Calling all school teachers – and other supporters of young learners

I wonder if I could enlist the help of members of the Hub community?  Or one sub-section of that community.

As selector for the MSc Programme – the academic member of the team most involved with fielding queries about the Programme, and making decisions about admissions – I often hear from potential applicants from the schools sector, who ask about the HE / FE / adult education / training focus of the Programme.  They will ask whether we have participants from schools, and from sectors more particularly concerned with younger learners?  And they will then ask whether those people find the Programme of value for their purposes.  I can answer the first question – in the affirmative, of course – but the second question is a little more difficult.  I hope that the answer is “yes”, but I feel that the most useful answer would have to come from those participants themselves.

So, I wonder if I could encourage those of you more concerned with younger learners to start a conversation – in the Hub – about the strengths and weaknesses of the Programme, and its various components, from your perspectives?  I would then be in a position to point any potential applicants, with that question in mind, to an authentic source of opinion.

Could I encourage you to start a discussion forum on this issue?  I would be most grateful.  Over to you.

Author: Hamish Macleod

Senior Lecturer in the School of Education of the University of Edinburgh. C-Director of the MSc Programme in eLearning.

5 thoughts on “Calling all school teachers – and other supporters of young learners”

  1. wasn’t sure whether to start ‘conversing’ here, or to start a forum…
    …I have to say that I have found the course, thus far, extremely useful. My experiences come from IDEL and a small chunk of EDC. The visions, the discussions and the readings providing implications for future learning using technology have been fabulous and have certainly shaped my teaching practice.

    I can provide a more ‘detailed’ response if needed Hamish, but suffice to say MSCEL has been great! 🙂

  2. I’m very pleased to take the opportunity. I am qualified to teach kindergarten through to the end of high school (17~18). I do teach junior high (13yrs old) and up. I have taught small children, briefly, and I actually teach years 1~3 of university, ‘unqualified’ from a certification point of view, but that’s in the process of changing as I work on the MSc. I also teach adults, both privately and in groups. It’s been fantastic, in that I have gained a real breadth of experience. I chose the E-Learning masters because I’ve wanted to help my students using technology, but I had no idea where to begin. Most EFL teachers get a masters in applied linguistics or TESOL, which as such, are a) a dime a dozen, and b) so boring I think I’d rip my eyes out. This course looked exciting. It is, and many of my colleagues are really interested in this field as it becomes more important in their teaching. I’ve heard ‘I wish I’d done THAT degree instead.’ a few times now.
    Having said that, although I’ve just begun, I do wish the readings, particularly in IDEL, covered a wider spectrum of education levels. Issues like behaviour, identity, and embodiment in technology are still relevant for a younger set, but the manifestation of these issues would naturally be just as different as they would be for any non-technological issues. I think it’s important to look at the issues through a broader filter because young students quickly become older students, so it’s helpful to know where they’ve come from when we talk about teaching adult learners in any case.
    On the other hand, the it could very well be that there haven’t yet been a great deal of studies written about these e-learning issues in younger learners, as the market has been successful in that area, and it has been less successful in higher learning, though the revenue there could be huge. Economically perhaps there’s not been as much motivation to study younger learners and e-learning, though I’d hope that ethics and curiousity would have provided some motivation.
    As to whether this program is ‘worth taking’ for teachers of younger learners, I’d still say yes, it is, in that all learning is ‘worth it’, and you are exposed to a whole new world of ideas. As with any learning, it is what you make it. While the readings so far mostly focus on higher levels of education, I can use the grey fluff in my head to make what I’ve learned more relevant to my teaching. Finally, if teachers avoid the course because they think it’s only about higher learning, then it only ever will be about higher learning; the more teachers of younger learners there are that get involved, the more the focus will be able to spread as they complete their own studies and contribute to the pool of information on the topic of e-learning.

    I’d enjoy hearing from others, because I’m sure I’m not the only one out here teaching kids, but I don’t know who else is.

  3. I teach English to undergrads at the moment, but prior to this I taught young learners (aged 5-16) and feel I would have gained equal benefit and enjoyment from the MSc at that time. As I’m still new to the program (IDEL) I can’t comment too much on course content at this point, but I will say that the readings I’ve encountered so far, although largely focused on HE, can be taken as a starting point for further study and discussion. I agree that younger learners have unique needs, but there is definitely some overlap with HE in terms of teaching philosophy and methodologies. As it stands, the professional interests of the group members vary widely but we have been given the opportunity to focus on or draw attention to issues specific to our own fields, which I feel is the beauty of the program. If, for example, I want to relate what I’ve learned to CALL in higher education, or indeed for young learners, I believe that the course will enable me to address these concerns.

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