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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, 2013 and the state of VLEs in some schools in Technical; We use Fronter here. Staff grumbled about it a lot at the start (two years ago), but SMT essentially forced ...
  1. #16

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    We use Fronter here. Staff grumbled about it a lot at the start (two years ago), but SMT essentially forced their hand and I have to say it does not get very heavy usage now.

  2. #17
    rdk
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    We use Google Apps as the VLE. First we got a Apps for Education registration, made sure every kid had a logon (initially made logon essentially same user name and password as existing system) then one or two teachers started using sites/drive etc. After a while other teachers saw the advantages, and the kids started expecting resources to be available on the subject/faculty sites. The big advantage is its free, and can run in parallel with any existing system. I would recommend thinking through exactly how it would be used were everyone to buy in and make sure that teachers start using it that way from the start - ie which account owns documents (teachers or faculty accounts etc), naming conventions for sites, role of faculty co-ordinator vs individuals and so on. Then, any questions from teachers about "how to" do things online recommend them the google solution. Sites has a bit of a learning curve, so make sure you know the ins and outs first.

    After the first few subject sites were made we made faculty sites with links to the individual sites. Then we mapped them so http://english.ourschool.vic.edu.au (for example) goes to the English site (just a page) which has links to the individual year level sites. After that we put the links to these on our website here: Subject Websites | Killester College (most will require logon, but Science for instance is open to look at). Science faculty has one site with all the year levels combined, which is different to English. But kids know that mapped science/mathematics/humanities addresses will take them where they need to go.

    This was not forced on anyone, but simply modelled then suggested and supported when staff wanted to work online. So much so that after two years we're confident in telling staff that our old solution will be closing in six months and everyone expected to be on google apps, and we'll not have any backlash as staff can see how well it works.

  3. #18

    witch's Avatar
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    We have moodle which is extensively used by the IT staff and the children, and by a few teachers - not nearly enough.
    The head doesnt like it, and when looking for a respository for staff weekly planning he was told it could be done easily on moodle, accessible from outside the school etc - password protected if necessary - really safe etc etc and so he went for dropbox...
    I was talking to the head of the high school at the top of our pyramid last night and he has implemented Sharepoint there - he freely admits it is because he comes from a sharepoint school - and we were discussing the value of one site for the whole pyramid - with each school having their own website "front-end" and then other things being available to all.
    That's the point really - he is very IT literate and wants to use it more and more - he is pushing his staff to do so and it WILL be used.

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    As others have said, really need backing from management. They will need to push it just as much as you (if not more) at the end of the day this is about allowing the students to pretty much learn/do work anywhere. This is for students during the half terms, at the end of the day, school shutdown days and sick days.

    I am still surprised that some schools still don't have VLEs (or what ever fancy term you want to use because some don't like the term). Most of the kids have access to Wifi through a device so to me it makes sense having access to as much as possible at home. We here have moodle but just not long purchased RealSmart which integrates with all the Google Apps, Gmail, Drive etc. At the moment staff/students have been using it just to see what they can do and it seems positive so far (minus the realsmart rep whom a lot of staff didn't like).

    It is a lot of work but the benefits out weigh that by far, this is about educating the kids after all. If all content was online and available anywhere then the kids don't have to worry about going to the library for books (which seems to be fazing out in many towns). The idea is you have all the required work and research materials all in one location and if you can make it look attractive and linked directly to their homework/learning progress then even better. I know some schools are still using basic file storages for their homework which to me is very outdated.

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    Only jumping in because I have had to do something with Moodle recently. Don't go with Moodle unless you have a dedicated Moodle lord!

    It just feels like intranet software from 1999 and just doesn't stand up against other modern web services available.

    If you have a budget then you have to look at the Sharepoints, Fireflys and Frogs to get something that will engage students and staff. Shiney shiney! horrible to admit it but its the truth. (yes you can skin Moodle but thats like painting a Austin Meastro Ferrari Red, its still a Meastro!)

  6. #21
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    Got Frog coming in 25th Nov to demo the product I saw it back in 2009 but nearly fainted when we saw the price. Apparently the pricing structure has been reviewed so its less of a shock (I doubt this as I fear the setup cost is going to cause a minor heart attack)

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