City of the dead

City of the dead. That was my impression of Pompeii. Back in AD 79 old Vesuvius blew its top and destroyed an entire area of the Roman empire, including Herculaneum and of course, the infamous Pompeii. It was witnessed by Pliny the elder, who was then admiral of the Roman fleet. He subsequently died in the conflagration along with thousands of other unfortunates, who didn't try to leave until it was too late. Curiosity killed the Capt. Other Pompeiins decided not to leave, no doubt hoping that it would all 'blow over'. Well blow over it did. All over them, tons of it. When I visited there on 13th June (look - the picture is above) I saw the results - plaster casts of bodies writhing in agony as they were incincerated by the pyroclastic flow from the volcano.

I think that Managed Learning Environments are like Pompeii. They are doomed, because firstly, everything that you pay to do on an MLE can be done outside, on the web, for free. Secondly, the new generation of social networking students don't want or need to be managed. They use FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Bebo, MSN and a host of other free utilities to connect and share with their peer group outside of the university structure. They resent being controlled and told how to communicate with each other. MLEs are in my opinion, cities of the dead. The Personalised Learning Environment (PLE) will take their place. MLEs are doomed, in the same way Pompeii was doomed. Some people got out in time. Others didn't. I'm standing watching from a safe distance....

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