Friday, 5 August 2011

Learning Platforms

Online with Learners

How do you communicate with your learners online, if at all? For years, I've moved from one platform to another in search of the perfect solution. A one-size-fits-all is yet to be found.

When I choose a platform for working with learners, these are some of the features I am looking for.
  1. Free and ad-free
  2. Support for collaborative work - learners need to be able to share, discuss and edit
  3. Easy-to-use-interface - teachers & learners will soon switch off if it's not intuitive to use
  4. Reliability in terms of being accessible 24-7 - learning opportunities anywhere, anytime
  5. An engaging environment for learners - I want them to be enthusiastic about logging in
  6. Autonomy - I want to administrate for my groups and not have to ask the IT team to bestow permissions on a regular basis
  7. Unlimited (or virtually unlimited) file storage
  8. Functionality - we have multiple lesson formats and ways of learning; we want a platform that accommodates all of these & allows us to embed any other resources we like e.g. Glogster
While it is relatively easy to identify products that fill some or all of requirements 1-6, and a few can provide 7, it's point 8 (functionality) that is the holy grail of learning environments. I want something that I can use for day-to-day lesson materials, collaborative project work both within school and across the globe, a facility for learners to upload and comment on each other's work, forums etc. It's so much easier with one log-in rather than many, but as it stands, I have to choose best fit and incorporate tools from multiple sources to get the job done. However, I'm hopeful about Google+ when it is finally linked up with Google Apps accounts which my learners already have. In the meantime, the next few posts will give an evaluation of my experiences. Please feel free to share yours too.

[You can find all posts related to this Musing by following the label Learning Platforms]

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