After a few years of building online courses with rich learning resources, my school now sees significant student use outside the traditional school hours.
Graph 1 (click for full size) – This graph shows the percentage of the Year 7 to 12 population that accessed the online learning environment. The graph showing the school day is an average figure derived from two weeks of data. The Sunday and outside school hours data is derived from recent individual days.
Anytime, anywhere teaching
However, this now produces other pressures. Learning outside of traditional school hours does not remove the need for teachers. If all that students needed in order to learn was information, schools would have closed once Google and high-speed broadband arrived on the scene. Students continue to need support, a human explanation, encouragement to work through a problem, and insight to take them through a mental barrier to get to the next stage of problem solving.
Yet if significant learning is happening outside traditional school hours, who is available to support it? Do we expect our teachers to be online and available at all hours of the day or night? Or do we expect our students to continue independently, even when they encounter difficulties? The ad hoc network of peers that some students have may not be able to provide the rapid, deep, expert insights that are needed.
Graph 2 (click for full size) – Student logons to the OLE after school. (Classes finish at 3.15pm). This is a snapshot of the number of students logging in to the system at a particular time. It is not the total number of students using the OLE at that time.