Although the idea of having virtual learning environments (VLE) has grown steadily in popularity in recent years, the actual use of VLE in many educational institutions, especially elementary schools, has not really been eliminated. Ofsted blames a black of enthusiasm and mutual support from teachers and students for lack of development at VLE initiatives, but there may be a bigger issue to meet, especially regarding how few elementary schools have adopted VLE as part of their everyday management.
VLEs are designed to give students and staff access to a wide range of teaching materials through custom designed computer systems. Resources commonly found at VLE, especially in universities, include notes and handouts, exercise tutorials or exams, PowerPoint presentations, video clips and links to useful websites.
Everywhere VLE report found that they were still a relatively new concept that represented only a very small (and in many cases non-existent) aspect of learning. Colleges and universities found themselves most used VLE, while elementary schools were the furthest behind.
The main problem in elementary school is the lack of a so-called technological master - usually a key employee who takes the thought out, sees the benefits, and works to help colleagues do the same to get anything assumed in school.
Most VLEs are designed to be used by upper secondary schools or colleges, with large amounts of storage, complex scheduling systems and a relatively streamlined look. This makes from shelf VLE solutions largely unsuitable for elementary schools. Apart from the fact that most VLEs are priced outside the average rate due to the extensive features and storage (necessary for secondary and higher education, but undesirable pricing for primary), interfaces and functionality are basically unusable with 4 -11-year-olds. What use is a VLE that students can not access?
A primary school teacher does not want to add VLE updates to his or her already extensive workload. Who wants to enter a large list of brands twice? The sign of a proper primary school VLE is that it will simplify the teachers work while being easily accessible to students and parents. Large buttons, colorful graphics and easy-to-use instructions are needed for younger students. Simple and easy administration that reduces workload instead of increasing it is needed for teachers and school administrators.
Think of a primary school teacher, Miss Thompson, with a class of thirty students. Each time she wants to put homework for them, even a simple task like spelling, Miss Thompson has to photocopy thirty sheets, pin them in thirty homework, and then slow in through twenty-five or twenty-one return books to see who failed to return his work.
Most VLE will then also need poor Miss Thompson to log in and make electronic the same thing she just did by hand to keep the administrator system up to date. Her workload has been increased, if not doubled, by the new technology, so she is completely entitled not to be a big fan of it! Whats worse is that none of her students or their parents bother looking at VLE because its too complicated and looks like it was designed for a university, what about all gray-colored buttons labeled timepiece and practice exams.
Lets now compare Miss Thompsons experience with another VLE, which is not a custom or trimmed version of something that was originally made for secondary education or universities and colleges. This is a primary school VLE, designed and built carefully from the ground up to meet the needs of elementary school students, teachers and parents.
Instead of wasting time and school money on photocopying high home homework (many of which will be lost during the complex expedition from the classroom door to the students home), Miss Thompson can send the document to his entire class by only a few clicks . At home, the children are happy to sign in to a system that has large, colorful buttons, theme classes and a simple interface that a modern six-year-old (and even his or her slightly less modern parents) can easily understand. When each student completes the homework assignment, it is registered in VLE, so Miss Thompson saves another half-hour sort by paperwork. Even better, school department administrators and administrators can look through class performance to see where problems can occur and tie them in the button. Little Susie has not done her homework for a whole week? The time to look up with the parents before she begins to fall behind her.