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Look out for virtual learning environments (VLEs), managed learning environments (MLEs) and the catch-all learning platforms, which is the term favoured in this issue of TES Online. Schools are expected to be implementing these within two years, but not many teachers and heads are aware of them and what they can do. And the signs are (p4) that regional broadband consortia (RBCs) and local education authorities are about to slice off government cash and implement their own favoured approaches.

Big mistake. The government is right to identify learning platforms as a crucial means by which learners and teachers collaborate and manage their resources, but implementation won't be easy - because this is an area in which teaching and learning must make the decisions with support from the technology people, and not the other way around.

The great work being done by schools with small companies like UniServity and Studywiz could be damaged by an insensitive, top-down approach For the classroom view, check out Leon Cynch's views on why top-down goes belly up in our Web Extra:

This could be the next most exciting element of ICT in education, and it needs to be focused on learners, not tech.

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