Luton's City Learning Centre elearning@luton has been shortlisted for the Home Access Awards 2010 supported by the elearning Foundation (http://www.e-learningfoundation.com/finalists-2010). The e-Learning Foundation aims to reduce the effect of the “Digital Divide” by working with schools, parents and other stakeholders to ensure that all children have access to learning technologies when and where they need them, both at home and at school.
elearning@luton and Luton Borough Council have been shortlisted in the category of Most Innovative Project for elearningTV. The council is the only council nationally to make it to the final of this year's awards. The judging panel includes the Right Hon Jim Knight, Former Minister for Schools and Learners and Michael Shaw, Opinion Editor for the TES.
Over the past six months, elearning@luton has set up an online television channel for the centre that encapsulates the ethos of Home Access (www.elearningtv.co.uk). Working with Planet Enterprises Limited and their product, Planet Estream, ICT Manager Raj Godhaniya has custom built a facility that allows all of elearning@luton’s resources to be made available online, in both a password protected and Open Access manner. The channel streams content without the need for lengthy buffering and means that resources that were previously only available to pupils and teachers by circulation on CD-ROM and DVD are now available for anytime, anywhere access.
The content is tagged under headings such as “Esafety”, Digital Video”, Animation”, etc to allow easy searching. Viewers of the site are able to view and download resources, comment on content and give a rating out of five stars to the work that they view. It is also possible for a viewer to separate digital content into individual chapters, making it much easier to pinpoint the most relevant information in a longer film or podcast. The chapters can also be used by teachers if they want to create a lesson plan that incorporates a number of different types of media into one lesson. Using the inbuilt software, teaching staff can create lesson plans that are then available for pupils to view and interact with online. The channel works alongside school learning platforms.
elearningTV has been populated by staff at elearning@luton with a wide range of content created by Luton primary and secondary school pupils and teachers and new media is being added all the time. An extra dimension of the site has been the way Raj has designed it to interact with the centre’s television studio and “live stream” work to the internet. For the elearning@luton Summer Schools in July, it was not possible or appropriate for all parents and/ or family members to attend the screening of work that took place at the end of the schools. As a result, elearningTV was configured so that the screenings and performances were shown live on the internet.
elearningTV will also be showcased at the BETT Show 2011 as an example of outstanding practice. The winners of the Home Access Awards 2010 will be announced on 18th November in London.