Ways in

“It destroys memory and weakens the mind, relieving it of work that makes it strong. It is an inhuman thing.”

Who said this, and what was the ‘it’?

I’ve had various answers over the last few weeks while I’v been doing staff development with teachers. I’ve had ‘the Internet’ and ‘Google’, and even ‘no it’s wider than that, perhaps the whole of it’. After a few hints, I’ve had ‘printing’. Close – the quote is from Plato’s Phaedra and is attributed to Socrates. The technology in question was writing. My point is that people were worried about the effect of technology on our minds and ways of thinking 2500 years ago, and possibly before that.

I’m trying to find reasons why busy teachers in FE Colleges might want to start using elearning with students. I’m finding that many already use blogs and MSN with students. Most are using e-mail to cut feedback time down. These are all valid uses of e-learning according to the inspectors definition…

“E-learning is learning facilitated and supported through the use of ICT. It may involve the use of computers, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, the internet, the college intranet, virtual learning environments and electronic communication tools such as email, discussion boards, chat facilities and video conferencing. E-learning should form part of the overall teaching and learning strategy for courses. There should be appropriate references to e-learning in schemes of work, lesson plans, assignments, course reviews and staff development plans. An overall strategy for e-learning should be supported by senior managers” Ofsted Handbook for Inspecting Colleges, April 2007, Ref 070075

I have the quote above up on PowerPoint (it comes from Paragraph 216 by the way) and I remind people that e-mail can be an entirely valid e-learning tool. But the use has to be documented in lesson plans or a scheme of work. Uses that people have mentioned include: feedback on writing sent as attached files (some teachers are using the comment tools in Word to provide in text feedback) and sending out Web links. The last use could be streamlined using a Moodle forum, but if it works…

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