Week 3 VLEs, MLEs and Learning Platforms

This week, we were introduced to learning platforms.

What is a learning Platform?

This video offers a good explanation of Learning Platforms

A Learning Platform (LP) is a term to describe a system of information and communication technologies that is used to deliver and support leaning.
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Managed Learning Environments (MLEs) are part of the same family of applications.

Learning Platforms are a new and constantly evolving technology, therefore it is hard to define one clearly. Becta (the recently abolished Quango), suggested that:

“Any Learning Platform should provide some or all of the following:
• Content management – enabling teaching staff to create, store and repurpose resources and coursework which can be accessed online
• Curriculum mapping and planning – providing tools and storage to support assessment for learning, personalisation, lesson planning etc.
• Learner engagement and administration – enabling access to pupil information, attendance, timetabling, e-portfolios and management information
• Tools and services – providing communication tools such as email, messaging, discussion forums and blogs. “

On the note of Becta being abolished, an article from last year in the TES, (September 2010) mentions that the UK is regarded worldwide as “years ahead of any major European country in using technology in schools, and Becta – the Quango axed by ministers – was essential in getting it there” and “the country needs to preserve the expertise and knowledge of the scrapped technology agency to maintain its leading position.” It will be interesting to see how the funding changes will affect the UK’s progress in ICT.

In my first post ‘Week one E-safety’, I mentioned the ‘Mathletics ’website. I now realize that it is an LP

As I previously suggested ‘Mathletics’ is a way for the children to know that other children in other countries do the same work as them. I can now see aspects of the ‘citizenship’ non-statutory framework. In particular, the concept of ‘multiple identities’ which overlap. Showing that we all have different identities, i.e. ‘British school child’ but also share identities with children and people in other countries. i.e. ‘Learner of Math’s’. I would suggest that these Learning Platforms, all have this potential, as with the Internet there is the possibility of a global connection.

Linda Mort suggests in her blog that Children could link up with a class in another country through the “Comenius e-twinning scheme and at festival times make a video of your celebrations to exchange with your twin. Send a puppet mascot to each other to make an appearance in both videos – each with a story to tell about their journey.” This is another example utilizing the global aspect of the Internet.
We had a look at ‘Knowledge box’ in the session. This was a learning platform. One of the advantages of ‘Knowledge box’, ‘Mathletics’, and other LP’s is the possibility of customising the work to the students individual needs: you can set the children specific work to develop their strengths/weaknesses in their learning. Linda Mort suggests in her blog that a “learning platform enables you to customise professionally-produced resources, to reflect the needs and interests of your children, families, school and community”.
Mike Herrity suggests in his blog, ‘share point in education’, that the key attribute in these the technologies being used in schools, such as LPs, is that they are ‘student centric’. The reason for these technologies should promote “independence and interdependence amongst learners and instant interaction and feedback with students and teachers to ensure we are engaging in meaningful learning.”

Although there are many advantages to using LPs, I think it is important to note that there are also disadvantages.

Although LPs can be inclusive of Children’s family and encourage connections to the local community, not every child has access to a computer and the internet at home. This means children can be singled out as different. For example if you set homework to be completed through a learning platform, and you have to arrange for the children who don’t have access to come at lunch or after school to do their homework it is singling them out.

There is also the fact that recent research showed that only 42% of primary schools have adopted learning platforms and that 22% of all primary schools have no plans to develop one. Perhaps this shows that there is not an immediate need for LPs, or they do not suit every schools needs and budget.


Linda Morts blog: http://earlyyearslearning.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/vles-in-eyfs-and-ks1/
Mike Herrity’s blog: http://sharepointineducation.com/the-personal-learning-environment-moving-beyond-the-vle-and-sharepoint-learning-platform



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