How a Virtual Learning Environment Can and Should Help Learners

Jeff Borden gave a great presentation on the rationale of why and how online learning can help students and teachers. His talk was not full of the often empty rhetoric about how “digital learners” are different from the rest of us. I’ve thought and written about this on my blog ( Jeff said the learners haven’t changed–the way they and we learn has changed. I think the sooner we include everyone in the conversation about learners the better. No one benefits from creating a divide between so-called digital and non-digital learners. Another point that Jeff made was that students like technology because they like variety. We all like variety–young and old. Online learning can help address this deep need inside of all of us.

Another important way Jeff made for the case for online learning is that the technology can meet the many needs that teachers have everyday. As teachers, we want our students to write more, to think more, to create more. Online technology tools can help us achieve these goals. By using some very straight-forward tools effectively, we can get a lot of return for our investment. What really came through in Jeff’s talk was that he wasn’t just a “tech head” going off on the cool new tools. It was very clear that he uses these tools in actual classrooms. It’s great to hear from someone who has “the goods” and can help teach and inspire others.

Lindsey Pahs|October 29th, 2009|Categories: Educational Technology, 21st Century Skills, T+L|Tags: , , , , , , |


  1. J Johnson - Math says:

    Spot on Lindsey! I was at the presentation this morning. How was it not a keynote? I heard people buzzing about it all day – it was the highlight of the conference for me! I can’t wait to get home and show my husband the eye simulation and that discover babylon game. And his passion for teaching and learning was catching – I will definitely go home and start to work on some online learning elements. I’m even thinking of contacting Pearson to see what other technology offerings they can make to our district. (I never thought I’d contact a Publisher on my own!) At the end of the day, this was the single best presentation I have heard at a conference in a long time – it made the whole trip worth it. Thank you T&L and thank you Pearson for allowing us access to Jeff’s insights and extremely creative ideas!

  2. Sarah Wil says:

    This was the most amazing presentation I’ve ever seen first hand. As this was only the 3rd conference I’ve ever been to, I was starting to wonder if they were worth it and Jeff’s presentation made me realize THEY ARE! Jeff had 75 (?) people completely engaged for an hour – nobody could move they were so riveted with the information he was sharing and the ideas he was suggesting. I’m going to try some of them as soon as I get back to my classroom! (If you can’t tell, I’m really stoked about it!)

    I also had no idea Pearson eCollege existed. I thought Blackboard and Moodle were the only game in town. I wish Jeff had shown us what that system was capable of 5 years ago when our district went to Blackboard – they are awful! I’ve already hunted around the class that Jeff gave out and it is chock full of wonderful ideas. I agree with the above poster – THANK YOU JEFF! You inspired all of us to be better teachers and use technology to do it.


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