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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, 2013 and the state of VLEs in some schools in Technical; I'm a NM in a KS3 Special school and also have a daughter who is a student in an otherwise ...
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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    2013 and the state of VLEs in some schools

    I'm a NM in a KS3 Special school and also have a daughter who is a student in an otherwise pretty good KS3 / 4 school in another town. Neither school currently has a VLE and having read about the advantages here I'm wondering how to set about establishing one in the school I work in and enquiring why my daughter's school doesn't have one / suggesting they look into having one. Pointers would be welcome.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    VLEs are only any good with massive staff buy in otherwise they languish and end up doing more harm than good. Your best bet will be to try and generate large amounts of genuine interest in the staff to actually get it off the ground.

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    speckytecky (3rd August 2013)

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Umph! Best I don't bother raising the question in my Special then - been a seriously uphill task getting any content for the website so I somehow doubt that my pleas for input to a VLE would meet with any great enthusiasm then

    That said the VLE was one of the things (as was the whole in house ICT support scene) that was functional and useful at my daughter's previous school. So, I'm going to try and get her present school to build one.

    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    VLEs are only any good with massive staff buy in otherwise they languish and end up doing more harm than good. Your best bet will be to try and generate large amounts of genuine interest in the staff to actually get it off the ground.
    Last edited by speckytecky; 3rd August 2013 at 08:24 AM.

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    FishCustard's Avatar
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    Exactly this. We 'have' Fronter, but it is universally disliked, and almost nobody uses it. We'll probably replace it with a few separate solutions that are best for that individual task (handing in work, online course content, etc.).

    No solution is any good if the users don't want to use it!

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    VLEs are only any good with massive staff buy in otherwise they languish and end up doing more harm than good.
    +1

    We've been trying implement a SharePoint system for whole school use but there's too many staff with their own ideas about how they want to use online resources and ultimately every department wants the flexibility to pick and choose their own sites for sharing resources.

    I've given up on trying to implement a single system for staff to use as departments are unable to agree on one and all it does is cause friction between us and staff. I've come to the conclusion that the best way forward is to give staff the freedom to use what they want and simply offer advice if they ask.

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    We've had limited success with moodle prior to becoming an academy, but we are trying again with a google sites based concept that is being forced onto us from the sponsors, I'm in full agreement with you guys though if the staff cannot see the value in it then their is little chance in it taking off.

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    I work for Frog (no cloak and dagger) and I'm sure you've heard of us already.

    Synack is right, the simple fact is that a lot of schools buy a VLE without the the 'buy in' from their SLT. By that I don't mean the money spent, I mean it is them who make the decisions after all, and a humble Network Manager cannot force his colleagues into using the VLE, whereas the SLT can.

    Actually making sure every member of staff use the VLE will eventually break down any initial barrier caused by lack of technical knowledge/confidence, and they will see exactly how this software can help them with lessons, homework and engaging their students.

    Cheers

    Matt
    Last edited by fouldsy; 7th August 2013 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Slap on the hand for first post ;)

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    speckytecky (8th August 2013)

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    I've been in three schools, with three different VLE experiences :

    School 1 - we implemented MoinMoin as VLE and the students loved it, but most staff refused to add content saying "I haven't got time to learn new stuff" or "I've been doing it this way since 19xx and I won't change now". The annoying thing was staff were still generating new teaching resources. One teacher had developed a website hosted outside the school and was (with the blessing of SMT) putting his materials there.

    School 2 - they were using Sharepoint and some departments used it extensively and others not at all. I can fully understand this as SP is a beast and the interface is not very intuitive. Some teachers who weren't using it had tried, but couldn't get to grips with it. Just as I was leaving (18 months ago) the school switched to Frog and there has been a much larger uptake by staff.

    School 3 (actually a college) - we use Moodle and all departments use it, in varying degrees. A few just use it as a document repository - there is a willingness by these staff to learn more about the use of Moodle. Some use it extensively, with students submitting work directly using Moodle. There is a push towards more of these paperless courses and there is a pilot to get more teachers doing this. SMT are very keen to do more paperless courses and to this end, staff that sign up are given a iPad. If they drop out of the pilot, they lose the iPad.

    We have a minor issue with teachers who want to learn more about Moodle. At the last inset day, the principal announced that I was offering one to one Moodle training sessions and staff were encouraged to sign up. (I wish I'd been told that I was offering this one to one training!) Not being a teacher, I don't actually use Moodle, however the sessions went well enough and I was able to show staff things they hadn't thought of like embedding videos into a page. There is now a group of teachers who have become mentors in various things, one of which is the use of Moodle. These are the very experienced Moodle users and they are running sessions to pass knowledge on.

    The VLE has been a huge success here and this success will only increase.

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    speckytecky (8th August 2013)

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    NewOrder's Avatar
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    Adoption of a VLE is very difficult. Whatever one you select does not depend on the technology but the group of people to drive it forward. SharePoint is both a success and failure in the commercial world for the same reasons. If its well implemented with governance and the topdown message it works. If its just put out there then it fails. It becomes a glorified shared drive.

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Our teachers loved it when we showed the potential of it. They marveled at the freakish voodoo back magic and the promises of these new buzz words that were passed around. But they near sh1t bricks when they realized it wasn't just black magic and THEY would have to use it.

    Now its never used.

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    My primary schools all use Google Apps as the VLE and We created Google sites to hold all the content and apps. Its the only system I could get the staff to learn as it is so simple.

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    zag
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    We use sharepoint here, I wouldnt say its an essential part of the school, but some departments use it as a nice document store that can be accessed from home.

    Basically don't spend too much time or money on one unless there is a defined need. Back when Labour were running the country they spent hundreds of millions of pounds trying to get them to roll out and nothing really came of it.

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    We used uniservity's school-portal, but during the transfer to their new Life platform we found too many compatibility issues so over the summer break we've installed Moodle primarily to host the scorm files from the ActivTeach software and provided another shared drive for class resources via HAP.

    We might look at expanding Moodle for blogs etc if we don't use that feature in office 365's sharepoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    VLEs are only any good with massive staff buy in otherwise they languish and end up doing more harm than good. Your best bet will be to try and generate large amounts of genuine interest in the staff to actually get it off the ground.
    Definitely agree with this. Staff buy-in is the only way to generate this.... unless.......

    ...what about student buy in?

    Change can come from the bottom and it may be that if you can engineer a desire within the student body you might get staff buy in on the back of this.

    How does the school manage it's online reporting responsibility? Maybe you could sell the idea to the SLT through that aspect?

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    Griff's Avatar
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    glorified dropbox staff hate it kids get their homework from it we pay way too much for it

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