ELGG – danielcraig’s dashboard

Ok, I’m back to ELGG. I’m usually pretty good at figuring this stuff out, but ELGG is rather confusing. At first I thought that I just didn’t understand the concept, but that’s not the case. I understand perfectly and it’s a good idea, but the design is terrible.

How does anyone figure all this out? They seem to be all over the board. It reminds me of MSN Spaces (the early design), which is not a complement.

Don’t get me wrong, this space is a great idea. This is an idea that is long overdue. This is social networking on a scale that could really work well for teachers. It’s somewhat protected. It allows for a great amount of customization. It allows from grouping. It’s really powerful in these ways.

However, it’s not what I thought that it would be. It is not a super aggregator. It’s not a place where I can merge my Moodle spaces, existing blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, and so forth. Not that this would be an easy task. I’m sure that it would be nearly impossible. However, this is what I want from a PLE.

PLE’s should work with existing services. Students shouldn’t have to create new blogs for each class that they are taking. Really, they should be able to use their personal ones if they wanted. The same goes for all these other services that we are already using. All of them have rss, they really should be quite easy to pull into a solitary system in some way or other.

PLE’s should not only incorporate tags, they should make it easy to filter by tags. del.icio.us does this. I can subscribe to a particular group of tags. PLE’s should facilitate this process for services that use tags, but don’t filter feeds by tags. There should be an option to filter these feeds. This way users can essentially designate which posts are going to go to which classes/spaces.

In the end, PLE’s need to reduce the number of places (especially NEW places) that our students have to go. These days, as the technologies change so fast, we require our students to use more and more of these simply to participate in our class. While many of these are likely beneficial and support our learning goals, it takes students a month or more to get used to these distributed systems.

This is why LMS’s are so popular. The users have one place to go (with one password) and they can complete all of their assignments there. Newer LMS’s and CMS’s are even incorporating aspects of Web 2.0 in a sort of half-assed fashion. These changes also include personal spaces in these systems that enable users to bring in feeds and start groups. This blurs the line between a PLE and an LMS at that point.

In the end, I’ll keep following ELGG, but I’m not going to use it with any of my classes in the near future. I’m not even sure if the PLE concept is worth introducing until the concept is out of Beta 🙂

However, if anyone reads this blog, which I kind of doubt, let me know if I’m all wrong. Convince me of all the wonders of ELGG. I’ve heard the hype and just can’t understand why.

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