A story of (E)-Learning:-from failure to success in one year

Posted: August 21, 2009 in e-leader, elearning, moodle, readthewords, resources, success, timetoast, vle, youtube

Over the last few years the AS results have been well “not good” despite all my efforts and tricks of the trade, in fact last year I had only 68% pass rate (dire), however this year that pass rate as increased to 100%, infact it is 100% success rate, (100% retention.)

I have been a College lecturer for nigh on fourteen years, and very much a strong advocate of IT online, elearning, CAL what ever you want to call it. Indeed I am the VLE/E-Leader (Champion) in the Sixth Form where I work.

For many years I have had my hands tied(not by choice) behind my back with regards to E-Learning, the familiar story (I am sure) of no Internet in the class room, limit LCD projectors, over booked IT rooms; however I have persevered and I have finally (almost)got what I wanted for years……an effective (e)learning environment.

Not for one minute do I believe the success this year is entirely down to “elearning”; but elearning as certainly been a very important aspect and integral part of this success.

These aspect can be summarised as follows:-

  • Increased Retention
  • Differentiation of teaching and learning (some through myself studying alternative methods)
  • Increased and effective assessment.
  • Course Management
  • Personal Learning opportunity for students.

What did I do different?

a) First I endeavoured to create a cohesive group, enthusiatic about Geography( yes it can be done). I partly did this by getting the students to design and create a “group T shirt“, this was done using online tools, and then each design was voted for (will use SMSPoll this year) and the winning vote printed off at a local shop at a cost of £8.99.

b) an early field visit, relaxed but informative, group work and collaboration; this was preceeded by a virtual field vist using Google Earth. (This year I will get student to upload images onto google maps) and I intend to take along my G1 phone and Air Tag location using wikitude or My tracks.

c)Weekly formal assessments and informal lesson based assessment (often using my exploding Gya Ball, it strikes fear into their hearts when I bring it out, infact it got “nicked” in the end), the students pass the ball around and it randomly explodes(well makes a noise like an explosion) and the student who has the ball gets to answers a question.
Formal assessment is recorded on to the Collge VLE(Moodle), where student can monitor and access their own ongoing marks/grades.

d) Embedding VLE into one full lesson per week(by booking an IT room), this allows me to encourage the student to use the VLE and other online resources, for example I have used Poodwaddle for population studies, timetoast to create time lines and obviously class notes, resources, quizzes and assignment outlines etc.

e) Placed course notes, videos, links to videos (youtube), audio revision notes created using readtheword, podcast and video podcast created by myself and by the students most of them using their own Mobile Phones, online quizzes created and embedding on the VLE which I use as plenary/end of topic self-assessments (the student get competative over their attempts, especially when I put the grade book up on the projector).

f) Plenary session using the LCD project) I dont have an interactive smartboard, and I dont believe they are vital)-short quizzes (my own VLE based) or some I have created using Content Creator (flash based quizzes), geogeaphy based crosswords using EclipseCrossword.
Interactive “drag and drop” exercises created just using Microsoft Word, very simple but effect and interactive.

g) Google Earth for a variety of tasks, one exercise in particular was looking at 3D landscapes when considering the siting of a wind farm, worked very well. Or using the flight simulator to fly over a river system and getting students to count or identify particular river features.

h) and finally and needless to say the use of microsoft word, excel to create documents or students to create graphs eg population pyramids and powerpoint to create presentations, which I now upload as slideshares and embed into the VLE. (next step is to use voicethread for narration).

List of resources:-

My previous Blog:- My top ten e-learning resources.


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