Dare to learn

Andrew Runciman, e-learning director Lutterworth college, UK

Back to English again…

The UK has a government e-learning agenda, requiring schools to use ie VLEs to give students online learning space and students/parents access to online reporting and assessment.

Going through the basics of the UK school system. Most examples today will be from Upper schools – pupils from 15 to 19.

The biggest point now is personalisation – that every student can learn the way they want to. VLE has been an important and useful tool in this process.

The Vision in the group of schools where Runciman includes letting learners be able to learn anywhere and at anytime, with a personalised curriculum, allowing the students to become independent. This facilitates the process to teach the students to be able to find their own learning material, which is what they need to do in higher education. They focus also on collaboration and being critical to sources, sorting out what is reliable and what is not.

There are of course barriers and issues, just as we have here. The VLEs are not used to their potential, but more as file repositories. The collaboration is limited. The new tools are coming to fast, changing to fast, and the learners know more than teachers. There is the same reluctance to change that we see in Norway as well. Students are happy to keep up with change, but it takes time to introduce new things into school. It is harder to make them use the new technology in schools as well, this is something they connect to their private life.

Case studies:

1. Transition. Pupils change schools up to 5 times, and there is no continuous assessment and work done. Part of the solution is using portfolios that they take with them digitally. These portfolios get more complicated as they move up the school system, and they are included in the exams! (Showing examples of portfolios on It’s Learning, how the students use them.)

2. Assesment for learning. Assignments are reviewed by both students, peers and teachers, and tests are created by both learners and teachers. Students like getting feedback on what they do. (Showing how assignments are used, with digital commenting/evaluation, and the possibility for students improving their work until they get the grade they want.) The plagiarism tool is fantastic in this work (do they have the same problem with work already on ItsL, because this would tive 90-something % hit if a work is handed in again completely «legally».) Also showing how they have given the students rights to comment and grade eachothers work. Many teachers are now recording their comments instead of typing them.

3. Collaboration. Different tools being used. Web 2.0-mindset. Interresting use of surveys: when students do presentations in class, the other students answer a survey to evaluate them, but only the student presenting can see the results (and the teacher, of course).

4. Mentoring and peer support. Mentoring and groups to help in transition processes and learning. They use surveys well integrated with ItsL to help students pick the right path in their next school, to make the right choice for them.

5. Anytime Learning / Lessons online. Use the lesson planning tool well, and again there is a clear demand to what teachers are supposed to do. This means that students can follow a course even though they are not able to come in to school – if they’re in hospital, or at a school where a given subject is not offered and so on. Also the other way around – the students can carry on with course work if the teacher is away.

If anyone is interested in doing a collaboration project with a UK school, contact Mr. Runciman by email: a.runciman@lc.leics.sch.uk

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