What eLearning needs does a Homeschooling family have, and how are they met?

Schools have a huge economy of scale and a requirement (of sorts) to have some basic IT resources. They must have:
  • Devices for staff – in New Zealand, laptops under the TELA scheme
  • Workstations for students – labs, COWs (computers on wheels, usually trolleys of netbooks), or (increasingly) BYOD. This stands for Bring Your Own Device. Students can buy their own laptop, netbook, tablet, phone or iPod and connect to the Internet using the school’s wifi.
Schools need the infrastructure to make this work:

Some of these things are of little or no benefit to a home schooling family – but there are some great (free) tools that I think would be really useful. This post will be part of a series covering one tool at a time. Please find a way that suits you to subscribe, via email, Facebook, rss, twitter etc.

eLearning Tools


A wiki is a community-based knowledge library (that is probably the worst definition of a wiki I have ever read! For a better one, try here.). The way I’ve used this as a high-school teacher is to

  • get each student to do a short research task on a given topic. They might all find out about the development of a different musical instrument.
  • the next time we meet they swap topics. They now have to research, correct and expand upon someone else’s work. This is really good critical thinking. Making value judgements, looking for errors.

This would be a great way for a bunch of likeminded home schoolers to collaborate.


Have you ever used wikispaces as a teacher? Would you like to know more? Please leave a comment and please feel free to circulate this post throughout your education community.

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