Sunday, 20 April 2008

eLearning and email, which comes first?

What do we class as eLearning tools, we look at how students interact with the teacher through various packages like moodle, knowledgeNEt, wikis, LMS, and CMS, is it the sharing of information from teacher to student through electronic means.

As you may have figured it out I have been in development of students email at school through the use of google apps. I believe that there is a place that needs to be started at. We have ll these wonderful tools at our disposal but we still need a way to get back to the one on one, or face to face interaction with the student and the teacher. Email is the start of this, if they are not comfortable using email to talk to the teacher then the rest of the tools are going to inhibit there learning as well. Through google tools is google docs, this has a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation application all built in, students can create work online and share it through the publish facility. Is this not what we are after through our other various methods of eLearning, for students to share their work, collaborate on a project. Start small and work up.

Yesterday I went to a presentation on collaborative tools and got shown how an interactive whiteboard could help with that. A large capital investment, google apps is free and all it costs is Internet traffic. The same type of collaboration can exist through other methods. Talked about in that presentation was how they need to be supported in schools, through PD, top down approach, encouragement, resources. I look at what I am doing, this has been a very bottom driven approach, the students have been after this for a while. 

Every year we have year 9 students have that been using email within their previous school and wonder why we don't have it. Teachers question why students don't have email s that is a tool that they have developed and used within their teaching practice at other schools. Has their been a fear about how much email can hurt a school, or is it the practices/policy that need to change. The fear of technology. 

Teachers have had email for the years that I have been there. Now students will get that and hopefully elearning will start to take off.

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