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, October 19, 2007

Slow internet - fast students!

It can indeed be a problem for some schools, trying to offer effective online elearning to pupils, while having to deal with limited bandwidth. However, this does not necessarily mean that such learning has to stop, as there are a multitude of ways to make the most of current provisions. From my personal experience, here are some such options when using Taecanet Springboard for teaching:

Whiteboard activities - It is easy to use Taecanet Springboard on an interactive whiteboard. Teachers can guide students through Learning Journeys on the board in order to help weaker readers, or simply to increase class participation. Students can be invited up to control the board, and press the buttons in order to go through the Journeys. By doing this, students can be polled for correct answers and whole class participation is acheived extremely easily. This will be motivational for students as they are learning in a new and exciting way, and at the same time, teachers can benefit from the integrated content that is easily accessible through the service. As there is only one PC being used at a time, the internet connection should be fast and efficient.

To facilitate such activities, all teachers are provided with 'student' usernames, so that they can guide their class through work on the whiteboard, or simply gain confidence with the system in their own time. Another way to promote this usage would be to access the 'Help' file as a teacher. Within there, teachers can access all of the content within the service, in isolation. By using the 'Unit Explorer', ALL available content can be accessed in seconds, without the need to use the pre-prepared Journeys. This section gives teachers increased ownership on how they would like to use the materials, and it will provide an excellent starting point for personalised research. No longer do teachers have to sought through millions of web hits through search engines, because we have already paid teachers to do this legwork! Save hours in terms of planning and preperation and take advantage! If you are doing a topic next week, see what you can find in the Unit Explorer!

Homework - As Taecanet Springboard is an online resource, teachers can easily allocate work for students to complete at home. With more and more households being equipped with broadband, this will increasingly be an option for schools. For those students who cannot gain access at home, teachers can set a longer timescale and perhaps create 'homework clubs' where students can get online in at lunch or before/after school. This has been especially effective in a number of schools that I have visited. This technique will reduce the need for large bandwidth by staggering student's use of PC's, while retaining your delivery of essential personalised learning. Some will complete their work at home, some may come in at lunch, some after school.....and so on. This will ease the impact on your school systems, and give students increased ownership over their work. Win win.

These are just a few basic ideas that I can point to through my experiences of working with classes. Please comment below this article if you know of any more!

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