Early hours of the morning, children sleeping, wife away in London with an appointment to meet a member of the Royal Family (no, I'm not kidding!) and I'm unwinding by reading a few other blogs. I'm heartened by the number of contributors who list reading as an interest.
I'm new to this and still finding my way but I was in a meeting today discussing so-called 'new technology' in Education, and was a little dismayed by some of the negative comments being made by people who should be in the business of inspiring young people. Most of the students I work with are very web-savvy; they have MySpace accounts or are regulars on Bebo and Facebook*. So for them, using a VLE like Moodle is second nature and we should be responding to that. Heaven knows, mainstream education is doing it's best, here in the UK, to drain any remaining pleasure out of learning; so we in FE should be rekindling that fire by allowing the students to learn in a manner that suits them, that they can interact with and that chimes with the way they live the rest of their lives. Virtual Learning Environments will never take the place of a good teacher - we need that person-to-person interaction - but a good (or great) teacher will use whatever tools are available to inspire, instruct and inform their charges. Not that I consider myself a great teacher. I'm happy to take the lead from the students; they tell me what they want from our Moodle site, they contribute to it, and own it. It is a two-way learning conversation. This is in the very practical field of creative and performing arts, but the technology is helping to support the teaching, not driving it.
The way people learn is changing; we must change with it. I'm sure I'll come back to this again.
* I saw a great t-shirt by Howies that said simply "No, I'm not on Facebook" made me laugh!