Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Commercially available online learning materials and their availabilty/accessiblilty - some considerations

There is loads of good ESOL material on the web - a lot of teachers already access it and make great use of it but it does have restrictions:
  • time is sometimes wasted in directing students to it once in an IT suite as they cannot easily work through the links to find it - webpages are 'very busy' and ESOL students' scanning skills are weaker in English than in L1
  • the teacher presents or adapts it for class use therefore restricting students' independent learning after the class has ended
  • some podcasts/downloadable materials have a limited access life

When we find an activity we need to be able to quickly and easily link it to either a teacher homepage which students can be shown how to get to - anotehr idea: students could set up readers which informed them of new additions to teacher's page - or get it onto a class SoW.

Last term i had some useful materials for my tutor group to access on their SoW though other students in other classes couldn't gain entry. i think that the idea of a teacher's homepage might work slightly better - in that way I could show any student or indeed teacher where to find a particular activity adn i could update it.
I plan to use this activity for example, during induction as a guided in class listening exercise but there are more listening materials that students could work on in their own time on the same link. I would like to be able to put this link somewhere and be able to point (any) students/teachers to it as and when they wanted it.


martin king said...


Good points from a practitioner.

The systems we use are organised around courses/classes but there are many occassions when you might want to organise around teacher - I'll forward your points to others for consideration.

EXCELLENT point about feeds - we should start to alert staff and students to this as a way of dealing with the explosion of information around.

The design and developmemt teams have been looking into this for our systems - it's difficult to implement on our current set up but we will be moving things on in the next year to help feeds from our systems. Windows 2008 will have it built in but in the meantime I will have to install sharepoiont server and transfer to that.

martin king said...


for a teacher homepage why not think about a google page


have a look at mine at

Liz Boyden said...

Yes I am going to try setting up a Class web page with my 16-19s and hopefully we can collaborate on it together. Other members of the ESOL team have attempted this over the years but it was complicated and time consuming...hopefully now the applications are more user-friendly!