I spent yesterday at a cLc (connected Learning community) showcase in Toowoomba. A number of schools in my diocese have been trialling a LMS by Uniservity, a UK based company.
Those schools had the opportunity to present to each other, and to other interested schools, how they have used the cLc over the past few months – or in the case of one school over the previous six days.
My overall impression of the cLc is quite positive, and what the presenter from Uniservity showed is coming in the next generation of the environment is quite impressive, and as he implied more ‘Facebook’ than the current 10-year-old look.
Students and teachers are provided with a ‘safe’ environment within which to build webpages, blogs, contribute to wikis and forums, and so on. The direct communication, which hopefully does not replace actual spoken conversations, between teachers and students, students and students, and parents and teachers is a great facility. Each aspect of the cLc could be done in another way, but the beauty of the LMS is that it all happens in one place.
It seems as though each school in the showcase had gone about implementing the cLc in very different ways. At one primary school it was very child driven. They had shown the students the capabilities and basically asked, “What do you want to do with it?” The students had replied with a shared blog covering many aspects of their school life. Another school had taken a very top-down approach, having all teachers’ programming available for ‘transparency’ as we were told.
One of the best ideas concerning implementation/roll-out was to ensure that all teachers had their homepage in place and many resources available before students gained access. It not only meant that everybody was up and going from the very beginning, but that all teachers had a sense of authority about what they were doing. Many schools reported that the ability of students and parents to access class materials from home was a very powerful attribute.
The experience of the ‘newest’ school was interesting. Teachers, some with no experience of blogs or wikis, were able to produce homepages and include content including forums (fora?), quizzes, and shard learning spaces in just a day.
It seems to me that primary aged children would be more excited about producing their own homepage, whereas older students quite possibly have one or two (or more) of them happening already. The value, and starting point, for them would be in class-based discussion forums and the development of learning portfolios.
We had many questions answered, and were left with plenty of things to think about over the next few months before we are included in the rollout.
I would be interested to hear from any schools where LMSs are in place. What are you using? What are the benefits and problems? How did you manage rollout? How ahs interest and involvement been maintained?