SharePoint as on Online Learning tool for teens

February 19, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Learning, SharePoint, Twynham School 

Yesterday I spoke about our first venture into designing an online learning environment for our students (see here). Having spoken to our students at length we decided creating a feature rich web 2.0 environment was beyond us as a first project. More importantly our students were not demanding this- so what did they want? A second round of student voice interviews identified some key themes. Students often disliked school based sites with each subject laid out differently, making it difficult to navigate. They wanted a functional site with everything laid out in the same place on each subject site. For our students revision was something they wanted to be productive and useful and the online learning site needed to reflect this. Below is long scroll of one of our sites- The History GCSE Revision site.

We originally set out with only 7 areas on each of the sites which were decided by our students. These were:

  1. Student Notices
  2. Key websites (links- students insisted we restrict to 5 only)
  3. Syllabus Guide (use their languaue- What you need to revise)
  4. Exam Technique Guide (all the students own ideas- student friendly language)
  5. Revision Resources
  6. Video and Audio links
  7. Past Papers and Model Answers

note- over time we reduced the restriction on staff so the site above has evolved with additional areas but the initial restrictions were essential to success.

The key to all of this development was not the technology- it was talking to the students about design (and by design I mean structure and organisation!). When we showed students the result above they were delighted and in their own terms saw it as ‘a one stop shop to support their revision’. I sometimes talk about this development and find teachers who say ‘your students are well behaved and want to learn’ and this is then followed up by ‘it wouldnt engage our students- they want games!’. Last summer we started supporting a school in very challenging circumstances and as a quick start measure we gave them our Revision Gateway. What was interesting was their students use of the Revision Gateway was actually higher than ours! The key to engaging learners is not always how much interactive technology we provide it is far more important to think about the pedagogy contained within the resources and listening to students so that we understand their needs.

Comments

2 Responses to “SharePoint as on Online Learning tool for teens”
  1. Gene says:

    i should think that simpler to use web based collaboration products would be more suitable for students. they are a lot easier to use than SharePoint, and a lot more fun (that is of utmost importance to the net savvy student generation)

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  1. [...] this week I have been talking about how to set up SharePoint sites for high user adoption with students. We started our sites without web 2.0 features which was partly due to some [...]



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