A fellow South Aussie teacher, Plunkers, whose path I have crossed twice in my teaching career is blazing his way into educational blogging and has been extremely active of late. I first became aware that he was blogging (not that I was surprised) via Bill Kerr, and I think via Bill, he found out about my foray as well. Well, he tried to post a comment to my recent post Flattening The Pyramid Of Influence but the edublogs plumber must have been in because he ended up e-mailing to me instead. So, I'll post it here and add a few comments.
An interesting read.
Yes I have a similar view on the expenditure on the learning objects.
Last year Penola High School joined the e-learning trial so that we could have access to the objects... all this expenditure and schools can not even access these resources yet.
I think the idea of a learning object (whatever that might be) is a good idea. Rather than spending this money to get people who probably do not even teach to design these objects we should be getting teachers to design their own and share them centrally. This would be a much cheaper solution that hopefully would meet our needs better.
Last year I began a project in which I had my year 11 students produce learning objects for the local primary school. The students went to the school and surveyed the students to gain useful information. They survey the teacher to see what she would be teaching (or have just finished) in four weeks time and the produced learning objects to suit the class.
I have a long way to go; I couldn't convince the students to leave the relative safety of quizzes. I did find their work most rewarding however and having an audience meant the quality of the final work was exceptional.
I believe these learning objects have a place I simply think that the best introduction of these would include the sharing of resources produced by fellow teachers. Teachers should be encouraged to produce more objects and a flow on effect of using these in the classroom I believe would follow.
Thanks also to Artichoke who posted a thought provoking comment using ammo from my own department's Learning To Learn program. Now, after reading Leigh's latest post about an educator who was fired for her blog, I'm feeling cautious and will offer these meek observations. Any re-usable digital content is potentially valuable to someone and there are plenty of ways to make it available. For example, I blogged earlier about the RWLO website where I or any registered educator can host up to 100 MB of files. I can make any or all of it public so others can access my resources. If someone went to my public page, they could open my Problem Based Learning folder on the left, then click on Natural Disasters and access one of two files (a simple problem and a unit plan). Now I don't have much there yet and maybe they don't fit the true definiton of a Learning Object but they are real, used and tested in the classroom, and potentially reuseable or customisable for another teacher. I'm more likely to want to use that system to download what another teacher has created than try to access a federated repository. Maybe what we really need are more localised versions of the RWLO idea - to me, it has potential. The final key bit of info came via an e-mail from Geoff Andrews who was the speaker that day when Steve Dembo blogged the link. He noted in his e-mail that the source code for the RWLO site is open source and that potentially anyone could grab it (not me, not tech savvy enough by a long way!) and create a new localised version with their own server. He offered to have a Skype chat later in the month and I would be keen to do that. Not sure why I'd be worth talking to apart from maybe I am the lone Aussie using the service. Anyway, I don't think it is an accident that RWLO stands for Real World Learning Objects (my emphasis added). I'm still to be convinced that the Learning Federation experience will be good value for money spent. However, perhaps someone could explain where I am misinformed. I just worry that at the rate of change in the online world, that this initiative may have had its day before it even gets off the ground.