Technology is changing the way we learn. The typical classroom of today looks very different than it did 10 years ago. Students have greater access to information, and, when taught properly how to use this access, this is a great advantage.
eLearning is learning that can take place on any kind of computing device including laptops, tablets, smartphones, iPods and more. The Internet provides students with endless opportunities to expand their learning, collaborate, share and cultivate passions that are not available to students in a traditional classroom.
Classrooms in Ontario are not moving to a 100% eLearning model, rather to a blended learning model where teachers integrate learning management systems (LMS), such as Desire2Learn and Google Apps for Education, into their lessons.
Blended Learning has the potential to take students beyond the walls of the school. It connects students to information, knowledge, experts and curriculum never before possible.
Desire2Learn is the LMS that is used and promoted by the Ministry of Education for Ontario elementary and secondary schools. It is a safe and customizable system that is growing in popularity in Ontario schools. As educators, our job is to allow students to not just reach for, but to exceed their potential, and Desire2Learn can help with this.
For each grade, there are course shells already created for educators and students. These shells can be customized according to the needs of the teacher, students and learning environment. Curriculum-related materials from the Ontario Education Resource Bank can be freely added. (The Ontario Education Resource Bank is a valuable site for students and educators. It has useful links, games and tools linked directly with Ontario curriculum! You do need a username and password to get in, but you can get this from your school administrator and/or teacher-librarian to access the site at home.)
Some of the other benefits of Desire2Learn include:
- Parents can see their child’s finished work by having their child login to their account and show off their work.
- Teachers can gain instant data and diagnostic assessment material to inform the next lesson or next step in the learning process.
- Students don’t lose their work.
- Digital, audio and visual literacy is supported by the tools that can be embedded into the LMS, including YouTube and Google Apps for Education.
- It can be linked with Google Docs for real-time collaboration and communication.
- Students have access to practice with the online tools at home.
Some of the Barriers of Desire2Learn include:
- Many of the tools require a laptop because handheld devices do not always support Flash.
- Not all students and families have Wi-Fi at home.
- Not all families have access to devices or laptops, or there aren’t enough devices for all members of the family.
At school, using Desire2Learn, along with Google Apps for Education, is our blended learning future! When we use this technology in our classrooms, we are promoting new kinds of learning that are essential in the 21st century. It is very exciting, and the opportunities Blended Learning provides for students and teachers will take us all to new levels of learning.