It seems like only yesterday that there was a big buzz around schools. Every school was going to have one, the government insisted. This was the future of education, you could have a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), an MLE (Managed Learning Environment), or even a Learning Platform. The distinction has blurred over time and we now seem to be all buzzed out. There has been no revolution, no seismic shift of an educational paradigm and I, along with every optimistic educator, feel let down. I really wanted my virtual school to grow as big as the real school and I spent years developing it, trying to convince every teacher that the answer to everything, was not 42, but a beautiful, all encompassing MLE.
Looking back I was definitely optimistic, but should that have been frowned upon? I passionately believed in my MLE and struggled to understand why very few teachers seemed to share my passion.
It wasn't yesterday, it was 10 years ago and now my passion has waned. VLEs MLEs, learning platforms, whatever you want to call them, never actually died, they just need to find their time and place. One day, probably not tomorrow, the virtual school will come into its own. I hope I'm around to see it.
Russell Bryant, has taught Science, ICT and Computer Science both in the UK and in South America for over 20 years. This includes teaching GCSEs, A Levels, IB and IGCSEs. He has also worked as an online learning consultant in London, helping schools to develop an online learning strategy.