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Virtual Learning Environments: Could Do Better by Terry Freedman

England’s Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has just brought out its evaluation of virtual learning environments (VLEs) or, to be more precise, their use within schools and colleges. Here is a summary of the summary, at least the way I read it.
I'd recommend reading the report for yourself -- it's only 28 pages -- but here is what it says in a nutshell:
• For the most part, they're not being used in a way that makes the most of their potential....
• .... where they are being used at all, of course.
• A big factor in their success is the enthusiasm of the subject teacher...
• ... and the senior leadership team.
• It takes resources to develop the VLE and its use.
As someone commented to me at the BETT show last week, you could take the term "VLE" and replace it with any other technology -- interactive whiteboard, computer, pda, Web 2.0, anything you like -- and the report would read pretty much the same.
It seems to me that this will always be the case. So what needs to be built in to any new initiative are mechanisms for enabling the enthusiasts to (a) develop what they're doing in very practical ways (like exempting them from cover arrangements on condition that they use that time to do what they need to do with regard to the technology in question) and (b) capturing what they're doing in the form of case studies that others can learn from and be enthused by.