Jump to content
The Education Forum

Government's E-Learning Strategy


Recommended Posts

I did make a response to the E-learning strategy consultation document on behalf of the Association for Free Software back in November.

In essence I don't think the consultation document is in fact a "strategy", its more a hope/vision of what would be nice in the future. For a strategy there has to be lines of development with forecast costs and mechanisms explaiing how things will happen. There is very little of this in the consultation document. I think the biggest question mark is affordability and social inclusion. Technically, it is not that difficult to see a secondary school enabling families to log on and download and upload homework etc, but until we can be sure all families are on-line this can't become a routine way of working because it immediately polarises into the haves and have nots. So what is the strategy to get everyone an affordable ICT connection? I would go about it like this.

What applications do we need to be able to run from home? Let's prioritise on the most often used and most versatile - reasonably sound managment principle - rather than the latest cutting edge and most expensive technology. The first myth to slay is that innovation is always down to the cutting edge technology. Innovation is often using existing technologies innovatively so let's be innovative by giving *all* access to the 90% of work horse tools that get used the most rather than a few getting state of the art toys. I think standards would actually rise if there was focussed attention on the creative use of basic generic productivity applications rather than the mentality that everyone must run everything. I run an IT business and mostly I use a basic PC with Linux and entirely free software.

So we need to run a capable web browser, Word Processor, vector graphics for diagrams, spreadsheet, perhaps a presentation tool. I doubt most people set up databases that much so probably not that vital. What is the minimum cost of getting these to a family in workable form? Take a refurbished PC, install Linux or Windows 98 (I hear MS are now allowing Win 98 to go on refurbished machines at no extra cost) and install OpenOffice.org, Mozilla and a modem. Probably doable for under £100. Now all those families who already have a PC are not going to get too steamed up about giving such machines to those who haven't so we have the makings of a strategy that is

a) Affordable

B) Furthers Government Social Inclusion Policy

c) Delays machines going into Landfill so also furthers environment policy

All homework can now be professionally presented as can all coursework - Imean if I submit a business plan to the bank, I'm hardly likely to write it by hand in an exercise book. I should think the main use of extended handwriting these days is to do tests and school work.

Of course as most LEA broadband will block linking of such PCs to the local school network some re-thinking will have to be done about connectivity, but lets get a few pilot schools done on this model and see what snags come up. It won't be plain sailing, but the real question is whether or not this is more likely to further policy than something else? At the moment I see very little else in terms of practical proposals other than projects that require excessive funding that will die as soon as that funding is removed and which are far too expensive for national replication.

I am doing a pilot with a school on this already so a lot of the ground work is already in place.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 48
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I think the biggest question mark is affordability and social inclusion. Technically, it is not that difficult to see a secondary school enabling families to log on and download and upload homework etc, but until we can be sure all families are on-line this can't become a routine way of working because it immediately polarises into the haves and have nots.

The basic problem with people who are enthusiastic about ICT - and this includes myself - is that they are unaware that ICT scares the wits out of a substantial proportion of the population. I retired from teaching in 1993 and I hardly ever mix socially with teachers these days - although I regularly contribute to INSET courses in local schools. I spend most of my social life with my neighbours, who belong to a variety of professions: bricklayer, taxi driver, hairdresser, factory worker, landscape gardener, electrician, publican etc. A handful of them use computers at home, mainly for playing games, and I have helped them out on occasions, tidying up their hard disks, installing anti-virus software etc. They all have TV sets and most of them have satellite TV, VCRs and mobile phones. Computers are a low priority. All have children or have had children who have now reached adulthood and are bringing up their own families. I guess I am talking about the "have nots" - not "have nots" in the sense that they don't have money, but "have nots" in the sense that they don't have much knowledge about ICT and are not particularly interested in acquiring it. As Ian says, we don't need cutting-edge technology. We need to get people to use basic ICT technology.

The NOF training programme aimed to bring teachers up to scratch in ICT, but what did OFSTED say about the programme? To quote from its April 2002 report:

Training funded by the NOF has been effective in a quarter of secondary departments and a third of primary schools. In around six out of every ten secondary departments and half of the ten primaries, the scheme has so far failed to build on teachers’ ICT skills or enable them to tackle pedagogical issues adequately. In a minority of schools, the scheme has acted as a catalyst for improvement. (OFSTED Report, April 2002, p.22)

OFSTED Report, April 2002: ICT in schools: effect of government initiatives. See the OFSTED website, http://www.ofsted.gov.uk, where the report can be downloaded in PDF format: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/docs/19.pdf

If ICT training has been that ineffective in schools then we have an awful lot of work to do to get the vast majority of the population to use ICT in a routine way in order to further their children's education. As Ian says:

I think the biggest question mark is affordability and social inclusion.

By the way, I am not convinced that Linux has made the inroads that its supporters claim that it has. I just looked at the visitors' stats for an educational website that I maintain. The stats include info about the browsers and OS used by visitors. The most recent stats, based on around 14000 visitors, break down as follows:

OS

Win98 45% - I use Win98 2E. It's stable and I see no reason to upgrade it.

Win2000 22%

WinXP 12%

WinNT 6%

Win95 6%

Mac 2%

Others - no significant data

Linux: just 100 visitors out of 14000

Browser

IE5 47%

IE6 38%

Netscape4 4%

Opera 2%

IE4 1%

Netscape5 1%

Others - no significant data

Don't get me wrong. I'm not in love with MS, but Bill Gates seems to be hanging in there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder whether your neighbours' children and grandchildren have computers Graham? I suspect that they might.

I think that Ian is making some very sensible points about providing sensible low cost technology to people who don't have a computer. If we never introduced anything new because it scares the wits out of some people, we would still be weaving by hand!

If in education we are trying to prepare people for the world of work we can't ignore the fact that the vast majority of employees will have to use a computer at work. It's our job to convice our students (and their parents) that they can learn these skills and to give them the means to do so.

If ICT training has not been very effective in schools

Training funded by the NOF has been effective in a quarter of secondary departments and a third of primary schools. In around six out of every ten secondary departments and half of the ten primaries, the scheme has so far failed to build on teachers’ ICT skills or enable them to tackle pedagogical issues adequately. In a minority of schools, the scheme has acted as a catalyst for improvement. (OFSTED Report, April 2002, p.22)

Could we improve the take-up of ICT training by starting to assess students on their use of ICT within subjects, or at least allowing students to use ICT in assessment.

I don't just mean wordprocessing essays. Allow courswork to be submitted on CD rom, so that it may include a website or powerpoint presentations. Give credit to those students who know how to successfully search for data on a database, or manipulate 3D models, perform a data analysis using a spreadsheet or edit their own simple movies.

I'm no expert in assessment but I spend a lot of time studying the tasks which my students are going to have to perform in their final external assessment. If there was some innovative integration of good use of ICT in these assessments I would be very motivated to develop my skills and I'm sure many others would too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder whether your neighbours' children and grandchildren have computers Graham? I suspect that they might.

I think that Ian is making some very sensible points about providing sensible low cost technology to people who don't have a computer. If we never introduced anything new because it scares the wits out of some people, we would still be weaving by hand!

If in education we are trying to prepare people for the world of work we can't ignore the fact that the vast majority of employees will have to use a computer at work. It's our job to convice our students (and their parents) that they can learn these skills and to give them the means to do so.

If ICT training has not been very effective in schools

Training funded by the NOF has been effective in a quarter of secondary departments and a third of primary schools. In around six out of every ten secondary departments and half of the ten primaries, the scheme has so far failed to build on teachers’ ICT skills or enable them to tackle pedagogical issues adequately. In a minority of schools, the scheme has acted as a catalyst for improvement. (OFSTED Report, April 2002, p.22)

Could we improve the take-up of ICT training by starting to assess students on their use of ICT within subjects, or at least allowing students to use ICT in assessment.

I don't just mean wordprocessing essays. Allow courswork to be submitted on CD rom, so that it may include a website or powerpoint presentations. Give credit to those students who know how to successfully search for data on a database, or manipulate 3D models, perform a data analysis using a spreadsheet or edit their own simple movies.

I'm no expert in assessment but I spend a lot of time studying the tasks which my students are going to have to perform in their final external assessment. If there was some innovative integration of good use of ICT in these assessments I would be very motivated to develop my skills and I'm sure many others would too.

In fact, I was just in a primary school yesterday and I know how terrified many adults are about ICT. Do we want to change this or breed another generation who are the same? Do we really believe in education? Most adults who do not have a computer wouldn't know MS Office form OpenOffice so it really doesn't matter which they use. You are going to have to give them some basic training whichever system you give them. To someone new to computing, giving them a Linux machine with KDE and OO.o really won't be any more daunting than an XP machine running OfficeXP, particularly if you focus on basic productivity tools. The main difference will be cost. If at a later stage they want to buy a new XP machine, fine let them or if they are happy that the machine they have does the job let them carry on. Give them a choice based on cost-benefit.

Maybe a useful way to teach ICT would be to get kids to refurb and take home their own machine to do their own work on. Seems a rather better rationale than trying to cover every possible educationally relevant aspect of ICT. Learning by doing something that is personally useful is more likely to stick and focus on the bits that really are important. When the level of technological expertise in the organisation grows its also a lot less expensive to maintain systems. Invest in education, if you think its difficult try ignorance! Of course those with vested interests in selling new computers new software upgrades etc etc are not going to agree ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Could we improve the take-up of ICT training by starting to assess students on their use of ICT within subjects, or at least allowing students to use ICT in assessment?

This happens already, at least in HE and to some extent in schools that I have visited. Over the last 10 years I have worked as an external examiner for three different universities that offer masters degrees in CALL and TELL (Computer Assisted Language Learning and Technology Enhanced Language Learning). Essays submitted by students are always in word-processed format, and as part of their coursework students regularly produce PowerPoint presentations and CD-ROMs containing interactive multimedia learning materials created with the aid of authoring systems such as Macromedia Director. Students may also create a set of Web pages as part of their coursework. See the list of universities that offer specialised postgraduate courses in CALL and TELL: http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/courses.htm

I wonder whether your neighbours' children and grandchildren have computers, Graham? I suspect that they might.

Some do, but they appear to use them mainly for playing games and ripping off MP3 music from the Web. There are also one or two nerds among them who who more interested in the technology itself rather than what it can do for them. Almost invariably they buy their computers from local discount stores such as PC World - which come pre-installed with a range of MS software packages and selected games, plus a colour printer and other accessories.

I think that Ian is making some very sensible points about providing sensible low cost technology to people who don't have a computer.

I like the idea of acquiring cheap computers. I buy cheap computers for my business too. I recently bought an obsolete computer from a local international electronics company: 350 MHz, 6Mb hard disk, 128Mb of RAM, Win98 and MS Office 97 preinstalled. I slotted it into our LAN as an extra workstation for routine business tasks and for accessing email and the Web via our shared broadband modem. It works fine: a snip at 40 quid! The company get rids of such machines every few months. It's worth asking around. Too many schools are acquiring hardware (at vast expense) that is much more powerful than they need.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't particularly have time to give much of a coherent answer to the "Towards a Unified e-Learning Strategy" consultation document but seeing as John has been twisting my arm here are a few point...

I've spent several hours reading the documents but don't think it worthwhile spending even more time filling in the questionnaire. [As an aside, the PDF document was very difficult to read on a computer. The layout was essentially to be read as a printed document. It didn't even have a hyperlink index. So maybe they should put some effort into making the documents available in a more e-friendly format.]

The topic of Intellectual Property Rights is an interesting one. I don't know as much about this as I would like. Does any one know any suitable web references relating to the copyright issues of (educational) web sites?

Relating to the production of e-resources I agree with the ideas about producing resources, in that as far as possible teachers should able to modify or change them to suit their needs and requirements etc. (I was going to quote from the document but gave up when I couldn't select and copy a single column in the PDF file and am too lazy to type it all out.)

Lets suppose I created a GCSE science resource for the assessment of Science Coursework. It might have these features;

* Uses web technology, browser based.

* Interactive "video game" style.

* Teacher configurable to allow for different abilities.

* Teacher configurable parameters to prevent students cheating by getting results from students at other schools.

As I see it the only way I would be able to make money from it would be to sell individual licences to schools. So I don't have much motivation to invest the time or money required in producing such a resource as a private venture. Especially when the syllabus is prone to change and there is no guarantee that science coursework won't be removed from the syllabus, as current newspaper articles seem to suggest. Possibly a larger company or a (government) funded organisation might be able to produce such a resource.

Max

Link to post
Share on other sites

In around 1997 several classroom teachers began experimenting with the idea of producing online resources. In terms of gaining an audience for their materials they were very successful and eventually they joined together to form the Association of Teacher Websites.

Over the last few years we have seen the emergence of large companies becoming involved in producing educational content. Government ministers were obviously pleased by this development as they thought they would not have to pay for this content. Initially these companies hoped that these materials would be paid for by advertising and sponsorship deals. The revenue obtained from these sources never reached the stage of paying for day to day running costs let alone the considerable start-up costs that were involved in this operation. Some companies opted for the subscription model. This was also a failure as teachers were unwilling to pay for material that was in most cases inferior to that being produced for free by classroom teachers.

Eventually the government decided to help this companies by introducing Curriculum Online. The provision of e-credits helped to persuade teachers to pay for online content.

However, in the long-term, there will be a considerable price to pay for this commercially produced material. For a start it will persuade teachers that it cannot compete with large commercial companies. Not that they doubt the quality of their content but in the knowledge that large companies can pay programmers to produce visually appealing activities.

The second problem is that these companies are being motivated by the desire to make money. There primary concern is to produce as much curriculum relevant content as possible. The people producing this material have little or no experience of the classroom. As a result they are making the terrible mistake of taking existing teaching materials and placing it online. This illustrates why it is necessary for educationalists to play the prominent role in producing online material. Teachers creating material for their own website come at this from a different position. They don’t start with the question: “How can I make a profit from this venture?” They are much more likely to say: “How can I use these technology to improve the education of my students?” These two questions have two very different answers. Unfortunately, commercial companies are unlikely to ask the second question but educationalists have to increasingly to ask the first one.

Some suggestions on ways that the government could help the development of high quality, teacher produced online educational materials:

(i) To provide funds that would enable teachers to meet and share ideas on producing online educational materials.

(ii) To provide funding for specific educational online projects that are designed and produced by teachers.

(iii) To provide funding that will pay for full-time teachers to devote more time to producing free online educational material.

(iv) To provide financial support for the creation of a Virtual School run by teachers.

(v) To provide technical support for teachers producing online materials.

(vi) To help publicize the existence of good websites produced by teachers.

(vi) To help fund INSET provided by teachers with experience of producing online teaching materials.

(vii) To have regular meetings between the relevant government ministers, officials from Becta and teachers producing online materials.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Curriculum Online

Do you have a link for me to find more information about Curriculum Online? And what is Ofsted???

http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/

Ofsted is the organisation that inspects schools in England and Wales. Schools, typically, are inspected by them every 4-5 years and a public report about the schools strengths and weaknesses is published. http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/

Link to post
Share on other sites
In around 1997 several classroom teachers began experimenting with the idea of producing online resources. In terms of gaining an audience for their materials they were very successful and eventually they joined together to form the Association of Teacher Websites.

Over the last few years we have seen the emergence of large companies becoming involved in producing educational content. Government ministers were obviously pleased by this development as they thought they would not have to pay for this content. Initially these companies hoped that these materials would be paid for by advertising and sponsorship deals. The revenue obtained from these sources never reached the stage of paying for day to day running costs let alone the considerable start-up costs that were involved in this operation. Some companies opted for the subscription model. This was also a failure as teachers were unwilling to pay for material that was in most cases inferior to that being produced for free by classroom teachers.

Eventually the government decided to help this companies by introducing Curriculum Online. The provision of e-credits helped to persuade teachers to pay for online content.

However, in the long-term, there will be a considerable price to pay for this commercially produced material. For a start it will persuade teachers that it cannot compete with large commercial companies. Not that they doubt the quality of their content but in the knowledge that large companies can pay programmers to produce visually appealing activities.

The second problem is that these companies are being motivated by the desire to make money. There primary concern is to produce as much curriculum relevant content as possible. The people producing this material have little or no experience of the classroom. As a result they are making the terrible mistake of taking existing teaching materials and placing it online. This illustrates why it is necessary for educationalists to play the prominent role in producing online material. Teachers creating material for their own website come at this from a different position. They don’t start with the question: “How can I make a profit from this venture?” They are much more likely to say: “How can I use these technology to improve the education of my students?” These two questions have two very different answers. Unfortunately, commercial companies are unlikely to ask the second question but educationalists have to increasingly to ask the first one.

Some suggestions on ways that the government could help the development of high quality, teacher produced online educational materials:

(i) To provide funds that would enable teachers to meet and share ideas on producing online educational materials.

(ii) To provide funding for specific educational online projects that are designed and produced by teachers.

(iii) To provide funding that will pay for full-time teachers to devote more time to producing free online educational material.

(iv) To provide financial support for the creation of a Virtual School run by teachers.

(v) To provide technical support for teachers producing online materials.

(vi) To help publicize the existence of good websites produced by teachers.

(vi) To help fund INSET provided by teachers with experience of producing online teaching materials.

(vii) To have regular meetings between the relevant government ministers, officials from Becta and teachers producing online materials.

Another take on curriculum on-line is that the BBC said they were going to put £160m into on-line E-learning resources freely available. The education software companies, RM et al complained this would kill their business and kicked up a great deal of fuss. To appease them the Gov made £100m available as effectively a Government subsidy to that sector through E-learning credits.

My fundamental gripe is that this distorts the market by funding one commercial model at the expense of another. Why are schools so incapable of making their own decisions on how to spend their money? The proprietary software licensing model is the most well-known commercial software model, but there is another model that is catching on fast, that of free and open source resources. The difficulty with the licensing model is that everything is caught up in copyright so even two similar applications have to be written entirely from scratch. With software this is very inefficient because the cost of a software product is largely the initial development and marketing cost to compete in a chaotic arena where few people can even find what they want. There is no significant manufacturing or distribution cost. OTOH the FLOSS model enables any resource to be adapted freely by anyone so if I produce some on-line content and someone wants it in Welsh they are free to do the translation and make it available for everyone. If you take the OpenOffice.org project, there is currently a localisation project in Zulu taken on locally. That would be simply impossible if it was a commercially licensed product. The Zulus could not afford to develop their own Office software and the big commercial companies would consider the market too small to do a localisation in their commercially licensed products. OpenOffice.org is one of the biggest Open Source project in the World with well over 23m downloads Worldwide and perhaps 100m users it has cost significantly less than the government have spent on one years E-learning Credits. so the cost to each user is a lot less than £1. If the government spent say £50m on the current ELC system and £50m on open source development where all the products were freely downloadable and modifiable to produce new resources we could involve students in adapting and producing new resources as part of their learning and make the whole thing educational as well as save a lot of tax payers money in the longer term. What would happen is that by natural selection the best products would be used, adapted and developed (this has been shown to be the way open source development works) and once a critical mass is established all the basic support would be there, free at the point of use and without the admin overhead of licensing. Ok, the Gov has to pay for a bit of cataloguing and organisation but its doing this anyway with Curriculum On-line so that cost is on top of any licenses schools are paying to the commercial companies. Pie in the sky? If it was why are IBM making open source software central to their server strategy? Why has China stated an intent to build to 200m desktops based on this principle? Why is India, the second biggest software producer in the World backing FLOSS? In the whole scheme of things a £50m project is small but it would also stimulate development work in small local businesses rather than large foreign software giants simply reselling through UK channels. Ok, it requires leadership and a bit of risk, but then if GB plc isn't prepared to take the odd risk we will soon be left further behind in hi-tec but by the likes of China, India, and Brazil.

BTW, I used to be an OFSTED RgI and I have inspected ICT in many schools. In my view we would actually be better focussing on teaching generic ICT skills to enable pupils to use ICT tools in support of their work rather than getting too side-tracked by curriculum content much of which has absolutely no research evidence to say it is effective in accelerating learning. Many of my clients end up buying stuff with ELCs because they have to and I suspect significant amounts of this software will never get used.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Curriculum Online

Do you have a link for me to find more information about Curriculum Online? And what is Ofsted???

http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/

Ofsted is the organisation that inspects schools in England and Wales. Schools, typically, are inspected by them every 4-5 years and a public report about the schools strengths and weaknesses is published. http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/

Thank you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys

Can I give an outsiders perspective to this debate? I have just spent seven weeks in the UK researching the professional development strategies that have been used to prepare teachers for e-learning in higher and further education. I believe that there are some good sound strategies in place in lots of organisations. In open university in particular I found policies and practices and sound professional development strategies in place to take OU into an eLearning future. But I don't believe that e-learning is only for distance education. In further education particularly there are many people who need more flexible ways of learning. Those who wish to further or change careers often find that the learning will allow them to work and times and in places outside normal class hours. while practical classes often need face to face teaching , theory can easily be delivered via electronic means.

It is my observation that in the UK the first approach has been to train the teachers. In Australia we have taken an approach that is quite different to that taken in the UK. It is the government's policy that in the Australian vocational education sector we develop an E-learning strategy. Under a program called the flexible learning advisory group our Federal government funded the development of flexible learning materials that can be used to teach online or through other electronic media, the professional development of flexible learning leaders, major projects dealing with such issues as metadata, access to bandwidth and interoperability and innovative practises. An essential part of this strategy has been the creation of an e-learning community on the flag website . We now have materials for teachers to use in elearning (the Toolboxes) and have prepared the way for a vocational education institutions to take up elearning options. We are ready to develop a professional development strategy to prepare them to use the resources we have created. I believe that the strategy must concentrate not on the ICT but on how ICT can enhance quality and innovative teaching practice .

At present there are groups of teachers in many institutes who are doing good things in e-learning. we are now ready to encourage all of our teachers to use at least a blended approach to learning and to offer more flexible choices in further education .

You can see the flexible learning advisory group programs at this URL FLAG on the first page you will find links to the tool boxes. These are high quality learning materials developed to support vocational education curriculae. Investigate Learnscope, Flexible Learning Leaders, Projects and the Community, I think you will find the most interesting. The Best news or is that membership of this website is free and open to the international community. Jump in and join and have fun! :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some very interesting resources for vocational education there Chris. I'm aware that there are quite a few Australian resources available for the more traditional academic subjects - or so family in Perth, WA tell me. Can you recommend any Australian ELearning sites for more academic subjects?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dan

You may find what you're looking for if you start at this URL in EdNA Online Higher Education Community

EdNA Online is another great place for Online educators to go to find resources in all areas of teaching and learning.

Cheers

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just been reading through the debate from the beginning. Before I begin my post, I can add that the Canadian university where the faculty went on strike to avoid having their lectures video-ed and their lecture notes posted on the web was York University - as far as I'm aware, it was the first successful strike against e-learning.

I work at the equivalent of an old polytechnic in the south of Sweden, and I've been involved in e-learning for quite a long time. It's difficult to put a start date on my experience. Would it be the bank of exercises we created on an Apple IIe in Kuwait in 1983? Or the extensive use of ISDN-based video conferencing which I started using in 1992? Or our use of First Class in 1993? Or our first web-based course in 1994, which attracted students from Japan and Hong Kong to deposit their course fees in a small branch of a Swedish bank half-way to the Arctic Circle? In other words, I share the opinion that we haven't successfully defined what 'e-learning' is … which makes it quite difficult to create a strategy for encouraging e-learning.

We're lucky in Sweden, when it comes to the provision of IT infrastructure. There's also been a relatively huge amount of money available for development. However, my experience has also been that a grant of project money has nearly always been a poisoned chalice for the teachers who take it - the consequence of using the money has often been to remove that teacher from the classroom into the circuit of conference-attenders and government advisors, leaving virtually nothing behind.

At the same time, and on a grass roots level, there has been lots of development - which usually doesn't get known about outside Sweden, principally because it is driven by practitioners, who are much more interested in getting their jobs done, than in writing papers and attending conferences.

Let me give you a couple of practical examples. I started a Composition Course (in writing academic essays) last Saturday. In October, I happened to meet a lecturer from Central Missouri State University here in Sweden, and we agreed to pair his Composition Course up with ours. Since I 'meet' my students (who're spread out over an area about the size of lowland Scotland, say from the Border to Stirling) via video conference every other week, I was able to set it up with them.

Then my US colleague set up a 'meeting' between me and his students via iChatAV and a video projector to sell the idea to them. Now it's up and running … We've just invested in the server software for the Marratech on-line meeting system (http://www.marratech.com), so our students and theirs will be showing each other their drafts and talking about them on-line every now and then. The students don't have to have the technology themselves, since they're all attached to Study Centres that do.

Another example: I've been working with a team of Internet tutors in New Zealand, Australia and Spain since 1996. I've also got access to our Internet server, so I can make simple (or do I mean crude?) web pages without having to get IT technicians involved. This means that when students start on-line English courses, they immediately get in touch with native speakers who have the focus to work with them on a one-to-one basis. I find this extremely difficult, since my focus has to be on creating a feeling that you're part of a group, which is also a very important aspect of an e-learning course.

You can take a look at what we do from our distance English portal page at:

http://www.humsam.hik.se/distans/index.htm

My point is that I think that the centralised initiatives, whether they are from within or outside the organisation, are almost doomed to failure in the present environment. I think that the reason for this has a lot to do with the nature of learning, the nature of people and the nature of organisations …

This post is, perhaps, long enough now. I'll write another one about what I think is the 'theory' behind what we're doing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...