Tuesday, July 5, 2011
WEEK 9: Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
According to wikipedia (2009) A learning environment "is a public or private destination on the Internet that addresses the learning needs of its members by facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Through social networking and computer-mediated communication, people work as a community to achieve a shared learning objective." That is to say, VLE is a designed information space that can be used for many different purposes, for example, educational web sites where students can be users and also administrators. The good thing about this is that students can co-construct their own educational space. They can have classroom activities, they can stimulate face to face classes with extra activities, and above all, they go beyond normal classes. A 3.0 platform that can wok as a VLE would be second life. Students’ attitude and achievement will change rapidly learning in these kinds of 3-d platforms. There are different VLE platforms. For example:
Alado Virtual Room
This virtual room offers different options. For example, you have chats where you can have discussions in groups. There are some rules at the moment of writing for these kinds of chat rooms. For example, you can write in capital letter because that means you are yelling. If you have a question, you have to write a question mark (?). If you want to speak using the microphone, you have to write mic. If you are writing and you haven’t finished, you have to write dots (…). You can also have forums; you can upload documents, videos and pictures. The best thing about these virtual rooms is that you can interact with your students in many ways. You can improve the four skills in that way.
This is another virtual classroom. You can have different rooms opened at the same time. It is very easy to use this room and the best thing is that you have many tools where you can create an interactive class. One of the problems of Illuminate is that you should not have more than six cams on. If you do, the platform gets really slowly. But you can use more cams that other virtual rooms.
As Illuminate, you can have different courses opened using this platform. Moodle is another educational site. It stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It has been pedagogically designed for social on-line classes. It is completely free; you can be inside a learning community; you can share experience and learn about e-learning, teaching style, among many other things.
It is also a based educational platform created by teachers. It is very friendly and easy to use. I have used wiziq many times as a student and just once as a presenter. I made a presentation about mixed ability classes to my classmates and my teacher in the first semester on my master. The experience was really good because it was the first time I made a presentation on a virtual room.
My Personal Experience in my Wiziq Class
I had to make a 30 minutes presentation about my final project for the course Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) taken at The Universidad Pedagogica Experimental Libertador. The main topic of my project was to improve reading and writing skills for the students of Administration English III at The Maritime University of the Caribbean.
The experience on wiziq was excellent. I felt really good making my presentation in that virtual room. I have done it before and it was really good to do it again. I tried to make my online class as productive and interactive as possible, that is why, I interacted with the audience using the chat room and the microphone.
I thought I was going to be asked questions, but the audience just congratulated me at the end of my class. Wiziq is a really amazing web 2.0 platform in order to teach distance classes. You can really interact with the audience and you can improve the four skills in this virtual room. I hope I can continue teaching classes on wiziq and I also hope I can teach others to use it.