T-Learning is an elearning services company based in the Liverpool, UK supporting teaching and learning to schools across the world. Taecanet delivers personalised learning for teachers and students accessible at school or at home. More info can be found at www.taecanet.com

Friday, July 21, 2006

Taecanet Proves Significant Learning Gains

As predicted, it has been a hectic end to the term with many schools pre-occupied with exams, admin duties and the summer holidays just around the corner, which has made it difficult to engage with schools. We have however, come across some success stories proving that we are on the right track.

Two schools thus far have fed back to us that they have seen significant learning gains in this year's SATS, which has largely been attributed to Taecanet's personalised teaching and learning resource. Claire Allen, Deputy Head at St Paul's CofE Primary School in Addlestone, Surrey, commented "There is no doubt that results have improved as a result of using Taecanet". Within our first year of live service to schools, we have been hopeful of such results, but until now we have not had the means to confirm these learning gains through consistent usage. This now appears to be changing as schools are reporting improved results following summer exams.

To further support Claire's comments, Holy Trinity Primary School in Cookham, Berkshire, have pinpointed some statistics which lead to the same conclusion. The Headteacher, Graeme Aldous expressed his joy that "Taecanet has helped my Science SATS results improve dramatically. We have been using Taecanet for only four months but it has helped us increase our Level Four achievements by 10 per cent from an expected 85 per cent to 93 per cent. Our Level Five improvement is even more marked, with an increase of over 40 per cent from an expected 55 per cent to an achieved 77.5 per cent."

This is excellent news for us, and for our community of schools. Hopefully I can add some more success stories in the coming weeks as more results are published!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The BBC dinosaur wakes up!

The beeb has finally realised that they need to adapt to the modern media era. Consumer practices are in transition and the most established broadcasting organisations need to change in order to survive.....especially those within the Public Sector. As it is paid for using the much maligned 'TV Licence', audiences are now looking for added value in this media savvy consumer market of today.

The 'personal media' revolution has rocked the established dinosaurs such as the beeb with more innovative institutions such as Sky offering hugely diverse and dynamic viewing packages. The Internet offers even more variety by way of 24/7 personalised access to a wealth of free content.

The same shift, I hope, will apply to other areas such as the BBC's provision of educational content. Again, as fee payers we are entitled to squeeze as much usage out of our licence fee as possible, and the BBC seem to recognise this and are keen to move away from the old media broadcasting methodology. The BBC Director General, Mark Thompson, comments "The BBC should no longer think of itself as a broadcaster of TV and radio and some new media on the side. We should aim to deliver public service content to our audiences in whatever media and on whatever device makes sense for them, whether they are at home or on the move."

For the full press release, click on the following link:-
Press Release Link

The previously creaky old organisation appears to be transforming in order to put the Licence payer in the driving seat. It's about time!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Educating the Educators

To continue the theme of the previous post, I feel that the time constraints felt by teachers have led, in some cases, to a generation gap occurring. Technology can sometimes bypass the teachers and end up directly in the student's lap. This can reverse the traditional teaching balance by essentially cutting out the middle man, allowing students to directly access educational materials. The students are now the ones with the know-how AND the tools to further educate themselves. This is an understandably uncomfortable position for many adult teachers.

We need to find a way to reach and inspire teachers, in order to address this unbalanced equation before school time becomes a time of 'dumbing down' for students, who may able to learn independently and perhaps more effectively outside of school. The internet and other media such as National Geographic, Discovery and History channels are available to many students either through digital television or simple web searches. This independent and interactive learning is proving a vital tool for students to further their own knowledge on a plethora of available subjects.

But it is teachers who must be sparked into action in order to continue to make school a fun and innovative space in which to learn. Christopher Sessums has written an interesting article detailing this problem. He quotes Putnam and Borko (2000) stating “teacher educators have long struggled with how to create learning experiences powerful enough to transform teachers’ classroom practice”. For the full article by Sessums visit; http://elgg.net/csessums/weblog/124446.html

We could always get the students to teach the teachers! This might just be outlandish enough to work!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In-School Planning for ELearning Growth

I have no doubts as to the potential of elearning platforms as a time saving mechanism for teachers. The ablility to access personalised student information, administer work, or plan effectively at the click of a button, will enable teachers to free up valuable time. This time can then be spent on meeting individual student needs while at the same time meeting administrative requirements.

However, as a far reaching concept, I think we are some way from this being a reality within many schools. Teachers are currently bogged down with traditional planning, marking, and general admin which means that elearning solutions are often pushed down the order of crucial tasks. Very often, essential planning for the future is replaced by a 'what do I need to do for today' mentality. This means that although teachers may have completed their immediate obligations, when tomorrow arrives, they will face the same dilema. A vicious circle indeed.

In my opinion, teachers with a specialised role for planning the future growth of sectors such as elearning, should be given special dispensation to deal with such matters effectively, rather than having to juggle it with a deluge of other roles. This would mean that planning and research could be much more effective, resulting in a more cohesive strategy designed to get the best package for all teachers as well as students.

The sooner teachers with this huge responsibility are able to work effectively, the better. The elearning revolution is as much about teachers as it is students.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Personalised Media Solutions

Today, we live in a world of personalised media rather than the mass media sphere of years gone by. We are now in charge of how/where we shop, how we package our music to suit our exact requirements, and even how and when we choose to view television programmes on our own schedule. Everybody has differing requirements and therefore, by being able to decide how WE want to operate in so many arenas, allows us to make media work for us rather than being constrained by its singular usage.

This can also be seen in school requirements for elearning. The very fact that every student and every teacher has different requirements, means that schools are now, more than ever, in a position to blend different learning styles and approaches to suit their students. Schools are able to choose from an array of teaching and learning tools that can be tailored to the specific requirements of the target audience. This must be beneficial to schools. With issues such as Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Gifted & Talented students to deal with, often under one roof, the ability to piece together your own flexible sloution will increasingly help to raise standards.

The content sector of elearning has exploded in recent years, giving teachers the perfect platform to explore teaching and learning solutions for all students. Elearning must continue to diversify in this way to give teachers the oppertunity to decide for themselves which services are most appropriate to match their personal requirements. Long may this 'personalised media' revolution continue as a way to offer a democratic solution for all.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Blended Learning in the 'New World'

In my opinion, schooling needs a major turnaround if it is to keep pace with today's young and curious students of the world. Along with technological advance, comes a change in learning styles, skills and communication.

Learners in today's world are able to learn through personalised advance rather than a 'one size fits all' approach offered by traditional schooling. 'Blended learning' is now an essential mechanism for reaching every individual in the class. This will make it far easier for students to reach their potential by adopting a learning style to suit them.

There is a stark contrast between 'Old World' (OW) and 'New World' (NW) learning, both in terms of the media used to teach, and from the more intrinsic personal way that people relate to these media. These can be seen on so many levels. For eg. OW single task activities are being replaced by NW multi-tasking, OW individual learning tasks are being replaced by NW community learning, OW produce and consume learning are being replaced by NW search and retrieve learning. For a great piece relating to this topic, please visit the following link:-
-Link to article

These are arguably the learning modes of the future, but they are already a part of modern consumer activities used by both children as well as adults and can therefore be classified as 'life skills'. Elearning is an ideal bridge between these apparently distict entities. Whilst it is important to remember that traditional schooling can still play a significant part in education, these new learning styles must be considered if schooling is to remain relevant and motivational for our NW students.
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