I’ve read Christopher’s article Open versus Closed School Policy at english-test.net and I understand what he is trying to say and language learning via www is a useful tool, provided it can be backed up with other methods. For instance distance learning is hard to assess for both teachers and pupils.
I am learning ancient Greek through an online programme, submitting homework weekly and being assessed - okay, it is a minority subject, but I feel keenly the lack of any face to face feedback. Language learning seems to require auditory input as well as visual, for it to be easily assimilated. I lament the fact that I have no idea on ancient Greek pronounciation other than my own interpretation from written guides - there are very few language tapes available that are suitable, if any.
But, on the positive side, eGreek has allowed me to learn so much over the past eight months, at my own speed and at my convenience.
As web technology evolves it will be easier to access all forms of information, interactive as well as audio-visual. The comparison with the Gutenberg Press is an apt one.
eLearning will be a tremendous asset and from my own job I know that British exam boards are considering various online options for some higher level exams, but they will be backed up by the physical teacher/pupil interface.
In my college, it is apparent that some candidates for the Literacy and Numeracy and IT online exams, take them less seriously than they do a written exam for the same subject. Is this because a minority of young people associate computers with entertainment and games? And how do we overcome this attitude? Will it be a case of familiarisation over the years and a gradual acceptance of the method of exam taking? The next couple of years are going to prove very interesting for me as an exams administrator.