Okay, deep breath in….sometimes when first learning about new technology it can be overwhelming.  This is something my group was discussing tonight during class.  While the prospects of refining the information available on the web and having concise information to suit your needs and interests delivered right to you is thrilling, it is also daunting at the outset.  Diigo, delicious, RSS…oh my!  Setting up the various accounts, more log-ins, more passwords; oh wait, what are the various features of the different accounts?…cross-reference notes, confer with classmates, okay now I remember…deep breath out.  I think I’ve got it.  Well, at least the basics.  I am certainly not at the skill level of many others when it comes to embedding things and other such fancy tricks. 

I definitely see the benefit in personal learning environments over blackboard when it comes to educational experiences.  Blackboard disappears when the semester is over ending the connections and conversations between a student and a professor and other students unless the student makes an effort to continue conversing with the professor and classmates via other services such as email (readily available information on most campuses).  There have certainly been times where I couldn’t remember a classmates full name from a previous semester to be able to look up their email address and thus that connection was lost unless I saw them on campus or at some point later ended up having a class together again.  In some of these instances, continued conversations through some of the technological advances we’ve discussed thus far–blogs, tags, RSS–could lead to important connections whether it be for networking purposes or for the acquisition of knowledge.  This makes me think of a moment I had earlier this semester in another class.  My assignment was to look up four research articles related to Educational Psychology.  In the process, I found multiple journals dedicated to my research interests that I previously didn’t know existed.  All of this due to having a background in psychology versus education…the key to a plethora of research related to my interests lie in the area of Educational Psychology which I did not become aware of until this past year.  I will remember this experience as I continue in my time as a student and then a professor in higher education…Any person might hold the key that unlocks the door to someone else’s quest for knowledge.  Blogs, tagging, and RSS used in the academic context can greatly expedite students’ journeys along the educational road toward that magical key that unlocks the door to the wealth of knowledge for which they are searching.