The Ministry of Education’s Virtual Learning Network – or VLN – has been around for a long time. It is a suite of services that offers “advice and guidance on a whole range of things that schools, tertiaries, government agencies (and so on) may need to make these connections pedagogically, as well as with applications in this networked environment”.
So, schools who are isolated geographically, for example, or students who want to study courses not offered in the school, can hook into learning programmes online.
Recent developments, managed by CORE Education, have seen the VLN begin to migrate its services to the VLN in an Elgg environment.
Now, educators within, but also beyond the traditional VLN users, can use a social networking platform to connect, build knowledge and learn asynchronously, in groups that thy can set up e. A Facebook for e-learning practitioners, if you like. If you are an educator with a passion for e-learning, or involved in some form of ICT professional learning, this will provide a starting point for making connections.
We know that we learn best when we feel socially connected to those with whom we are working. The Elgg environment —with its focus on friends and groups—can support the development of communities of practice that are exploring the use of ICTs as part of effective teaching and learning in New Zealand. It is hoped that it can provide a central place for people to come, network and find the great practice that is going on across the country.
It’s still in development but it’s up and running already. Why not join up? And then you can join in.