Personal Learning Environments - Concept not Tool

The educational response to the concept of Personal Learning Environment has been to try and create a tool and present it as a ready made Personal Learning Environment. Well, this misses the point. Also, it is symptomatic of educational institutions desire to control. So they create walled, narrow tools (usually something like an e-portfolio system) and pass it off as a Personal Learning Environment. My Personal Learning spills over a number of different tool. I would say that igoogle is the major gateway but google reader and blogger are key elements (at the moment). Maybe by having the word "environment", the concept is given a false representative quality that it shouldn't have.

I've been prompted to reflect on this whilst reading Exploring Personal Learning Environment by Graham Atwell. Amongst this resource I found the following useful quote:

"Another approach is to consider the PLE not as a specific tool, but rather as a concept, a way of organizing a variety of Web 2.0 technologies. The PLE would be unique to each user, and would change according to the user’s needs and experiences." [Kompen R, Edirisingha P & Monguet J (2009) Using Web 2.0 applications as supporting tools for Personal Learning Environments]

Sums it up nicely I think.