First impressions DfES e-Learning strategy

First impressions from reading the forward and executive summary of the e-learning strategy (called Harnessing Technology Transforming Learning and Children’s Services) is that it felt to me like a document that everyone could take some comfort from. But perhaps as a result of this I couldn’t say that it made me confident that in its current form it will galvanize the fragmentary and patchy use of e-learning along the lines that the forward to the document seems to describe. Where it talks of transforming teaching and learning, and engaging hard to reach learners……

“Borrowing ideas from the world of interactive games, we can motivate even reluctant learners to practice complex skills and achieve much more than they would through traditional means.” , talks of transforming teaching and learning, and engaging hard to reach learners.

One of the priorities for reform is “A collaborative approach to personalised learning activities” and this suits my own strongly held beliefs well.

And I think also very important, “A leadership and development package for organisational capability in ICT”. It seems to me that this is a recognition that the current ad hoc system of employing enthusiastic teachers or people with a very technical bent to make infrastructure decisions is pretty hopeless.

However, when the discussion in the summary starts the first priority is identified as “to improve everyone’s access to online information, transactions, and advice services” – what about improving student learning and teaching? Shouldn’t that be priority number 1?

The second priority is for me moving in the right direction “giving every student and learner a personal online learning space”. And the recognition that developing a personal identifier is important so that records can be transferred if a little timid in the reading “we will work towards…..”, however “Over time we should see the technology join up better so that this is available to learners to build on wherever they go”.

We then move onto resources “update our standards for pedagogic quality, accessibility and safety”, followed by professional development, leadership, and infrastructure.

So the concern I have is that after the forward and the listed priorities, the document starts to lose the focus on what I believe is the most important factor and that is teaching and learning. It is how the technology is used for this that will determine the impact in the classroom, and although there is talk of rewarding good practice and training for teachers – hopefully not NOF revisited. It might be implied throughout, but I wonder if this is enough.

Still, good luck to them and all of us, at least it is a start and I hope that the we can collectively pull it in the right direction.

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