Taking a look behind the curtain of an effective virtual learning environment

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To date we've largely discussed how students are using virtual learning environments. Today I want us to take a look behind the curtain and discuss what needs to be in place to ensure that our use of virtual learning leads to higher student learning outcomes.

What policies do you have in place?

When implementing your virtual learning program did you have to examine any of your policies? What was needed in your privacy and cyber safety policy? What other risks (if any) have you identified? How did you communicate with the parents? What did you communicate?

What culture are you trying to develop?

Building on from the crafting of policies, was there a new culture of learning (to borrow the phrase from JSB) that needed to be developed in order for virtual learning to function as you expected? Does it feel as if your students are taking greater risks when others are able to view their work? Is a culture of openness and sharing, crucial? What else is crucial? Does the virtual space need to become the first point of call, how do you ensure that?

What role does the teacher have?

When implementing virtual learning did you expect and experience a change in your role, as the teacher? Are you doing less instruction? If so, what has it been replaced with? What about resources, are you creating them? What else are you doing? Is there a new role for teachers? If so, what is it?

Has your pedagogy changed?

And finally, does virtual learning lead to change in pedagogy? Does it lead to change in the science of teaching and learning? Do students learning differently online? Does it lead to change in the art of learning? Does virtual learning change the techniques and prompts that promote successful student learning?

As always, I'd love to hear your ideas. What happens behind the curtain at your school as your students use technology to learn?

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