Sunday, 17 February 2008

On-Line (but not) Learning

Libby and Stephanie brought us up to date with what had been going on school during the days we'd been away. What was apparent was that our thoughts that on-line learning was going to be our saviour have been badly misplaced. It seems that Malik's enthusiasm is not matched by the kids willingness to actually spend time on-line going through the content - they are too used to dipping in and out and "chatting" on Bebo that they can't actually use the materials effectively. In fact Libby said that she had to disconnect her computer from the internet because she wasn't getting any work done.

Such a discovery shouldn't really take us by surprise - we know that most kids left to their own devices won't choose to "study" - especially if competing with the opportunity to "chat" with other teenagers. I wonder why/how we deceived ourselves that this wouldn't be the case?

Stephanie wants to lead a circle tommorrow to try to find a solution to this problem. If we can't get this to work we will need to go back to teachers/adults leading the children through content in much the same way as we have always done - the problem being that we don't have enough teachers/adults who have expertise in particular subjects. For example - I can teach RME and could probably get away with basic level English, and one or two other subjects but I wouldn't know where to begin if it was physics or languages.

The irony of all this is that when we have discussed this before the kids have been enthusiastic and apparently committed - yet when we try to put this into action the reality appears to be quite different. Any ideas out there?


KathyinFL said...

Try setting specific goals and then creating a contract from these goals.

One of the parameters of working online could be that "chatting" is only allowed after an assignment is completed or at the end of a work period.

Even adults work better when there is some structure to their day.

There could be consequences which will also need to be clearly stated in the contract. These consequences may need to be individualized for each child or for a child that is a habitual offender. The traditional ones such as behavioral demerits may not work in your situation. However, loss of circle time or extra turns at the less desirable center chores, etc.

Anne said...


Thanks for your comment but as you will see from my latest post we took a different tack and it seemed to work. I'll keep your suggestion in mind for other problems that we face.