What Weaving and Personal Learning Networks have in Common

The first line of a favorite poem “The Weaving” by Corrie Ten Boom reads, “My life is but a weaving…” While the quality of this photo is poor, as I took it in a rather dark and dusty loom workshop in Nepal, it illustrates what Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) mean to me. You may have to look close to see what I’m trying to highlight here.

Threads come from a seemingly endless arrangement of spools, and at first glance it appears they are in disarray and chaos. Upon further inspection, you will see each thread is skillfully channeled into what appears to be a single string. This string, while made up of many threads, forms the fiber of what will become a large tapestry, carefully crafted and intentionally woven.

While I love being “connected” to the greater world, especially on topics of interest, it can all be a bit overwhelming at times. PLEs are a means of filtering, channeling, harnessing many tools, websites, groups, feeds, blogs, wikis, headlines, apps, software, conferences (and more) into something that is not only manageable but powerful. Beautiful. Made up of many small fibers, they come together to create a greater whole. I think the tricky part is skillfully–and intentionally–choosing which of the many fibers I will allow to become part of my digital identity and the overall tapestry of my 21st Century life.

[If you’re familiar at all with Corrie Ten Boom, you won’t be surprised to know the poem itself focuses on her religious conviction, with God being the master Weaver in the tapestry of life. Though I’ve always loved The Hiding Place, it took on new meaning this summer for me as I was able to visit her home in Haarlem, The Netherlands. I stood in the very hiding place she wrote of. It was so very cool.]


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