• Announcements

    • Evan Burton

      OPEN REGISTRATION BY EMAIL ONLY !!! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS TITLE FOR INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION!:   06/03/2017

      We have 5 requirements for registration: 1.Sign up with your real name. (This will be your Username) 2.A valid email address 3.Your agreement to the Terms of Use, seen here: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=21403. 4. Your photo for use as an avatar  5.. A brief biography. We will post these for you, and send you your password. We cannot approve membership until we receive these. If you are interested, please send an email to: edforumbusiness@outlook.com We look forward to having you as a part of the Forum! Sincerely, The Education Forum Team
Andy Walker

Using E-learning to overcome barriers to learning

15 posts in this topic

Teaching in a secondary modern school on an area where the old Tripartite system prevails (the top 32% of the ability range go to grammar schools), I am used to encountering some fairly stubborn barriers to learning. Specifically

1. Linguistic Deprivation

2. Cultural deprivation

My seminar is an attempt to outline some of the successful ways software and web pages have been used by classroom practitioners to break down these barriers and engage previously labelled “unacademic” pupils in historical and sociological study leading to examination success.

E-learning takes a variety of forms. Some is teacher led, for instance the use of white board technology but the majority of e-learning experiences break down traditional teacher-pupil roles empowering the student to self support and take control of their own learning. Both types of e-learning I would argue have a place in making the secondary experience a rich one for learners. The emphasis must always however be on the truly revolutionary potential of the latter.

I use e-learning in my classroom because it works. It provides rich and memorable contexts in which students develop deep learning. E –learning properly organised can involve – sound, colour, movement, text, pictures. Better still well constructed e-learning objects can empower students to work, think, plan and progress by themselves transforming the teacher from “fount of all knowledge” to coach, mentor and critical friend.

Linguistic Deprivation

The main barrier to learning we find in non selective education is linguistic deprivation. The language education tends to be delivered in simply does not correspond with the language the children use. We have therefore used high impact, colourful, loud, fun literacy games software as part of an integrated approach to literacy and key word acquisition

I am no great fan of Interactive Whiteboards as they tend to reinforce traditional models of teaching and learning which are well past their usefulness. However in 2001 I was fortunate enough to be part of a writing team which produced a really effective CD Rom aimed at encouraging key word acquisition and thinking and writing skills. The disks have subsequently been used to great effect thought my Colleges Key Stage 3 curriculum. The rational behind the disks can be found at the following url

http://school-portal.co.uk/GroupDownloadFi...esourceID=86525

The collaborative an active games themselves encourage not only comprehension but higher order thinking skills too as pupils are regular challenged to make connections between key words and concepts and the to write in a fluent way using each topics key words.

For an example see the following link

http://school-portal.co.uk/GroupDownloadFi...esourceID=86524

Purchase information at the following url http://homepage.ntlworld.com/robert.powell...rriconline.html

Cultural Deprivation

The town of Dartford where I work is an area of full employment. It would be difficult to argue that the pupils in the main suffer any real material deprivation. Their deprivation tends to be of the cultural kind. There is a distinct sub culture on the working class housing estates from which we draw which fails to value education. This can perhaps be traced to factors such as the relative ease at securing employment and the “housing market wealth” that many families have acquired through inflated South East England housing prices and inheritance. Surely also the negative labelling effect of selection by ability must have its input to this phenomenon.

In short it is often difficult to persuade both pupils and students that studying is worthwhile and that exam success is important.

In 2001 with this in mind, and following a parental survey which suggested that 85% of our students had PCS with internet access, I decided to embark on a project to create an e-learning web site where coherent lessons, revisions activities, tests, quizzes, forums and online tutoring would be available.

The aim was simply to bring study and revision to students in a technology they already knew and enjoyed, and to encourage them to use the communication aspect of ICT in the forums and via the Ask a Teacher facility.

A typical revision lesson can be accessed at the following link

http://www.educationforum.co.uk/revisionlesson.htm

The success of the GCSE revision web site can be measured by a 15% increase in the History GCSE pass rate 2001-2004.

The success of the revision site encouraged me to engage in some action research into the possibility of using web based learning to create a distance learning resources for Sociology

The full case study can be read at the following link

http://www.vocationallearning.org.uk/files...es/Dartford.pdf

The aims were to evaluate the success of the History revision web site and develop an online AS Sociology course which could be taught on half a timetable via distance learning.

The Sociology site can be viewed below

http://www.educationforum.co.uk/sociology_2/a1a2.htm

Evaluation of the project is still being undertaken

Initial signs are however that whilst full distance learning approaches to A Level study are not appropriate for non selective exam students, the development of web based learning objects for learning and revision have motivated and engaged previously less than well motivated students.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, Andy, e-learning is a great way to remove barriers to learning. I also concur with your judgement that empoverished language skills contribute to educational deprivation. I'm a linguist and special educational needs teacher, not a historian or a sociologist, but I do take an interest in the teaching of subjects other than languages to those with SEN. I maintain a bibliography of History and special educational needs at:

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/Inc...hisenbiblio.doc

and I've managed to track down several references to the use of ICT in the teaching of History to learners with SEN, namely:

Harper, C. (n.d.) Inclusion in History: pupils record learning about the Great Fire of London, http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/subjects/history/inclusion/

Harper, C. (n.d.) Inclusion in History: PowerPoint templates to create slide shows, http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/subjects/his...powerpoint.html

Harper, C. (n.d.) Inclusion in History: Clicker 4 to support recording in History, http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/subjects/his...on/clicker.html

Harper, C. (n.d.) Inclusion in History: Planning for the History unit on the Great Fire, http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/subjects/his...london-plan.doc

Okolo, C. M. Ferretti, R. P. and MacArthur, C. D. (2002) ‘Teaching History in Inclusive Classrooms: Technology-Based Practices and Tools’, Technology in Action 1(1), http://www.tamcec.org/assets/action/2002-01.pdf

Cath Harper's documents relate to primary education.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, linguistic deprivation is a problem area - and growing.

The following article at the BBC site reveals the extent of the problem:

"Diabetes websites too complicated. Language used was beyond average

comprehension.

Online health advice for people with diabetes is often too complex to

understand, analysis suggests.

A scientist at Bath University looked at pages about diabetes on 15

internet health sites run mainly by charities and official bodies.

He found people would need a reading ability of an educated 11 to

17-year-old to understand the sites.

However, he said the average reading age of people in the UK was equivalent

to an educated nine-year-old."

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3641634.stm

In addition, one must bear in mind that reading from the screen is slower than reading from the printed page. Web guru Jakob Nielsen states that research shows that it is about 25% slower:

Be Succinct! Writing for the Web, Alertbox for March 15, 1997: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9703b.html

I must admit that I am getting concerned about the level of literacy in some emails that I receive from schools. This is a genuine email from a school ICT technician:

"hi i have a few questions about [name of program]

if i could contact u or u me so we can discuss

manys thanks"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The main barrier to learning we find in non selective education is linguistic deprivation. The language education tends to be delivered in simply does not correspond with the language the children use. We have therefore used high impact, colourful, loud, fun literacy games software as part of an integrated approach to literacy and key word acquisition.

When the government introduced the National Curriculum the main buzz word was “differentiation”. We had several INSETs on the subject. It was a time when you could not get promotion unless you used the word “differentiation” several times in your application form.

The subject of “differentiation” seems to have gone out of fashion. It is a shame because it was one of the government’s better words. Especially as it was emphasised that differentiation applied to all classes. After all, in my experience, the widest range of ability usually occurs in Y12 and Y13 groups. However, differentiation is something that is difficult to deliver. Although it is always attempted when you have the Ofsted inspectors in the school.

I would have thought that differentiation is something that can be delivered online. Have you ever tried to do this via your website?

I have produced some information on differentiation here:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/YALDdifferentiation.htm

You will find some differentiated resources here:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Yalding.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would have thought that differentiation is something that can be delivered online. Have you ever tried to do this via your website?

I have produced some information on differentiation here:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/YALDdifferentiation.htm

In the sense that a well designed online lesson will have a variety of tasks pitched at different levels and extension materials written in to the lesson then yes I have. Three simple examples are listed below

http://www.educationforum.co.uk/KS3_2/work.htm

http://www.educationforum.co.uk/KS3_2/emily.htm

http://www.educationforum.co.uk/kochlesson.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Differentiation is a sine qua non of every software package that I have written.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been browsing the different materials and ideas presented on the topic and, while valuable, when I look at them from the context I am in I find a number of items to be considered if we plan to fight language and cultural deprivation.

The initial pre-requisite is, in my view, the need to perceive "the need to differentiate", that we accept as part of our work as teachers, the need to adapt our teaching to the different abilities of our students. The second aspect is to notice that the role of the teacher is to be changed - while keeping control of the class, we have to allow room for students' autonomous development. This requires from us the introduction of techniques rather than contents (or together with contents). Closer to this is the idea of the teacher as "facilitator", a key step which implies the co-control of the products and processes.

As far as I am concerned, the linguistic and cultural issues are of exceptional interest (being an EFL teacher). So I value the use of ICT in my teaching as a way to enhance autonomy and foster independent learning, but also as a tool to get hold of linguisrtic and cultural “challenges”. Let me give you examples:

1. Inclusive lessons:

Planning is essential. Apart from the obvious selction of items and the choice of procedures to be used in the classs, I tend to plan lessons in such a way they permitted time to share with those students who need more form me, either because of their capacities or because of their learning styles. I look at contents, but also to pair or group work times so that I am freed from classroom control. The lessson is then planned for the different members of the class. Most of my initial tasks are aimed at generating a good atmosphere for work. Many ideas came to me from http://www.hltmag.co.uk/

Humanistic language teaching offers acceptable possibilities of managing a more or less liberal and respectful attitude in class while allowing the contents to be developed. The interest for the “effect” that “affect” has in teaching (and learning) is something to be borne in mind, so creating the right atmosphere (and environment) for learning should take some time in planning.

2. Generating useful materials:

Hot Potatoes has proved to be effective for my teaching (http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/halfbaked/) especially the jcloze and jmix exercises. Average and high level students learned to use these two programs to generate exercises (to be used on and off line) that were a good way to revise for them, and an incredible reource from all my students. The exposition to language increased for all types of students.

3. ICT as a resource:

Ever since I discovered the resourcefulness of the internet I have found my tasks to be easier. I am not too keen (sorry!) on creating web pages or learning new tricks from new software, but do try to keep update with these new resources. My favourite help (quite adapted to the interests of Spanish students) is www.isabelperez.com, a site where I have all kinds of exercises and programs. I have found wonderful resources for ELT which help me in the process of planning my lessons. I particularly like webquests (some examples of webquest generators are to be found there) and recently blogs to enhance writing (wonderful examples there, too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>The initial pre-requisite is, in my view, the need to perceive "the need to differentiate", that we accept as part of our work as teachers, the need to adapt our teaching to the different abilities of our students. <

I agree that differentiation is key when teaching languages to learners with special needs. In the UK, in our pursuit of educational inclusion, we have identified several student populations requiring such differentiation to meet their needs and to challenge them to reach their potential. These populations include not only those with SEN, but also speakers of English as an additional language and learners who are gifted or talented.

Do you just adapt to the language learning abilities of your students or do you take into account their special educational needs as well? I am thinking of autistic learners or students with ADHD or emotional/behavioural difficulties who may be linguistically bright but still require careful handling because of their social problems. Do you have Individual Education Plans listing each student's needs, strategies that work, targets etc?

Is a foreign language study mandatory for all learners of compulsory school age in Spain, including those with SEN? How many years of study are required?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I want to understand the educational context in which the classroom practice under discussion takes place.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you just adapt to the language learning abilities of your students or do you take into account their special educational needs as well? I am thinking of autistic learners or students with ADHD or emotional/behavioural difficulties who may be linguistically bright but still require careful handling because of their social problems. Do you have Individual Education Plans listing each student's needs, strategies that work, targets etc?

Is a foreign language study mandatory for all learners of compulsory school age in Spain, including those with SEN? How many years of study are required?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I want to understand the educational context in which the classroom practice under discussion takes place.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

Legally speaqking we have to adapt our teaching to the real needs of the student. Technically this may imply, especially in the case of SEN, the need to eliminate aspects which are defined as mandatory for all the students in a given level. This is what we call a "Curricular Adaptation". If this curricular adaptation eliminates "essential contents" it is also called "Meaningful Curricular Adaptation". The Guidance Department has to be informed and so is the head. Other adaptations may include changes of rhythm or materials (and thus not affecting curricular contents). These are called "Non-meaningful" (sorry abou the labels).

Foreign languages are compulsory in the Spanish educational system from the age of 8 to 16 (if they leave the school system) or 18 (though all schools start with English as a Foreign language at 3 or earlier). This is also applicable to SEN, though the law allows room for diminishing the number of hours to this area (and applying this time to Spanish language and Maths, the core subjects).

SEN students are integrated as far as possible into mainstream and different kinds of assistance are offered. However, Foreign Language is not part of their training (I mean the assistant's training), thus one of the problems of the teacher to care for this diversity is to allow time for him/her to be with these students (I mentioned this before when I was taliking about planning). Peer work and assistance, pair and group work are elements of planning that have to be well thought before the lesson begins.

Hope to have answered at least half of the questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that one very important point coming out of Andy's seminar was the danger of history teachers making assumptions about what pupils understand, and his materials and approaches offered a powerful tool to avoid this danger.

A few years ago I did a survey of year 7 pupils' understanding of some basic time concepts and found that there were some big gaps- large numbers of pupils didn't know what words like 'reign', 'decade', 'century' meant, they didn't understand the term A.D. or have any idea about dating systems and conventions. In no school (out of 10) did all of the pupils know what century they were living in and in one school less than half of the pupils knew what century they were living in. (the 'basic' test I used can be accessed at

http://www.uea.ac.uk/~m242/historypgce/time/t1/time1.htm)

Andy's seminar also convinced me about the importance of ICT in getting pupils to make an effort/become engaged which would be less feasible using older methods (for instance, pencil and paper tests).

You could just tell that as well as helping pupils forward in history, they would also be really enjoying the subject and would be engaged in a way that does not always occur with less able pupils in secondary schools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You could just tell that as well as helping pupils forward in history, they would also be really enjoying the subject and would be engaged in a way that does not always occur with less able pupils in secondary schools.

For these reasons I think the E-Help project should use a very broad definition of E-Learning.

When this seminar was first posted I received a rather heated private e-mail from a former member of the Virtual School (not History Department I might add) who asserted very strongly that what I was proposing was not e-learning at all.

From the differentiated collaborative language game displayed on an interactive whiteboard, to the organisation of a powerful and self supported historical enquiry in an online forum, to simply encouraging teachers to upload their resources (worksheets, ppts, revision materials) for children to download, to writing a factual recall quiz which pushes a teacher off a plank, to scaffolding a whole series of online lessons and activities, to collating and using a series of powerful video clips as starters to lessons - all is E-learning and all properly deployed can make a positive difference to the learning of children. It is this positive difference which should be our 'mission statement'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that most of the educational institutions elsewhere are caught in almost unsolved difficulty; how to properly differentiate education for different groups inside a single classroom.

Girls versus boys. Kids with immigrants background versus native kids. Motivated kids versus unmotivated kids. Kids with good grasp of the language versus kids with “linguistic deprivation”. Etc.

The differentiated teaching methods have been used in a rudimentary way by every single teacher since we got compulsory Upper Secondary Schools. The primary goal of Swedish teachers is to help every student to find his own way to his set of knowledge. (Which sounds marvellously but what is a set of knowledge of every single student? Does there exists bad versus valuable sets of knowledge for example?)

If the ICT based pedagogy give us possibility to offer students a better way to their own knowledge with the help of easily managed differentiation than of course most of the teachers will use this possibility.

I personally believe that a key to the student success is motivation. There could be very little achievements if the students lack motivation. It seems to me that today’s students are for many reasons not as motivated as yesterday students.

Does e-learning enhance student’s motivation for gathering of sustainable and valuable knowledge?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"SUSTAINABLE AND VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE"

I feel that these two adjectives demand a narrow definition. It is not only a question of remaining in time (longer lasting knowledge), applicable (ie with the possibility of transference to other areas), appreciated, accepted and respected by the assessing entity. All these items, no matter how strong they may sound, are to be taken into consideration.

However I believe ICT can do much for the acquisition of these "two adjectives above" (which turned into an extensive number adjectives in the definitions I provided). I do believe there is room for adpatation to a diversity of students (catering for their diversity). ICT makes it easy to provide variety and variation, even simply considering the wide possibilities of "macrofunctions in word processors". The resources available can also be adapted to students with different levels of ability. The procedural "content" which is implicit in information selection or information gathering can easily be transferred to other areas, even by students independently.

I feel there is a need to extend the use of the tools available to such an extent that teachers do feel that an easy thing to do, thus letting technology be a part of their classroom practice.

Does e-learning enhance student’s motivation for gathering of sustainable and valuable knowledge?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does e-learning enhance student’s motivation for gathering of sustainable and valuable knowledge?

Potentially yes. It also, when properly organised, gives the student the ability to accelerate their own learning without having to rely on some 'authoritative' and frequently authoritarian teacher and his/her preconceptions to guide them..

The key to differentiation I believe involves giving the student the power to progress at a pace suitable to him or her. Far too often in schools teacher expectations are projected onto pupils about the pace at which they should or are capable of learning.

British schools especially have made pupil labelling and the delivery of self fulfilling prophecies a high art form. The organisation of high quality accessible online resources, programmes of study and communication through forums with experts, peers and educators etc. has the potential to begin to break down this deplorable student data driven state of affairs and move us towards a model of education where learning is "personalised" in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites