Friday, May 11, 2007

Elearning for Literacy

Preparing staff training for Web 2.0 has of course made me think about the purpose of it all. Why use elearning? And in elearning why use Web 2.0? If you follow the arguments through, one of the strongest reasons given why elearning works and especially Web 2.0 works is that it passes control to the learner and takes control away from the teacher.

The elearning enthusiasts tell us that we must prepare for this change - we as teachers cannot stay in control of learning.

In literacy teaching I spent a lot of time in the nineties trying to give learners control of their own learning through an open learning centre, with written packs and elearning at its heart. A lot of that seems to have gone out of the window with the arrival of Skills for Life. We have the agenda of a national core curriculum, and achievement to be assessed against portfolios and tests aligned to that. We assess needs against the curriculum and code all activities to the curriculum in our lesson plans to meet quality requirements. Of course there is plenty of space to use Web 2.0 with this. However it is easy to see why busy tutors, who have received their training in this setup, let the needs of the curriculum drive the learning rather than the wants of the learner. Too many of us are happy to take our learning materials of a shelf or off a link on a website.

This thread of thought was inspired by a quote from David Warlick from here:
"We are a generation who was taught how to be taught — not how to teach ourselves."
Will Richardson refers to it in this blog entry, and Will's argument is just as relevant to Skills for Life as it is to school teaching in the UK or USA.


rachelemmett said...

I totally agree with what you say; the curriculum seems to mean that there is not enough time to explore the potential for blogging etc with our literacy students. I have been writing an online module for a foundation degree but my main job is as a Literacy teacher in a college and I have recently also become really inspired by Will Richardson and the possibilities for our students. I'm just not exactly sure how to fulfil them at the moment!

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