Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) or Learning Management Systems (LMS) are widely used internationally at least for the 10 past years. In Greece, Universities are using VLEs the last few years. However in secondary education Moodle platform came as an innovation in official school net (www.sch.gr) only the previous year and in a limited framework.
VLEs are course-centric. So in a moodle installation the central unit is the course. Social networking is person-centric. So in facebook the central unit are the individual’s profile. Youtube is object-centric, so the central unit is the media. What about a combination of moodle and facebook? What about a person-centric VLE? Is it going to be a new learning experience or a distracting one? And how can be integrated with collaborative activities in order to create zones of proximate development?
The fact is that Greek adolescents are definitely using online social networking in a very sensitive period of their life. Very often students are surfing in social networking sites during lesson time. We have to study the phenomenon and not to close our eyes.What are the social implications of this behavior? Is it possible to use specific social networking utilities for educational purposes?
I think a good educational paradigm will be the parallel use of a traditional VLE (moodle) with Person-centric, institution-specific VLE (elgg). And I support the use of Alice software for creating collaborative and constructivist learning activities.