VLEs are a ‘cottage industry’

… Well that’s what Ofsted have said (according to the BBC report) . And I suppose none of us are surprised by this really. Many of the primary teachers I have spoken to have not yet seen the point of all of the work to learn how to use them and the gains for their children seem minimal … ‘better spend the time on making a real difference’ … I was told. But I think that they might well have missed the plot …

The study found “very limited” use of VLEs in primary schools … so at BETT over the next week it will be really interesting to see all those stands trying to explain why primary schools should go down this ‘non creative’ path and how much it is going to cost them. The TCO (total cost of ownership) of a VLE can’t really be measured … time is the priceless commodity that it takes to get the best out of such an environment. But like anything worth its weight, investment pays off! Around the country I see pockets of exceptional good practice but on the whole it is a slowish start … it needs a champion, someone who says ‘Come on forward … we can do this, our kids deserve it.’

Perhaps it is about ownership … VLEs are institutional tools for institutional purposes … on the other hand FaceBook is a social network that, in its way, does similar things. Students entering the institutional VLE from their social network account may be more inclined to see benefits …it is great to see that now some students/pupils are taking ownership ans making their chosen VLE sing to their tune… Such schemes “flourished where skilled and confident teachers and tutors treated the VLE as an extension of their normal work”. … says the report … so training to ensure ‘skilled and confident’ needs to be addressed … for the teachers really … I think the students/pupils will be okay

I will be interested to go around the BETT exhibition and see how many suppliers are calling their content’ VLE ready’ or something similar …  I feel sure that there will be some exceptional stuff to support teaching and learning and hope that it will be spotted by the discerning teacher/LA.

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