I’ve mentioned the ‘small pieces [of web 2.0 tools] loosely joined’ idea as an alternative to a monolithic LMS before. I don’t have the direct blog posting but I found it via Jay Cross (his Informal Learning Blogis a goldmine for web 2.0 conversations). Emerging technologies from the ‘read-write’ ‘2.0’ web we are likely to be working with these days in the education field offer mind-boggling advantages, but there’s a price to be paid methinks. Most applications are sort of free (Facebook, blogger, Second Life, frapps, wikispaces, etc etc). However, this last week or so I’ve been extremely conscious of the ‘juggling’ mode (I suspect I’m not alone in operating in) at work, in my learning and personally. The work-life-study balance is a juggling act for many. Any of these can be chunked down into further juggling acts.

Let’s take the ‘small pieces’ aspect of the Emerging Environments for Learning course through USQ. We are exploring some pieces such as tikiwiki, mahara and moodle (core tools, our separate interest areas for our facilitated pages and projects open up myriad further tools). There’s no single sign on for these components, although I think it’s time to investigate the OpenID option as it may allow me to bring these together in some way. I’ve used ‘janicebreenwhite’ for my knowledgeGarden activities, not realising it becomes an oddity when logging in to it as one component in the course.

Thank goodness I kept the same password! I’ve had to create and maintain a special file listing all the tools I’ve created accounts with: the usernames, passwords (enough hints for me to know which they are) and any specific email account they are associated with. All the small pieces, (bloglines, del.icio.us, wikispaces, Flickr, Scribd, slideshare, blogger, wordpress, facebook, bebo, this course, ezine subscriptions, email accounts, online repositories… and that’s without our online banking and workplace setups), are in danger of becoming a ‘dog’s breakfast‘ (translation of this colloquial term… imagine the scene) and management is definitely a significant factor in juggling participation in contemporary digital environments.

And I straddle the digital native-digital immigrant divide! I’m a defacto native. Some of our students face the challenges of comprehending and navigating between multiple windows running simultaneously, let alone what we are doing.