Personal learning environments begin with the interface you are using, so for example my mobile PLE will have different uses to my laptop PLE, and my desktop PLC is different again as this is purely work related. Since moving away from web design and into learning technologies, my repertoire of tools has changed and with that different drivers to learn new tools. So my PLEs reflect my career and interests.
In my diagram I have not attempted to map paths or learning journeys as this would be futile meaning I may be using a number of tools at the same time as well as mixing up tasks – meaning I will answer email, write an essay and dip into the web every now and again for some diversion.
In terms of VLEs v PLEs, I believe there is room for both, as Martin Weller refers to in his Using learning environments as a metaphor for educational change, the embed code allows the cloud based tools into the VLE and likewise, data can be pushed out to FB (if it really has to, but I’m not in favour of this).
In terms of students knowing all about using these wonderful tools, I wonder just how true this is. I suspect many don’t know how to discern found information just as many will not use social bookmarking tools such as Diigo or micro-blogging such as Twitter for learning. I ‘m in favour of supporting students to use these tools when they first arrive at university so they get a good grounding and realise the great benefits of sharing information. I am speaking from a learner perspective as I had no real idea how powerful social booking and networking was in a formal context.
In terms of issues, some students will require more support and course teams should be aware of this.