Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swine Flu puts spotlight on E-Learning

Recent Swine Flu outbreak in Mauritius left teachers unprepared/unplanned when the decision to close down schools was announced. For the E-learning geek that I am, I immediately saw the potential of my forever endeavor to deliver instruction online. I therefore congratulate the teachers who at that time made use of the web to assist their students! I personally know one ex-secondary school teacher who made use of the web to teach his students. For than just putting up learning materials online, he engaged his students into online activities (often real-time) and encouraged interaction. Unlike most of our teachers, Avinash Oojorah delivered instruction successfully while engaging the learner to interact and participate. Interaction, Participation and Collaboration are the key words really for successful online learning, and this is exactly what most teachers are not aware of unfortunately.
I strongly believe that its high time for authorities, teachers, school directors to invest in technologies that would extend learning after school hours. Stakeholders in the educational sector should be trained accordingly on the powerful instructional tool that is the Web.

There are many free online applications out there which can be used immediately to start teaching online.
Google Docs is an online office suite which enables document sharing and collaboration. Skype can be used for those looking to communicate with Video-conferencing and audio features for free. Teachers can use an inexpensive microphone with Skype to animate an online class session and interact with students like they would in a classroom. Blogging is great way to dispense learning materials and gather related links. Interaction with students is also enabled through comments. For those who want to setup a website can do so on Google Sites. Setting up a website has never been so easy. Google Sites is also packed with a few interesting features. Screencasting is a indispensable technique today in Multimedia Learning Environments. Tools like Screenr enable you to record screen manipulations and broadcast to learners.
Powerpoint presentations and can stored and accessed from Slideshare to enhance learning materials. They can even be embedded in other sites or blogs.

I will later on extensively discuss about those tools (and others) with real examples on how they can be used to effectively deliver instruction. Am signing off for today..

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