management Environment (LME) Claroline had been used to enhance student’s learning but it needs some other tools to work properly in constructing significant learning. These tools must be oriented to constructivism and social learning.

At the same time a learning e-portfolio was part of the assessment strategy used into the LME. The students can create his/her own e-portfolio using an Excel Template in order to link to artifacts or evidences of their own learning. These artifacts were uploaded to the LME previously. This let us introduce reflection on the teaching and learning process.

But the LME is mainly managed by teachers and has no specific statistical tools. Some other tools for general purposes are needed because the students must take an active role in their learning and they need tools to support evidences of this active role. At this stage Web 2.0 tools are free and easy to use. Why don’t we combine these tools to create a Personal Learning Environment that let our students to construct their own learning? May be this PLE will constitute a basis for Life Long Learning? Are these tools suited for teaching and learning Statistics?

We will introduce our students to the use of de LME Claroline and at the same time some tools from web2.0 will be taking into account to perform our everyday work at the classroom. We will adapt some “old” activities to the new tools and so we may suggest improvement and assessment methods for the new situation. The new tools must take into account the nature of contents of the subject: Introductory Statistics. Also they must favor active learning from our students in order to improve reasoning (Garfield 2008).

The PLE will be gradually constructed by using tools mainly from Google: google docs, igoogle, blogger, and so on. We can see a PLE as an intersection of: e-portfolio, LME and web 2.0 tools (Delgado 2007)

So that in previous years we experienced an e-portfolio into the LME, now we will mix up web 2.0 tools.

The above mentioned will be the basis for my action research within a first introductory course in Statistics at University of Vigo. So I will research on my own teaching practice at the classroom. We shall use both quantitative and qualitative instruments. Qualitative:

  • Qualitative Data (reflections) from students’ e-portfolios
  • On-line tutoring through Forums


  • Data from LME Claroline
  • Results on assignments
  • Questionnaires about PLEs

I will use qualitative and quantitative analysis from the data. All the collected data will be the basis for making a narrative complete overview of action research. I will validate my results in three cycles: 1. with pupils involved 2. with supervisor and colleagues in NETEL course 3. with other teachers

Research ethics: (Include a short statement outlining potential ethical issues that you may face and in particular how you will ensure informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, beneficence i.e. positive good and non-malfeasance i.e. no harm).

Considering that this research involves young people older than 18 we need to pay attention mainly on informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality.

In order to maintain anonymity and confidentiality we will use Aggregative information form LME-PLE. We have tools at the LME that let us perform Anonymous enquires too.

The participation in this research will be optional for every student so that we could maintain informed consent. This will be specifically applied to information from a PLE of every student.

Review of relevant literature (~1500 words plus list of references)

Social Statistics based on Web 2.0 is a two way process, allowing the internet to be used for creating and sharing statistical information and knowledge, rather than merely accessing external artifacts. Fostering active learning our students can use social tools for creating and sharing Statistical thinking, reasoning and literacy. Connecting Research and Teaching Practice let us improving students learning (Garfield and Ben-Zvi 2008).

As we can see in Graham Attwell (2007), Personal Learning Environments may be useful or indeed central to learning in the future and some of the ideas behind the PLE must be considered. Other than a technical question it can be seen as an educational one, although Technologies are the key drivers in educational change.

Web 2.0 is a challenge technology. Blogs and Wikis have been introduced in the Learning and Teaching process and a lot of research is being conducted on these issues. Web 2.0 tools mean a new step on introducing Information and Communication Technology. Now the user is the main actor.

The idea of a Personal Learning Environment recognizes that learning is ongoing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning. It also recognizes the role of the individual in organizing his or her own learning. Moreover, the pressures for a PLE are based on the idea that learning will take place in different contexts and situations and will not be provided by a single learning provider. Linked to this is an increasing recognition of the importance of informal learning.

We can look at changing technology, especially the emergence of ubiquitous computing and the development of social software: web 2.0 We are coming to realize that we cannot simply reproduce previous forms of learning, the classroom or the university, embodied in software. Instead, we have to look at the new opportunities for learning afforded by emerging technologies.

Social software offers the opportunity to narrow the divide between producers and consumers. Consumers themselves become producers, through creating and sharing. One implication is the potential for a new ecology of ‘open’ content, books, learning materials and multimedia, through learners themselves becoming producers of learning materials.

We will consider how Personal Learning Environments might be developed through the aggregation of different services.

The pressures for a PLE are based on the idea that learning will take place in different contexts and situations and will not be provided by a single learning provider. Linked to this is an increasing recognition of the importance new methods of assessment. Some issues are behind the PLE´s:

  • Life Long Learning
  • Informal Learning
  • Different Styles of Learning: A Personal Learning Environment could allow a leaner to configure and develop a learning environment to suit and enable their own style of learning.
  • New approaches to assessment and the recognition of learning: The e-portfolio
  • Changing Technologies: ubiquitous computing (including the workplace) and the development of social software.

A Personal Learning environment is not an application. A PLE is comprised of all the different tools we use in our everyday life for learning. Some of the tools are:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • RSS (SharpReader, NetNewsWire, Akregator, Google Reader …) and Syndication
  • Collaboration suites, integrating: mail, calendar, contacts … (Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, Google gadgets…)
  • E-mail services (Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, Microsoft Outlook)
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Folksonomies
  • Media Sharing (Youtube, Slideshare, …)
  • Top Pages (Netvibes, iGoogle, ELGG, …)
  • Social Networks (LinkedIn, ELGG, Orkut, Ning, etc.)
  • Audio blogging and Podcasting

Social software has already led to widespread adoption of portfolios for learners bringing together learning from different contexts an sources of learning and providing an on-going record of lifelong learning, capable of expression in different forms.


  • Attwell, Graham (2007). The Personal Learning Environments - the future of eLearning?

eLearning Papers, vol. 2 no. 1. ISSN 1887-1542.

  • Garfield, J.B and Ben-Zvi, D (2008). Developing Student’ Statistical Reasoning. Connecting Research and Teaching Practice. Ed. Springer
  • Salvachúa, J. et cols. ¿Como puede ser el E-learning 2.0?

On-line accessible at:

  • Wilson, S. et cols. Personal Learning Environments: Challenging the Dominant Design of Educational Systems

On-line accessible at:

Activity plan:

a) Date:(date started) b) Activity: (what will you do) c) Timescale: (when completed by)


  • 24th September 2008 Introducing to LME

At the beginning of the course we will present ourselves at the LMS Claroline. We will use computers classroom

Timescale: 24th September 2008

  • 20th November 2008 Adapting activities to the PLE

Creating the Videocasts and Visualizing at the Blog Peer Assessment with rubrics through the Blog

Timescale: 5th December 2008

  • 27th November 2008 Introducing to iGoogle.

iGoogle is a useful tool as a Top Page where the students may organize some interesting tools in order to support their learning. We will introduce the uses of different Gadgets with iGoogle. This practice will be performed paying special attention to Google Docs. A Form will be constructed and sent to other students.

Timescale:27th November 2008

  • 18th January 2009 Constructing a PLE

We will use iGoogle as a PLE where students may personalize this Top Page with the tools most suitable to their interests. A standard proposal will be made within a practice using computers classroom.

Timescale: 18th January 2009

  • 18th April 2009 Survey about the PLE

A survey will be conducted. This enquire will be focused on the uses the students do for different subjects included Introductory Statistics.

Timescale: 30th April 2009

  • 15th May 2009 Project Report

Timescale: 29th May 2009