Virtual Learning Environments

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Richard Olsen

Richard Olsen is the Assistant Director of ideasLAB, an education research and development incubator in Melbourne, Australia. In his role at the lab, Richard identifies new technologies and their transformative possibilities for schools and for learning.

Extend learning by exploring physical and virtual environments.

Learning shouldn’t just be contained within the four walls of your classroom. A virtual learning environment can be equally powerful in supporting the development of a range of 21st Century skills, such as collaboration, team work, decision making and planning, as well as enhancing cross disciplinary knowledge, connections and understanding.

Providing opportunities for extended learning that:

  • Exposes students to a wider range of experiences
  • Develop 21st Century skills
  • Lead to more active and meaningful learning experiences

Take advantage of the latest technology and allow your students to’ go out’ into the world form the safety of your classroom or bring the world ‘in’ to them.

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Md. Abdur Rahaman
Virtual Learning Environments FAMS International School And College, BANGLADESH. All students should not learn to code. They should emphasis on the program....
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Should all students learn to code? There has been a great deal of discussion over the last year about whether all students should learn to code. No doubt you've seen this video, which was released early last year... Inevitably we're now seeing a push back against this advice. This piece is fairly typical of argument against coding "Don't Learn to Code, Learn to Program - But Come Back in 10 Years" where the author argues that programming is hard (he's right) and messy (he's right again.) The coding landscape, particularly in ...
Kevin Pashuk
Virtual Learning Environments Calluses, Bruises and Breakthroughs... Our Experience setting up OneNote/SharePoint as our virtual learning environment. Attached is a whitepaper outlining the journey we took in implementing OneNote/SharePoint as our virtual learning environment at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario Canada I've previously shared a whitepaper on HOW we use OneNote in the class (Available ) While the on premise use of SharePoint described in the paper works well, we are currently working to create a hybrid environment with Office 365, removing the dependency on SharePoint to manage much of access and permissions we automatically ...
Alberto E Castellano G
Virtual Learning Environments Alfabetización Digital, iniciando la autoformación en línea El taller es una iniciativa para estimular el autoaprendizaje y la obtención de un certificado avalado por Microsoft luego de aprobar un cuestionario en línea, se iniciará con un tema que no requiere de conocimientos profundos previos, ideal para iniciarse en este tipo de formación tan necesaria hoy en día en todas las áreas laborales, consta de 5 temas a ser desarrollados, pudiendo profundizar luego al interactuar con contenidos en línea y afianzar los conocimientos para estar bien formado al...
manal qadora
Virtual Learning Environments Youth talk program A program which build the bridges of understanding between the east and the west , and exchange culture between American students and Jordanian students. This program held between them four times per year. Students and teachers from the two countries meet each other through Skype , and also contact through e-mails, Google+/youth talk program site. They both benefit from this program; students develop their English language, they also develop their knowledge about American people, their habits, ...
manal qadora
Virtual Learning Environments Youth talk program A program which build the bridges of understanding between the east and the west , and exchange culture between American students and Jordanian students. This program held between them four times per year. Students and teachers from the two countries meet each other through Skype , and also contact through e-mails, Google+/youth talk program site. They both benefit from this program; students develop their English language, they also develop their knowledge about American people, their habits, ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Virtual University Webcast: Promoting 21st Century Skills If you haven't signed up already, please consider coming along on January 14th. There are two sessions so hopefuly you'll be able to find one that suits you. January 14, 2014 | 7:00 AM Pacific Standard Time, 1 hour This event is available at 7:00 am PT or 5:00 pm PT. Session details are the same. Please join at the time most convenient for you. Technology and the skills needed to survive in the workforce continue to evolve at an ever increasing pace. Students today require skillsets that are ...
Alberto E Castellano G
Virtual Learning Environments Ambiente virtual de aprendizaje para facilitar la comprensión lectora de estudiantes sordos en todo el mundo El lenguaje es la adquisición progresiva de las capacidades de expresión y comprensión con el entorno, se inicia de forma oral a partir de la percepción auditiva y se imita o repite el sonido escuchado, generando el sonido con las cuerdas vocales, pero como una persona sorda no cuenta con la percepción auditiva, no es capaz de imitar algún sonido, haciendo que su lenguaje primario o materno no sea el oral sino el llamado de señas o signos, el cual se realiza sirviéndose de otros sentidos como ...
Helen Gooch
Virtual Learning Environments Bing it to me...... Searching is often problematic and frustrating when you cannot find what you are looking for within a few minutes. This is true whether you are searching for your car keys or searching for that important file, data, picture, music, or website on your computer. This is where Bing can help. It was always a good search engine, and Bing always brought back great results. The Bing launch page itself is a stunning photograph that changes daily, with links to learn more about the subject of the ...
Etay Gafni
Virtual Learning Environments 11 Year Old Build Virtual Bank – “Bankaroo” which is Helping Teachers Build Kids’ Financial Literacy Since 11-year-old Danielle Gafni started it as a family project in 2011, has been giving families a way to approach solid financial education, serving not only as a virtual bank, but also as a source of money information and tips. Educators around the globe are discovering this valuable tool and putting it to work in the classroom. Growing up in the Silicon Valley, Danielle was always fascinated by computers and their endless possibilities. She likes to go on walks with her dad, Etay, and ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments A Culture of Modern Learning In my last post we discussed the idea that . It is a cycle of innovation, taking small steps so that we are better placed to take the next innovative step. In this post I want to discuss, culture, specifically learning culture. What are your current shared beliefs (students, teachers and parents) about what makes successful learning? Every classroom and every school has a learning culture that is crucial for successful student learning to occur. For example, classrooms where self-directed ...
Ovi Barceló
Virtual Learning Environments My Surface in Primary (series 2/3) As promised, here the second post of the series. In this case, to set a Surface ready for Primary we need to think about the different areas of the curriculum in this stage. With this, we have developed this article where we recommend the most suitable apps for primary, when you are thinking about introducing a Windows 8 environment (specially with tactile devices) in your school. In this post you will find 1. iMath 2. Math for kids 3. Animals kingdom 4. Corinth Micro Plants 5. Brain ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Innovation is an Experiment In my previous four blog posts I've been exploring the question "why innovate?" So by now you should have a compelling argument for adopting virtual learning environments in your school. In the last post I explored how we , today I want to explore how we make that vision into a reality. From here.... So you've decided that you are going to use innovative practices to either , or simply to . The first step is to audit where you are now. There are a number of ways which you can do this. 1. ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Building Vision Across Your School In my previous three blog posts I've been exploring the question "why innovate?" So by now you should have a compelling argument for adopting virtual learning environments in your school. Either to , or to . As a leader or driver in your school you have a vision for transformation through virtual learning but.... How do you build vision across your school? 1. The vision must be articulable and compelling. Too often innovative uses of modern technology is introduced at a school without a clear...
Ovi Barceló
Virtual Learning Environments My Surface in Kindergarten (series 1/3) Are you thinking of introducing Surface in your classroom (or any other Windows 8 device)? In we have designed a series of articles trying to help teachers in this important step. The idea is to share which apps are more suitable for every stage in the school. This kind of guide explains which apps are chosen and which areas are included in each app. Also, the links to downloaded, keywords related and a brief description of the app is included in the analysis. And why are we doing this? ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Improving Student Learning Outcomes Why innovate? While we might have many reasons to explore innovation in our classrooms and schools, such as competitive advantage, meeting parent expectations or keeping up with neighbouring schools. The only reason we actually need is to pursue innovation to improve student learning outcomes. Learning outcomes that are not possible without modern technology In the last post in this series I challenged the view that schooling and curriculum hadn't changed in the last hundred years. In fact, ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Addressing Our Compromises by using Virtual Learning. There is a myth being circulated lately, l bet you've heard it. It goes something like this... "Schools haven't changed in one hundred years." It is a compelling statement and brings a strong emotional reaction, but the thing is that it is totally untrue. Walk into any classroom anywhere around the world and I'll bet that you won't see anything like classrooms of one hundred years ago. You'll see students working in groups, you'll see more project work, more simulations, more games, you'll see ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Build on your strengths. Why Innovate? Why introduce virtual learning to your class, school or district? One starting point can be to build on your strengths, to take a pedagogical strength and make it an even great strength. So, what are the pedagogical strengths of your learning and teaching program? Maybe your strength might be project based learning, or personalisation or peer learning? If so, think of how virtual learning can enhance that strength. Ask yourself the question, or better yet, find hard evidence ...
Ovi Barceló
Virtual Learning Environments 10 tips to integrate a VLE in your school Today we can see in every single school how good is to learn with apps, slates and a virtual piano. Learn. I believe this word is not taken seriously enough. Every book editor is offering to the schools the chance to have their material on line in their platforms, available 24/7 and with lots of extra resources, media and the chance to collaborate. Collaboration. What is the real meaning of this word in the education field? Amazing software is provided and our students can create their ...
Kelly  Walsh
Virtual Learning Environments Virtual and Physical Learning Spaces Combined in Online International Collaboration SUNY's COIL initiative is marrying the traditional classroom with virtual learning tools in a powerful collaboration. ===================================================================================================================== The College of Westchester's President Karen Smith explains how "the world is our classroom" in this recent blog post, . Thanks to the combined efforts of CW Professor and Associate Chair Janet Thompson and Dr. Patrice Torcivia of SUNY Empire State College, ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Virtual University: Understanding the Learning Strategies of the 21st Century Learner Just a quick note to let you know that I will be exploring virtual learning in next week's Partners In Learning Virtual University. I hope you can join me! ABOUT THIS VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY Our use of technology in schools to date is too often predictable and simply applied in ways that aim to improve our current practice, rather than genuinely transform it. This Virtual University looks at how we use technology from the perspective of the Modern Learner, which provides a better understanding of how...
Gerard Duffy
Virtual Learning Environments Encouraging staff to use the VLE (Fronter) What strategies can be used to encourage all stakeholders to fully use a VLE? What makes a VLE a different and unique forum to a website?...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Is your virtual learning environment an obligatory passage point? Michael Callon defined the term "obligatory passage point" to describe the essential element that enables a function to occur. For example, search engines have become the obligatory passage point for finding facts, replacing encyclopaedias and other reference books. Facebook has become the obligatory passage point for connecting with friends, replacing post cards, telephone calls and catch ups. Email has become the obligatory passage point for business communication, replacing letters and faxes...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Taking a look behind the curtain of an effective virtual learning environment To date we've largely discussed how students are using virtual learning environments. Today I want us to take a look behind the curtain and discuss what needs to be in place to ensure that our use of virtual learning leads to higher student learning outcomes. What policies do you have in place? When implementing your virtual learning program did you have to examine any of your policies? What was needed in your privacy and cyber safety policy? What other risks (if any) have you identified? How ...
Margaret Riel
Virtual Learning Environments Learning Circle Sessions Online Does group work online seem mysterious to you? Have you wondered about how you might flip a university classroom using online tools? When you move online, professors often find that their role shifts more towards providing direction and feedback to students who become more active in the learning process. The availability of learning materials-- lectures, animations, articles, tutorials, books, movies, TEDtalks and podcasts--is so rich that students could most likely find many different ways ...
Margaret Riel
Virtual Learning Environments Learning Circles- An Innovative Structure for Collaboration The is an innovative structure for group collaboration. Online Learning Circles are being used effectively in cross-classroom collaborations by many thousands of students around the world at all levels from primary to graduate school. This short video draws a contrast between two approaches to group work: committee teamwork and facilitated small group process. In committee teamwork, a task is divided among participants each doing a part of the work. In facilitated small group process, the ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Is curriculum a compromise we still need to make? In my previous post , I was called out my a commenter: "The student must have knowledge that is established by the curriculum. Everyone needs knowledge required for work, because the more prepared we are by formal education, the more likely we will find meaningful employment." (Note: translated as best I could from Spanish) It is a fair comment because I've been promoting in this blog, a use of technology that promotes self directed learning, inquiry-based learning and social learning but I ...
Jackie Baptist
Virtual Learning Environments Rethinking the MOOC by Dr. Idit Harel Caperton (Ed.M. Harvard, Ph.D. MIT Media Lab) MOOCs are at the cutting edge of new education… right? Not quite. No doubt about it, online learning is the education experiment du jour. Investors and media organizations are elbowing their way into the ed tech market, and academic entrepreneurs want to provide free education opportunities for the poor. But it seems to me that some recent online learning models, like MOOCs -- which at the outset appear exciting and promising -- overlook what we know about what constitutes effective education: ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Would you share your search history? I've been exploring (pronounced social), an "experiment in open search" created by Microsoft's . The community is for 18+ so it is not one you'll probably be able to use with your students anytime soon but I want to discuss it because the way it uses search is very interesting. So.cl posts are created from edited search results. You type in a search term, in the screen shot below you can see I've searched for "social search", which produces results as web results, videos, images or news. The ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Reimagining feedback and intervention When do your students receive feedback and intervention? If they're like most students in a traditional classroom, there are probably three possible opportunities: When the student submits their work for assessment on completion of the task or project. When the student realises they need help and directly asks for it. When the teacher recognises that the student needs help and intervenes. Modern technology offers new opportunities for feedback and intervention. Publishing is no longer the end...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments What is happening in your virtual learning environment? In 2009 we worked on a professional learning program for 100 teachers in Victoria, Australia who were part of a student netbook trial. As part of that program Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach of created a private online community in which the teachers could share ideas and discuss issues around the project. Over the course of the year more than 3500 posts and comments were made in the community. At the end of the project we wanted to know: What were the teachers discussing? And, what role did the ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Why is Microsoft Word better than paper? In my previous post, , I discussed how the data that Microsoft Word automatically generates can be used by students to make better decisions about their own learning. Today I want to keep that theme going at look at some other reasons why having students use Microsoft Word is much better than having them use paper. Microsoft Word can combine documents. Modern technology has seen a move to a remix culture. Very rarely to when writing in real life do we start with a blank document. Rather, when ...
Kevin Pashuk
Virtual Learning Environments Peering Inside the Black Box of Classroom Learning Synopsis: It is often very difficult to see what students are doing when they work; you have to stand over them, crouch down, lean your shoulder in. Your mere presence changes the students’ behaviours – they freeze under observation, their thought processes get interrupted and many can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable with your close presence and observation. To differentiate instruction and to ensure that students are progressing with their learning, we need to be able to see their ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments New year's resolutions for modern learners Happy new year. My hope is that 2013 is a great year for everyone. Maybe you have made some new year's resolutions this year? Unsurprisingly the was to "lose weight." Over the last year I've been fascinated about how modern learners are using technology to tackle goals such as losing weight and in particular I've been exploring learning communities such as the . The Quantified Self movement use a variety of gadgets and smart phone applications to track their exercise routines, their calorie ...
Andy Li
Virtual Learning Environments Virtual Learning Environment Give students equal chance We are Salesian School in Hong Kong. We use Cloud Computing Technology to build up a seamless learning environment for students. Aim: Ensure all students have same resources and environment for learning. Breaking the digital Gap Linked the school and home to become "one" environment for students and teachers. They can teach and learn no matter they are at school or at home. Help students to develop 21st century skills. How to do this? We build Virtual PC in our school server. The ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments What Virtual Learning Environment do you use at your school? In the deep dive sessions at the Global Forum in Prague, a number of schools expressed interest in hearing about what technologies other schools are using. If you have used a Virtual Learning Environment in your school please use the comments to briefly describe your experience. Thanks. ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments What does limitless capacity make possible? Shortly after I started teaching a colleague from a nearby classroom left the school on maternity leave. She generously gave to me twenty large boxes that she had amassed over time, full of teaching resources, including play scripts, fiction and non-fiction texts, and much, much more. Unfortunately, the resources turned out to be not useful at all, as there was no way of knowing what was in those boxes. It would take much longer for me to go through the boxes, than it would to create or source ...
Richard Olsen
Virtual Learning Environments Understanding modern virtual learning environments In this first post, I want to introduce a three step methodology for understanding modern Virtual Learning Environments. Step 1: Identify the new possibilities of the virtual learning technology Modern technologies are more than a substitute for previous practice. They offer new possibilities beyond the practice they are replacing. Unfortunately, these new possibilities are not always easy to recognise. To assist us in identifying them, it is useful to ask three broad questions: Does the ...