Moving Secondary Education Online

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Help teachers recognize the changing face of the modern “digital native” learner
Show the available tools for communicating and engaging “digital native” learners
Suggest ways to develop teacher skills to facilitate better learning opportunities in an online environment


What is this e-learning technology we keep hearing about? This is a very loaded question as it has many different interpretations. To some it is as simple as a piece of OHT and an OHP. For others it a laptop and a data-projector used to screen a DVD. To some it is simply giving a student access to the World Wide Web and saying they are e-learning. For others it is utilising web 2.0 technology in class to showcase the potential of the Web.

If you look at the Wikipedia definition of e-learning ( then it is often seen as something that goes against the standard one hour face to face contact that has traditionally been seen as secondary education, or something more commonly found in a Computing / Information Technology class. It is this perception that needs to be overcome to show that learning without the physical boundary of a classroom is the future of education.

Target Audience

Teachers looking to incorporate Digital Learning Objects into their teaching programme.
Students looking to extend their understanding of course content.
Parents looking to assist students to further develop their understanding of coursework.


Explanation of Term
Blended Learning The combination of traditional and e-learning practices
Digital Literacy The ability to use digital technology, communication tools, or networks to locate, evaluate, use, and create information
Digital Native Term used to describe learners who have grown up with access to digital technology. (For further information see
Learning Management System (LMS) A software package to manage and deliver learning content and resources to learners, and give teachers a means of administering this delivery. For further information see
Learning Object A reusable digital resource that is used to support or enhance learning
Online Learning Environment (OLE) Sometimes called a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) it is the digital equivalent of the classroom

Essential Skills


Internet Access
General computing skills - Word Processing, Email, Internet
A desire to learn


People might be interested in taking a look at the Digital Native Project. This is a collaboration between people from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. There are lots of interesting links to similar projects and to stuff they are reading as part of the project. --bron 01:21, 13 November 2007 (CET)

Some eLearning Tools (Web 2.0 tools)

HTML: The language of the internet. Many are daunted by the idea of creating webpages but there are many good WYSIWYG webpage design programs available - Microsoft Word has a save a webpage file type but the most commonly software is Dreamwaver. The strength of webpages lies in their accessibility from anywhere - for example if a teachers lecture notes are available online, the student who is away has the opportunity to catch up easier without disrupting future lessons.

Blog: Essentially can be seen as an online diary. It opens up the opportunity for feedback and progress checks of students understanding in a format that many of them are familiar with already. An example could be for homework students are to blog about their understanding of a key concept taught.
RSS The cables that link the networks. With the use of RSS or similar technology, people can subscribe to regularly updated forms of information, such as a blog, and add it with a number of other subscriptions. By using a news reader to manage subscriptions people can keep up to date with information without having to rely on search and filtering. RSS and new readers are important tools for maintaining connections between information, channels and people, and so for building and maintaining a learning network.

Wiki: An online collaborative website that is managed and maintained by all in the learning community who have access. The most famous is Wikipedia which is now nearly a household name. There are many benefits for students in creating their own wiki. Students can develop and peer review a whole learning progamme with a 'barn building' exercise (much like we as students have done here). While doing so they are reinforcing their own understanding.

Learning Management Software (LMS): Basically a virtual classroom. All the resources, teaching programme, assessments and results can be managed and accessed from this 'one stop shop'.

Extending Beyond The Physical

Beyond the now 'traditional' web 2.0 tools available are new strategies which involve the usage of virtual or simulation software as a teaching tool. This software can be loosely classified as either a simulation or an educational game.


A simulation can been seen as interactive pretending. The technology is available now to take what traditionally would be a thought activity (a 'what if...') and actually see the possibilities. One of the big 'movers' in this type of software is Secondlife where the limitations of the physical classroom are transcended as the walls are replaced with the limit of the imagination.
Pilots hone their skills in flight simulators, mechanics can investigate the inside of a 3D motor exploding it into the parts before reassembly and doctors are able to carry out surgery from thousands of kilometres away.

External Links
Educational Uses of Secondlife

Educational Games (DGBL)

The potential of educational games (sometimes called Digital Game Based Learning DGBL) are also being explored (for example by Distil Interactive).

Digital natives have regularly played video games as the personal computer has been readily available. As the sophistication of these games has improved there are often many learning opportunities (example) that learners can explore. Examples include the reality of war in games like Battlefield 1942, history can be explored in Civilization, and these games all contain multiplayer components.

Proponents of DGBL point out that the way students learn in the 21st century is significantly different from the way they are currently being taught

Students certainly don’t have short attention spans for their games, movies, music, or Internet Surfing. More and more, they just don’t tolerate the old ways — and they are enraged we are not doing better by them.

- Marc Prensky "Engage Me or Enrage Me -- What Today's Learners Demand" (EDUCAUSE Review September/October 2005 Pg 60) (

The Evolution of Learning?

How we adapt our teaching and learning programmes to meet these new educational needs is a matter of debate, including do we need to change what we are doing at all?