Tomorrow the report from the Education and Science Select Committee, who are looking at Education (Update) Amendment Bill, is due. There are a raft of changes proposed in this bill, though the part that is most of interest to me is Part 3A - Communities of Online Learning.With my work at the VLN Primary School, I have been asking for something like CoOLs for a very long time. Here are our VLN Primary Submissions over recent years, they all ask for better resourcing, support and for inclusion of online learning within the mainstream schooling sector:
- Inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy - Submission to the 21st Century Committee (2012)
- VLN Primary School - Proposal to Nikki Kaye (2013)
- Consultation on the NZ Education Act (2015)
- Submission to Education and Science Select Committee (2016)
I have to support the notion of CoOLs this is what I have been working for most of my professional life towards. So why would I be concerned that CoOLs is going to come back and bite us on the bum!
Because it's not just about the VLN and its not just about CoOLs alone, its about being part of a whole system change, with some contentious neoliberal agendas in the mix.
The VLN Primary School has always been about providing equity and access to our learners where ever they are through online learning; the flip-side some see commercial providers using online learning as a tool to provide cheap online education to the masses.
The VLN Primary School has always been about collaboration across schools and building collective capacity, networks and relationships where all are contributing to the education and well being of our learners; the flip-side the imposition of networks across schools with a focus on standards based learning and accountability of achievement, this may change the unique character or rural education in NZ.
If you want to know more about what has been happening with Virtual Learning in New Zealand, and have some myths about online learning busted, then watch my EdTalks video, screened at ULearn16.
If you want to read some of the submissions about CoOLs made to the Science & Select Committee you can see them all in their entirety, or you can read notes from some key submissions that I have collated here. This will give you an idea of many of the concerns that are being put forward about CoOLs, some of which I agree with.