The tools used in a personal learning environment (PLE) will to some extent determine the shape of that environment. The shape of any object is always in some way a reflection of the tools used to make it. And as tools shape the object, so too will desire for the object shape the evolution of tools. That is, there are no “universal” tools. Any tool operates only on a part of the whole.
Lacan, who took Vygotsky’s work from develomental psychology into psychiatry, asserted that the imaginary is what we believe ordinary life to be. It is our representation of the real to ourselves: our belief as to what is “real”. The symbolic is the apparatus of language, law, discourse and custom: the tools by which we express and regulate the imaginary. The tools of our symbolic order shape our imaginary life. We think within the frames of our languages, cultures, tools and experiences.
Our learning environments are shaped these days by digital technologies. Digital technologies are the contemporary new-shiny symbolic order: a universal-turing-machine symbolic of imaginary universality.