Do you have an LMS problem?

How is the take up of the LMS in your organisation?  Is it:

  • Virtually defunct – the virtual spindleweed rolling through the deserted courses?
  • Used for content storage – just in case someone might want it.
  • Vibrant and healthy – students go there every day and find something new?

Somewhere in between perhaps. Maybe it is time to re-invigorate.  Here is one idea that was implemented at The Southport School using a small grant from the Australian Government Quality Teacher Program, supervised by Independent Schools Queensland.

We held an Elearning Leaders Professional Learning Day at a local resort (total cost less than AUD 1000 plus need for cover): The proposed outcomes of the eLearning Leaders project as funded by ISQ/AGQTP: “Teachers are now capable and confident in the processes involved in making resources available online.  The focus this year on pedagogy will remind them that online content, while useful, is not the full story. The planned activities will lead to wider use of the LMS to promote pedagogical change in the classroom, the development in students and teachers of, what have been labelled, 21st century skills.  By this, we mean the Higher Order Skills (Bloom) of creativity, evaluation and analysis. These are the skills that students need to succeed in both the Queensland Core Skills Test, in tertiary study and the modern workplace. The issue of devices in years 9 and 12 is an important part of this program.”

The purposes of the Big Day Out are:

  • Sharing of classroom activities and practices and some preliminary evaluation
  • Defining the functions and priorities of eLearning leaders in their departments
  • Careful consideration of the implications that the introduction of mobile technology into the classroom brings for the personal and professional development plans of teachers.

Participants Where possible, participants should:

  • Have entered some brief account of what they have researched or tried to the LMS wiki (or Google Doc, whatever).
  • Be prepared to discuss and/or present something about the above.
  • Bring a wireless device of some kind – laptop or iPad – a projector will be provided.
  • Bring a recording device if you have one handy and take plenty of photos and videos to share 

Proposed  activities (sample program)

Time Activity
08:15 – 08:45 Tea and coffee
08:45 – 09:00 Welcome and general announcements
09:00 – 09:15 Ideas in a box – what is an eLearning leader – what do they do?
09:15 – 09:40 Turnitin and Moodle
09:40 – 10:00 Research at TSS
10:00 – 10:15 Morning tea
10:15 – 10:25 A developmental model for PL – the personal development cycle.
10:25 – 12:00 Share key points from Term 1 activities.  Review the “ideas box” – define the purpose of the team.
12:00 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 13:20 Activity: Plan a school visit, what questions will you ask.  Pairs then combined groups until we have 5 essential questions – or so.
13:20 – 14:40 Priority setting activity – Term 2 – might be as for Term 1 – this is for your faculty.  Solo or group-based as appropriate.
14:40 -15:00 Lightning Presentation on priorities.
15:00 – 15:15 Afternoon tea

The opportunity to get teachers out of the school for the day was priceless in some respects.  In this case we were not able to offer money (less than ideal as a motivator anyway) or extra time (the ideal solution) for the leaders but having the chance to think, reflect and share practice was great.

I believe also that the making of a “special” day in a very pleasant location (The Radisson Resort on the Gold Coast was 15 minutes from the school) made all the difference. Some results of our LMS and BYOD program:

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Richard Jones