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What is e-learning?

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Started by Karen Spencer 05 Mar 2013 8:38am () Replies (21)

imageSuch a (seemingly) simple question.

And yet many of us are working in schools in which colleagues are raising their understanding and awareness about what appropriate integration of technologies is, and what it might look like.

In Enabling e-Learning ('what is e-learning?'), the definition is:

".... learning and teaching that is facilitated by or supported through the appropriate use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). "

Appropriate is the key word here, signalling the way we deliberately select technologies that support a curriculum focus and a pedagogical approach.

Following a recent shout-out in another group on this very topic, I thought I'd start this thread where we can share resources and ideas that we have found useful in schools as we work together to answer this question for ourselves:-)

Image source


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 30 Apr 2014 1:05pm ()

    More food for thought. Check out this image: 5 Thoughts about Technology. Thanks for the Twitter link Diana Wilkes.


  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 04 Mar 2014 11:16am ()

    Hi Tessa

    Wouldn't that be nice! I wonder if, except when just sharing stories orally, whether we've ever taught without technology? I think back at Ulearn 2010, Steve Wheeler talked about chalk and slate, pencils and paper etc being the technology of the time. Good ol' overhead projectors were the technology that most of my teachers used to present something. It might not be the technology/devices we're using now, but it's still technology. The pencil, I'm sure, was a great piece of technology. In fact it is still - most of us still use them at some point.

    I wonder how many people would've debated using pencils? Maybe they did? "It will never catch on!" "We'll only need 3 pencils in the entire world"...

    I think discussing technology is one thing, but we shouldn't need to debate it's use. If it enhances or helps with teaching and learning, then why not use it? If it distracts from it, then is it appropriate? Right tool/technology in the right context - and this could vary from person to person, place to place.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 04 Mar 2014 10:59am ()

    We've often debated removing the 'e' from e-learning and now PLD projects in New Zealand are titled, 'Learning with Digital Technologies' - for a very good reason. 

    Here's a thought Eliminate Tech from the Education Discussion

    When will we reach a point where we will discuss education, teaching and learning without having to debate technology?

    What do you think?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 06 Aug 2013 9:28pm ()

    Transforming teaching and learning through technology. Do you ever hear, “Yeah, but why technology?" or "Why e-learning?" Here are a couple of videos - to start a bit of dialogue in your staff meetings.

    Pay Attention is an older YouTube video, that is still relevant with messages like, How do we turn our classrooms into learning engines? Pay attention to our children’s intensely rich information experiences.


    From Enabling e-Learning: Dr David Parsons (Associate Professor, Massey University) talks about the implications for using, “… technology these students will be living with when they leave school and get their careers and throughout their whole futures."


    Do you have a top e-learning video you like to use? Something worth sharing in a staff meeting? We'd love to see/hear Smile

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2013 10:37am ()

    Here’s an interesting video from Enabling e-Learning: Leadership, where Dr David Parsons (Associate Professor, Massey University) talks about the term ‘e-learning’ and elaborates on defining this more like, ‘blended learning opportunities’ where e-learning tools are integrated in authentic ways.

    Great little conversation starter, if you have a spare 1min.44sec.


    Does anyone else have a handy, short video to recommend on 'defining e-learning'?

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 13 Mar 2013 12:23pm ()

    pencilsGreat thread! - a richness of resources from you all that we could use in workshops or conversations, plus some healthy debate;-)

    The issue of the pesky 'e' at the front is one I have debated many times, and I shared my thoughts on this one last year: 2 reasons to keep the 'e' in learning.

    Another central idea that I'd like to throw in here, especially if people are reading this thread with an eye on conversations to be had back at school is that the use of technologies in schools - 'e-learning' - should look really different from school to school. We are so lucky to have the opportunity here in NZ to tailor what we offer to the local context, the needs and strength of our learners and their whānau. The image I have chosen serves as a metaphor to convey this: similar tools, similar purposes (but not identifcal - pick the best one for you;-)

    I do wonder, sometimes, how often decisons are made based on trends and what is going on 'at the school down the road' - and how often decisions around technology are made based on the curriculum, a clear vision for students and a graduate profile. For example, in the design of learning experiences for classes that include Māori students, I might expect to see technologies used to enhance the culturally responsive practices described Tataiako.

    Which, I guess, comes back to the word 'appropriate'....Smile

    [Image credit: hownowdesign]

  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 12 Mar 2013 9:16pm ()

    I can't wait for the term 'e' anything to disappear. The 'e' world is a large community or entity in which we hang out, socialize, learn, trade, share, convene, exchange ideas, entertain ourselves and others - it has been and is  forming norms and expected behaviours, it has its' undesirable citizens, and strategies have been developed to help us navigate safely. It is a large society, and offers much and is almost free to join. A bit like living in the 'real' world. But we don't reference everything around 'the real world' every time we participate in something real time with real people. We just do it. When we are teaching and learning with real pencils and paper, we don't talk about it as 'real' or 'tangible' or 'actual'. So I'm all for the infusion of this 'e' entity into teaching and learning so it is as natural as all learning - just as Julia shared. It's about the choice of tools, the knowledge being constructed, and where and who it will be shared with and why. Followed with a "and what comes next...."  high order question when all is done. 

  • Julia Bevin (View all users posts) 12 Mar 2013 2:49pm ()

    I agree whole heartedly that the term e-learning will disappear as technology and online environments become 'everyday'. I am enjoying simply using the term 'learning' in my classroom to cover all their work (no such thingas school work and home work) - we are learning all the time! Hopefully moving from the lower levels of remembering and understanding to being evaluators and creators too.

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 12 Mar 2013 1:14pm ()

    That's interesting, Gail. I'm not sure I've come across that term. There are so many terms, forms or variations of the term e-learning. Thanks for sharing that - I'm going to look that up.

  • Gail Abbitt (View all users posts) 12 Mar 2013 1:10pm ()

    In a lot of the more recent research I have been reading it is now being referred to as TEL - Technology Enhanced Learning.  

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