I just had some training in Fronter recently (all of it went completely over my head, but oh well...) and well, after seeing the deep technical roots, and also some of the final solutions some school currently have in place, the first thing that hit me was I have seen year 7 student do better designs than this!
2 years ago at BETT, I saw a company called LP+ do a presentation of their Sharepoint based VLE on the Microsoft stand and it looked damn impressive! To date, I have yet to see any Fronter setup that is remotely anywhere near the standard of their Sharepoint solution and this is 2 years later. Just playing around with changing the settings was a tedious process, changing 1 setting and then refreshing the page, in a page that had 100s of settings, administrative nightmare is the only vision I can see. I was totally lost in the myriad of rooms and corridoors.
I can't say I'm surprised it is being forced down our throats by the LEA because the LGFL signed them up. I mean, just look at Digital Brain, personally, I think that says it all, moving from 1 useless system to another slightly better, yet still such a poor implementation of a good idea.
i dont know if Fronter have released their new version which is powered by alot of Ajax and "widget" style apps but it did look alot better than what we had a demo of this time last year. no idea what stage the Ajax version was at. I find alot of people prefer something that looks good, compared to something that works well.
Looks wise though, it does help if it looks good and personally, I can't see what about Fronter does!
I find the look and feel of Fronter to be quite good actually. Much better than Learnwise, and definitely suited to the age of the kids in our school (year 5 - 8).
and why dont people selling VLE's etc have demo sites, really, really, really annoys me.
we have fronter and its bad all those stupid rooms and corridors glad i dont manage it. no AD integration for usernames is a killer
plus the way our lea set it up if someone with the same name is in another school you get some stupid login name with numbers at the end.
much prefer sharepoint
But yes, rooms, corridoors, it's a load of crap IMO.
This is somewhere I feel Microsoft actually have the edge against it's competitors. My first impressions of Sharepoint was just so much friendlier than Fronter.
I can't wait to see how RM deals with it once the BSF goes live!
Erm. Hate to burst anyone's bubbles but Sharepoint does not provide the same functionality as Fronter. It has no SIMS.net integration for the creation of classes/rooms. It doesn't have all the testing features of Fronter etc...
Sharepoint quite simply is not a VLE. It is a CMS system which has various modules, such as the SIMS.net Web parts, which enable it to do various things.
ElearningForce UK (29th April 2008)
Your right SharePoint is not a VLE but does allow for several VLEs to be plugged into it - almost turning it into a Learning Platform. That is why lots of LEAs are taking the product up for their schools.
SalamanderSoft have a product that will create classes for you in SharePoint. It pulls the information out from your MIS system (SIM.net or CMIS) and creates you classes, addeds you pupils and keeps them updated.
Zoom7000 (29th April 2008)
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