Sunday, 16 March 2008

Wk 2: March 10-16: What is flexible learning?

Is flexible learning a new concept or just a fancy new word for an old way of doing? (Remember to back your response up with references or evidence.)

Correspondence school has been around for years, it can be considered as a form of flexible learning. But now, flexible learning has blended with modern technologies. I have done a similar posting for my Gaining Foundation Skills for Learning and Teaching paper, where we discussed the advantages and disadvantages for "online learning". Put aside the technology difficulty, flexible learning gives students the freedom and choice on their own study. But it put teachers in a vulnerable position, less face-to-face contact; the teacher has no control of the progress. My opinion on flexible learning is we should combine the classroom and flexible learning together: setting up certain self discipline and getting instruction for the course during class time, but let students to do the exploration and extend their knowledge in their own way.

What are you already doing in your practice that you believe enables flexible learning?

I use E-mails, discussion board and announcements on internet to keep in constant communication with students. I am teaching mathematics, students are required to do lots of exercise to be proficient in mathematical calculation. My colleagues put together a thing called “Matherzise” on the internet for students to practice. Students enjoyed doing the exercise online more than the traditional pen and paper exercise.

For any of you feel your students need extra maths practice, here is the link for “Matherzise”:
Student ID number is any single digit (e.g. 0, 1, 2....) and password is "poly"


Carolyn said...

oh deary me! My math is not good. Thanks for this tool.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hi Michelle,

This link just came through my email, I think you might like it :)

Its good to have you in the course.. have you used an RSS newreader before? It is useful for tracking other peoples blogs.. its a bit like subscribing to friends in MySpace or FB, but with a newreader you can track any blog, not just MS or FB..

If you use a newsreader like you'll be able to keep up to speed with others in the course...

Athena said...

Hello Michelle,
I agree with your comment of FLDP can place the teacher in a vunerable postion. Being more of a people person and enjoying the interactions face to face with students, communicating over the internet (although clearer) to me is not as much fun. Also, creating a community amongst the student population can be a challenge especially in the set up phase which requires some students to take a leadership role. Your comments on this would be welcome.

Leigh Blackall said...

another handy Maths resource

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Michelle you make an excellent point about teachers losing control when their students learn flexibly. It is a two-pronged situation is it not? In one way students get more self-directed learning time and choice, yet may feel unsupported and isolated, preferring to be "lectured at" rather than learning how to learn for themselves.

Secondly teachers may be unsure of what and how students are learning (lose control), and may rely heavily on lots of "worksheets" or activities or assignments which students have to hand in, so the teacher can keep track of how well students are doing - some may count towards the final assessment but often they do not.

A fun tool such as the mathercize one, can be very useful because it is easy to use and students would quickly see how it could help them become better at maths.

Fears about formative assessments being students' own work often prevent open assessments such as formative worksheets, quizzes, multimedia etc., being counted. Hence the students may be piled up with reading and work, yet have to complete hefty assignments at the end of the course as well to obtain a grade or pass for the course.

This situation inevitably leads to overload and students only do the minimum necessary. The lecture becomes the easy option and extra exploration eg using Internet, multimedia, books etc, is avoided and interest in what they are learning suffers.

Your post has really got me going hasn't it? The crux of the matter is that we need to allow time for students to explore and also given them credit for it.

Michelle Liu said...

thanks Leigh, guess you have been searching all those useful websites for me aye?? Cheers!!

Leigh Blackall said...

Watch RSS in Plain English, that should get you started.