Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Canberra Schools Connected Learning Community

The ACT Department of Education and Training is providing a web based service called the "Connected Learning Community" (CLC). This appears to be based on the Atomic Learning products. Unfortunately neither the ACT Government or company web sites provide details of what the CLC is, or does. In a media release last year Andrew Barr MLA (New portal gives students better access to schools, 25/05/2010) wropte that this would give the students " ... the ability to listen to past lessons as podcasts, videolink with other students for language practice and check on their homework requirements" it also said it would allow them to complete their maths homework on-line and "Students will be able to learn anywhere, any time.”

Such a facility would be very useful but does present challenges. This will require re-training of teachiners,. not only in how to use such a computer system, but also how to plan and deliver lessons on-line, which requires different pedagogy. Delivering old fashoned education via such a system would be a waste of the money invested (which will need to be much more than the $20M so far allocated). It would also cause frustration for the students, teachers and the parents.

Allowing students to learn anywhere will also require changes to the current laws governing school attendance. Most students will be able to complete most of their academic subjects without attendance. This would reduce the requirement for attendance down to perhaps two days a week for sport and group activities. Schools could still provide student supervision in "learning centers" (the modern term for a school library), overseen by teachers. But this would not need to be compulsory, as students academic development could equally well be supervised via the system by their teachers remotely. This will make most current school buildings obsolete, as few individual classrooms will be needed.

One issue with the CLC, is why it is limited to public schools. All Australian students are entitled to an education paid for by the state. There is no reason why the same on-line system should not therefore be available, at no cost, to students at private ACT schools.

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