e-learning is clearly identified as a powerful means of supporting effective pedagogy in and beyond the classroom. As the NZC states:
Information and communication technology (ICT) has a major impact on the world in which young people live. Similarly, e-learning (that is, learning supported by or facilitated by ICT) has considerable potential to support teaching.
For instance, e-learning may:
- assist the making of connections by enabling students to enter and explore new learning environments, overcoming barriers of distance and time
- facilitate shared learning by enabling students to join or create communities of learners that extend well beyond the classroom
- assist in the creation of supportive learning environments by offering resources that take account of individual, cultural, or developmental differences
- enhance opportunities to learn by offering students virtual experiences and tools that save them time, allowing them to take their learning further.
Schools should explore not only how ICT can supplement traditional ways of teaching but also how it can open up new and different ways of learning.
We live in an ever-changing world where the majority of students now use devices outside of school to communicate and learn on a daily basis. I would like to see devices being used more prominently within schools to further enhance teaching and learning.
My vision for schools is that they begin to innovatively blend the use of technology into current programmes, as well as adapting current practice to include the use of devices. By doing this, we will develop connected, life-long learners, who are actively involved in the global community.
Many educators would argue that the term e-learning is twee or outdated, as it should be about learning full stop. Some educators prefer the term ‘blended learning’ to ‘e-learning’.
Hopefully the term blended learning allays the fear that schools are trying to replace pen and paper, traditional modes and methods of teaching, and instead suggests that we simply want to ‘blend’ the pen and paper with electronic modes and methods.
While blended learning is the ultimate goal for teaching and learning in schools, we are clearly in a period of transition and it is timely and important that the “e” is highlighted to remind us that we are wanting to see a greater and more effective use of electronic devices in classrooms.
Given this reason, it is appropriate, that both terms are used with the ultimate goal of having a blended approach to teaching and learning embedded in every teacher’s daily practice.