Thursday, 10 February 2011

Looking outside the VLE is not a crime


Note to self - must blog more.

It's good to reflect back on my thinking last year and how things have moved on. I've been reflecting on my Web 2.0 model. I still think it's a useful guide for making sense of what's out there and, although it could probably be refined, I don't think its worth the effort as the changes would be minor. I've said in the past that integration of internet based tools and Virtual Learning Environments will get better over time. The rate of this improvement is frustratingly slow. Our institution, the Institute of Education, uses blackboard. When it comes to integration with internet-based tool, it's not good. Moodle is much better and our potential switch to this VLE would be very welcome from this point of view.

The issue of going outside the VLE doesn’t fit well with formal education. The instinct of an educational institution is to cover its back with anything it uses. As a result, the rules comes first. For the few that want to use something “out there”, they are forced to justify this position against whatever criteria deemed appropriate. The result is that most will not bother. Why risk doing something wrong especially since there is no often nothing to counter balance these rules and regulations and no intensive to think outside the box. I’m talking about resources that portray web 2.0 tools in a good light and champion their potential for teaching and learning. Such resources would be difficult to keep up to date but its a worthwhile endevour. It falls under the category of “seeking to improve how we teach and learn”. Surely this is worth doing.

This issue is related to whether you are proactive, going out there and trying to display what’s positive about learning technologies; or whether you are reactive, giving advice and support when people want it. The norm is the latter whereas I think we should be doing more of the former. I can see the argument for adopting both positions and perhaps I am drawn to the stance that feels like marketing sometimes because it is a minority position. It should be pointed that often lack of resources dictates how proactive you can be with regards to learning technologies.

On the internet based tools front, future VLEs will certainly have to cater for more integration. I can see them acting as a hub for pulling together everything the educator and the learners want to use. However, this probably won’t happen any time soon.

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