Friday, 23 January 2009

@BETT: VLEs and Learning Platforms 2

What are the benefits of Learning Platforms (LPs)?

What are the benefits of a learning platform?

An effective learning platform that is embedded in the working practices of the school can offer a wide range of benefits to teachers, pupils, parents and at the same time support management and administration.

Practical benefits to teachers

An effective learning platform will enable teachers to:

  • create and share teaching materials which can be accessed online, printed out or used with an interactive whiteboard
  • put their resources online page by page, lesson plan by lesson plan, so colleagues can access them both in school and from home
  • access a wide variety of learning materials that they can customise for the exact needs of their pupils
  • access lesson plans from colleagues to support supply cover
  • assess, monitor and track individual and group progress
  • receive submissions of work from pupils in one area that is easy to manage
  • manage their timetables, diary, email and discussions within personal desktop space
  • increase their ICT competence and confidence.

Practical benefits to pupils

An effective learning platform will enable pupils to:

  • access learning materials created by their teachers and others, outside lesson time and from locations such as the library and home
  • store work and notes online for use in assignments, homework and revision, outside normal school hours
  • work at their own pace and with a wider choice of learning styles, through a more personalised curriculum
  • create an online portfolio, including digital photos and videos of performance as well as text
  • improve their ICT skills and online management of materials
  • submit homework and assignments for marking and assessment
  • communicate by email and participate in live discussions and forums with other students and teachers.

Practical benefits to parents

An effective learning platform will enable parents and carers to:

  • play a greater part in children's learning, where they have access to the learning platform from home
  • support children in any learning which takes place outside school
  • access their child's personal home page to keep track of their work and the curriculum
  • view reports, attendance data and scores in assessment activities
  • communicate effectively with teachers, school administrators and others supporting their child’s learning
  • engage with wider school issues through online communication tools
  • become active partners with the school.

Practical benefits for administration and management

An effective learning platform will:

  • provide up-to-date management information on attendance and attainment
  • track the progress of individuals and groups of children
  • collate summative and formative assessments
  • reduce the administrative burden on teachers by using transferable data
  • enable communication within school and beyond, on a one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many basis
  • increase communication with parents.
But how realistic are many items on the list? Will it (should it) really provide these benefits?
A thought occured to me. Having ONE closed VLE or LP system, seems to be attractive. Security and child protection issues solved. But what are the costs? Surely Web 2.0 is about exactly the opposite.
Could it be that one closed system makes effective one other thing? The monetization of software, online textooks and the rest?

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