This is a cross-posting of a comment made to this post by David Warlick:
Um, thinking about sincronicity and serendipity...
I woke up today (Sunday) and started to check my Google Reader on my cell phone, and then this post came up.
Just last night I was writing about one article from Thomas Frey called The future of Education, where he makes an interesting case on the barriers and obstacles that come from having a classroom & teacher focused educational system, along with some trends related to the education defined by its lack of limits that you mention, David.
I'm not completely comfortable with the idea of having "the platform". I feel, like Sharon says, that tailoring your own PLE makes more sense, and in the end will be much more flexible and meaningful that yet another centralized system (that kind of system is suggested by Frey sometimes, but I'm not really into that).
Then Vicki says something quite interesting: "How do you regulate them [the students] at home?" Curiously, this was one of the most interesting things in the Frey document. Why do we think that, as educators, is our mission to control and regulate? I think that for so many of us, there is right now a strong concern about keeping the "control" over our classroom/course (for example, look at the position of so many teachers about keeping cell phones out of the classroom). That has to do with an image of learning tied exclusively to the school and the classroom.
Like Frey says in his document, we need to understand that, in these days (and always, if it comes to that), the school is not the center of our students' life. It is just another place where THEIR learning happens, even if sometimes is completely unrelated to their lives.
So we are talking about a need of having control (generated not by the teacher, but by the whole system) and, when that is in the background, I think that even the most well-intended pedagogy can, eventually, get in the way of learning. And this is because the student is, in the end, trying to cope with the objectives defined by someone else.
Here's the link to my review of Frey's document. Sadly, it's in spanish by now.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but I think I'm coming to terms with something important, so the world is kind of sending me messages. Now I'm wondering if it makes sense to publish my review of Frey's document in english also...