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Aligning the Affordances of 21st Century Technology with 21st Century Pedagogy: A vision for the future of e-Learning

in Ontario Introduction Technology in general has an important role to play in the Ministry of Educations goal to reach every student. In particular, e-Learning and blended learning currently play a central role in supporting student success in Ontario, and that role will continue to grow given the Ministrys goal to make blended learning available for all Ontario students from kindergarten to grade 12. Untapped Potential The provincial learning management system has a wealth of potential; however, it still functions primarily as a content delivery tool rather than a digital learning environment where students create as well as consume rich multimedia material, which is not reflective of the web 2.0 world they participate in every day. The content in the LMS is very text-heavy, relying primarily on reading and writing which is not as inclusive as it could be, both in terms of supporting students with disabilities but also in terms of supporting a variety of learning styles. Seeing the Possibilities Goal: Align multimedia-rich content with pedagogy centered around scaffolded instruction and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. 1. Draw on the knowledge of e-Learning contacts and district e-Learning Coordinators to identify innovative teachers and bring them together to discuss challenges and best-practices in e-Learning. 2. Survey teachers to find out how to make the LMS content more engaging. 3. Establish a set of norms for content design based on the principles of multimedia learning that are easy for teachers to implement. 4. Revise the LMS content to better reflect the gradual release of responsibility, incorporation of learning goals and success criteria in student-friendly language, and instructional strategies that foster critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. 5. Begin by revising courses that have the highest attrition rates. 6. Measure how these revisions support the Ministrys goal of reaching every student, and apply what weve learned to the remaining content in the LMS, starting with the most popular courses in e-Learning and blended learning. 7. Develop training for teachers, recognizing that we cannot simply apply traditional methods of teaching and learning to the digital environment and expect our students and teachers to be successful.