|A bit of background...|
When the BBC Micro Computer was introduced into schools, back in the 1980s, although it was rolled out under the auspices of developing computer literacy and information technology skills, many wondered what they were supposed to do with it! Traditionally, education has developed solutions to solve existing problems; introducing the computer was effectively saying - 'here's a computer... now find something to use it for!'
Elearning has this same quality about it. The notion of being able to deliver course content online, at any time of day or night, all year around, seems very attractive... but where is this philosophy going to be most valuable and best implemented?
If you are based
in a regular classroom situation, why would you want to be doing lessons
online? In Australia, elearning technology at various levels of sophistication,
has been used for many years to reach young people living in remote
areas - miles from any local schools. In the USA and UK, Universities
became the main users of the technology and Higher Education has generally
led the way since the 1990s. Whilst schools have got to grips with computers,
projectors and to some extent, interactive whiteboards, many have yet
to fully embrace all that elearning technology can offer. Terry
Freedman commented on an Ofsted Report of January 2009, on the use of
In the UK, the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) project in collaboration with PfS (Partnerships for Schools) had the opportunity to introduce radical reforms in many areas. However, the new coalition Government (in 2010) decided to stop BSF from continuing. Young people would have been able to extend their formal learning activities beyond the confines of their school walls and with this flexibility comes a real opportunity to develop elearning in a much more practical and useful way. Additionally, the elearning tools would gradually give access to parents/carers so that they could follow the progress of their children and participate more fully with their education.
Coming back to the present, (post 2012) and with the development of new applications and open source software, learners can now develop their own content in many different ways and there is no reason why this should not be developed into 2-way learning contributions and a way to promote more collaboration between schools. The increased availability and capabilities of 'smart phone' and similar technologies is also widening the opportunities for expanding participation.
Department for Education - main site
Some of the real challenges currently faced by educational establishments are...
"How do we implement successful and useful elearning in our organisation?"
"What do we need and where do we go for help and information?"
"How do we future-proof ourselves against new Government directives and ever-changing educational needs?
This site (eLC) hopes to help you address these questions.