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Making the most of the VLE

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by maa09, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. maa09

    maa09 New commenter

    I thought it might be useful to share ideas about how to make effective use of the VLE to support MFL teaching and learning. At my school we are lucky to have quite an advanced VLE. As a department we have put on links to listening exercises, online games and other resources that colleagues have produced. Personally I have found it particularly useful for giving listening homework tasks to Sixth Formers (we have the Elan OxBox so we have MP3s of all the sound files) as it is such good practice for the OCR AS & A2 exam format. Is anybody doing anything different that works well?
  2. PierreImport

    PierreImport Administrator

    I tried to right click and delete our VLE.
  3. I think a lot of language teachers would like to zap their VLEs, Pierreimport! From what I have read most VLEs in schools are under-used because they make life more difficult rather than easier. VLEs have their critics, such as Professor Mark Stiles:
    Stiles M. (2007) "Death of the VLE? A challenge to a new orthodoxy", Serials, the Journal for the International Serials Community 20, 1: 31-36: http://uksg.metapress.com/index/55K7732DTHRQ6GK1.pdf
    On the other hand, there is a growing community of language teachers using Moodle. Moodle has its own Moodle for Language Teaching Community - log in as a guest or register to join the community: http://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=31
    See Mary Cooch's blog on Moodle: http://www.moodleblog.net/
    See also Stanford J. (2009) Moodle 1.9 for second language teaching: engaging online language learning activities using the Moodle platform, Birmingham: Packt Publishing: http://www.packtpub.com/moodle-1-9-for-second-language-teaching/book
    The Open University uses Moodle for language teaching online.
    Graham Davies
  4. steveglover

    steveglover New commenter

    I now work for the LA on getting a comprehensiveonline careers product out to schools after more than ten years working on a range of vles including digitalbrain, serco, uniservity, moodle, kaleidos and itslearning and the single biggest factors stopping vles taking off are
    lack of understanding in SMT of what can be achieved with a sustained development plan
    time for teachers to get their heads round them
    enough training at the appropriate time followed up at regular intervals
    niggling software bugs or clunkiness that puts people off
    lack of graphical ability to make the course look "nice" in the way that can be achieved more or less with themes in MS products
    when all or the majority of these obstacles can be overcome and where there is a critical mass of equipment to use the VLE on it can be great-I have been into some schools recently in Lancashire where moodle is the main product in use and usage is fantastic with thousands of visits per day let alone week. This is where senior management has seen the possiblities, put someone in charge of it and built the system into the infrastructure of the school.
    I guess people are more comfortable with technology like IWBs because they are more inclusive in the sense that all the kids are going to benefit from lessons produced for it whereas VLE use might be more restricted.
    I would think simulations like a business assignment or organizing a holiday visit would be excellent activities to run through the VLE where links can be set up to give information required to complete a holistic task. This is the type of thing we were developing for diplomas before they stopped being flavour of the month.
  5. maa09

    maa09 New commenter

    Many thanks Graham for the advice and pointers to other sites.
  6. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    We use Moodle at school - it's a bit clunky but I can see the gains in using it. Our IT techie is working on improving the basic appearance and he's doing a good job.
    I was at the Cramlington Learning Village conference today - they use Frog. This also looks very good. I think you get out of a VLE what you put into it.
  7. In my school the VLE is used by lazy teachers to steal resources from hard working ones!!! Infuriating!!

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