It’s common to see Students and Teachers on the Learning Environment but the VLE have far reaching audiences. Not only does it benefit the teachers and the learners, our schools have put it to work to serve the entire population in the school. In our previous article, we focused on how the Management and Teaching Staff Realise the Benefits of a VLE, for this article we will focus on other user groups. Read on to find out more.
School Governors and Senior Leadership Team
School Governors and Senior Management Team are usually the last group of users you would expect to use the VLE. Don’t get me wrong, we need their leadership and direction to champion the use of any chosen Learning Platform but they would normally ‘lead from the front’, not usually by example.
Who would expect School Governors and SLT to log on to the VLE and work collaboratively on school policy documents, setting framework for standards, raising agendas for next meeting, voting and collecting feedback, hold important discussions on strategic decisions and just recently, more relevant than ever, plan the school’s budget. We are seeing this happening across our schools which just goes to show the versatility of a VLE and how it can be stretched and tested by every group of users in your education institution.
Being School Governors often mean having more than one commitment; commitment to work, to family and now to their local school. A well designed, secure and purpose built space on the VLE for Governors allows them the flexibility to work together at a time and place that suits them. Governors are able to share notes, look at best practices, bring up issues and solutions and contribute to the school effectively and efficiently.
Parents accessing Teaching and Learning Materials
The main users of any VLE would undoubtedly be the Students and Teachers but for our schools, why stop there. Parents have a very important role to play too on a VLE, which is why we recommend allowing Parental access to NOT ONLY the Parent Portal for Parental Online Reporting but for them to be able to access the teaching and learning materials that their child have access to. Having information on their child’s grades, attendance and behaviour may not be enough. Access to their homework and the resources to help them is definitely more constructive.
How one choses to use their learning environment ultimately depends on how creative they are in adapting existing process and moving this to it’s virtual counterpart. The VLE is as much a teaching and learning tool as it is one that has the potential to help the administrator and support staff carry out their work more effectively.
Daily reports are posted for others to see; these include important announcements, absences, school event, duties time table, highlighting achievements, taking care of students needs, you name it. Our schools have brought the relationship between their teaching and non-teaching staff that much closer with the help of the VLE.
A great deal of emphasis was placed on supporting students in their studies and what better place to do this than the VLE. Our schools’ Support and Guidance Team, Tutors, House Team Leaders, Year Heads, Counsellors and Chaplain are not left out of the VLE. They have just as much a role on the VLE as the Teachers and are able to apply the VLE to better reach out to their students, to break the ice, create an atmosphere conducive for learning and to provide students with the right level of support they need. One of the avid VLE users in our schools is the Chaplain.
The Wider Community
Working closely with all our schools, we have always targeted different user groups and in the process allow the entire schools’ population to benefit from their investment in their Bespoke Learning Platform. But what about the wider community, think what you can use the VLE in context for community outreach programmes, local businesses and community learning.
Our schools run local community newsletter with students and staff working together to contributing, interviewing, reporting and editing to meet publishing deadlines using what they already know best, the VLE. We have seen this with many other schools, opening part of their VLE to the public and sharing with them the school’s news, events, activities and achievements.
So here it is a look at how the different users can benefit from the advantages that a VLE has to offer:
Governors and Senior Leadership Team
- Working on school policy document
- Setting framework for raising standards in school
- Organise meeting agenda
- Communicate and carry on further discussions before or after meeting
- Vote on issues that affect the school
- Collect feedback from members
- Plan the school’s budget and funding programme
- Beyond accessing the Parental Online Reporting or Parent Portal for children’s grades, attendance and behaviour
- Access resources and course content to assist their children with their studies
- Better placed to help their children with their studies
- Daily reports and announcements
- Conveying messages left by parents
- Reporting last minute absences
- Updating duties timetable
- Taking care of students needs
- Reach out to the students better
- Break the ice, share their profile
- Provide students with the right level of support they need
- Publicity for the school, local businesses, charity, non-profits and community support groups
- As a community outreach tool
- Encouraging student involvement in the community
- Reporting and sharing school news, events, activities and achievements
- Web 2.0 Technologies can help enhance the learning experience
- Management and Teaching Staff Realising the Benefits of VLE
- Extending the Benefits of VLE beyond Teaching and Learning
Author: Samuel J Tan
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