The promise of Learning Platforms

My first introduction to a learning platform came way back in 2004/5 as far as I can remember. At that time I was a primary classroom teacher and we (all of the schools in the County) were presented with a Learning Platform and told that this was the future and we were expected to use it…

We were told it offered unparallelled opportunities for personalisation of learning, collaboration and anytime learning extending the learning well beyond the school day. We were presented with an empty box and some instructions…

Looking back

In hindsight (and isn’t that a great thing to have) I think they were ahead of their time, ahead of the technology and ahead of the connectivity. Looking back from here (more than ten years later) I wish I was being given that Learning Platform now…

In 2004 not all homes had a computer and certainly many didn’t have the internet. Now everyone has an online connected device, and in most cases children have their own. What could I do now with truly personalised learning and collaboration?

So the Learning Platform’s time has come but most have gone…

That could be blamed on the change of government and the sudden disappearance of the money for and obligation on schools to have a learning platform. It might have been the right decision for the majority then but some schools could see the Learning Platform benefit and stuck with it.

How could learning platforms work now?

At a time when children seem to be voraciously absorbing YouTube videos on anything and everything and play apps and are often left to entertain themselves it seems a shame that this ‘informal’ learning can’t be steered by something a little more formal.

Imagine a modern “Learning Platform where teachers ask children to blog about the things they find out about online? Why can’t teachers take the children’s interests and extrapolate these to help children to learn AROUND things that interest them? My girls (10 and 12) are interested in lots of things on YouTube, mainly around Minecraft currently but I know they have ‘learnt’ about hair care, hair styles, makeup and beauty tips and far more. Why can’t these ‘interests’ be harnessed to get them to reflect on their informal learning and to guide them towards learning other things through their own interests.

Today

We live in such a connected and accessible world why are most schools ignoring this and pressing on with teaching grammar!

Sometimes I wish I was back permanently at the ‘chalkface’, responsible and able to make decisions for my group of children. Would I be brave enough to grasp the nettle and truly personalise their learning?

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Fakebook!

An older site, but one which is worth highlighting!

Fakebook (http://www.classtools.net/fb/home/page) is a face-book-like site where teachers can create FAKE profiles for fictional or historical characters for study purposes.  There are some SUPERB profiles and exchanges already on the site (though they are hard to find!) but teachers can add their own.  It makes for a unique way to explore some historical events in a way that today’s pupils will find engaging and easy to understand, it can also be used to really get under the skin of fictional characters too!  Another use may be as a tool for esafety discussions.  Well worth taking a look at.

One of my favourite Fakebook Characters is Josef Stalin who’s “wall” can be found at http://www.classtools.net/fb/30/IlZ3WR

ePortfolios according to Ewan

In a recent blog post on School ePortfolios Ewan McIntosh described his view of these as no longer devices for showcasing our BEST work but for sharing the learning process for both students and staff. He says that ePortfolios should be “for showing the workings that led to a final product…, convenient tools for capturing anything that might, one day, relate to some learning.
ePortfolios for teachers should resemble those useful moments of sharing in the staffroom.
For students, ePortfolios should be the messy learning log or journal de bord that, frankly, not enough of them keep on paper anyway;
for the whole, open web: otherwise we set ourselves up for nearly only introspective learning with people who share our viewpoints, cultural biases and outlook on learning and life.”

The full bog post is well worth a read and can be found HERE

Purple Mash

Simon Haughton @simonhaughton presents on purplemash at Teachmeet Blackpool #tmbpool

http://blip.tv/file/3794301

Posted on Twitter by @eyebeams, aka Leon Cych

All Oxfordshire schools can get access to Purple Mash through the Virtual Software Fair – log in to KLP www.klp.rm.com. go to Interest Spaces and browse for the Virtual Software Fair.

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