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Guy Cowley

Introduction to my interest in Open Learning

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Edited by Guy Cowley, Monday, 11 Mar 2013, 16:30

I am not a trained teacher and my professional background is in business rather than in education, except as a Bursar for a large UK special school for deaf children.  I have an interest in ICT and have had some practical involvement in ICT in various jobs and personal contexts.

I am involved in two charities - as a Trustee in TAS (Trusts for African Schools) supporting small primary and secondary schools for hearing children in rural Kenya and as a volunteer for Tanzanear supporting a large (250 kids) boarding primary school for deaf children in Tanzania.  I spent much of 2011 putting IT/internet resources and staff training into the school in Tanzania. Current status is that there are Windows XP/7 computers in the secondary schools in Kenya (specifically intended to access ODE) and some IT support and Windows XP/7 computers in the primary school in Tanzania but few mature skills.  Both have internet access via wireless networks but with variable bandwidth.

My vision (a grand title for some loosely formed ideas!) is the following:

· The pedagogy is very traditional and the curricula fixed. Hence there is little likelihood of formal use of ODE in teaching, whether blended or standalone

· The pupils have little self-direction but tremendous enthusiasm to learn and curiosity for anything to do with IT

· Much of their formal "learning" is mindless repetition of chalk and talk teaching with little real understanding. We had some success by underpinning this using interactive games and contextual use of what they had learnt in class

· The target is to find interactive online learning applications for the pupils which are easy/fun to use but have useful/assessable output. We would feed back remotely with support and with rewards/reinforcement for success (or even just involvement).

· For teachers, we would guide them to resources which will help them make their teaching a bit more fun and involving.  Also provide a stream of reading and interaction which would build their English skills

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Welcome aboard Guy, your blog is syndicating through to us. Hope you enjoy the course.