What is a learning platform?

Learning, Teaching, Whole School 3 Comments »

Virtually all schools now have networked, broadband access that enables pupils and teachers to access information and resources within the school. The challenge now is to extend the school’s network so that it offers access to learning resources, online storage and tools for communication and management not just within school, but from outside it too, through a learning platform.

The Government’s e-strategy sets the expectation that:

  • by spring 2008 every pupil should have access to a personalised online learning space with the potential to support an e-portfolio (provided by their local authority)
  • by 2010 every school should have integrated learning and management systems (a comprehensive suite of learning platform technologies).

A learning platform brings together hardware, software and supporting services to enable more effective ways of working within and outside the classroom. Read more about the benefits of a learning platform.

Learning platforms can vary considerably, but each should provide a range of ICT-based functions:

  • Content management – enabling teaching staff to create, store and repurpose resources and coursework which can be accessed online
  • Curriculum mapping and planning – providing tools and storage to support assessment for learning, personalisation, lesson planning etc.
  • Learner engagement and administration – enabling access to pupil information, attendance, timetabling, e-portfolios and management information
  • Tools and services – providing communication tools such as email, messaging, discussion forums and blogs.

A learning platform is therefore not a single ‘off the shelf’ product but a collection of tools that are designed to support teaching, learning, management and administration.

Behind the Bike Sheds

Learning, Subjects, Teaching, Whole School 8 Comments »

There are few people who wish to exist in isolation from other people.

Most children have great facility in finding friends. Keeping them can be harder. It is necessary to stay part of the in-crowd of one’s peers. This might involve knowing when to meet behind the bike shed. Or perhaps just hoping to bump into or find one’s friends at break.

The majority of children now have a better way of managing the conversations that maintain and develop friendship. The problem is that it may not be possible for them to use these techniques in school.  Some schools ban pupils from bringing their mobile phone to school. Others are more enlightened and just rule that hearing or seeing a phone in class will result in its confiscation.

How many adults would be prepared to be separated from their mobile phone for the whole working day. Adults will certainly agree to turn off phones for periods, in meetings or when undertaking specific tasks. But this happens with their agreement and is the exception, not the norm.

There are some changes in society that schools have no option but to adapt to. This is one of them. The mobile phone and its derivatives are becoming a key part of one’s connection to the world.

And for schools that work out how to manage this phenomenon opportunities open. Consider the educational advantages when children have a communications device, connected to the Internet, with voice, text and image input devices.

What strategies are needed begin to incorporate this into teaching and learning?

What paradigm shift is needed?


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