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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, VLE - Must the school use it? in Technical; I've just been talking to a friend of mine in another school in the Midlands and he says that he ...
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    VLE - Must the school use it?

    I've just been talking to a friend of mine in another school in the Midlands and he says that he has been told by a senior member of staff that all Year 7 (New Intake) must be taught using the VLE.

    Does anyone know what the requirements on usage are?

    We all must have one but do we need to use it, are there any government requirements or recommendations made by OfSted for instance?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    The usage of a Learning platform/VLE/ePortfoilos/etc is not mandatory. It is merely a recommendation. However this does not preclude the possibility that your SMT/LEA has mandated its usage.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    There have been several threads on here regarding expensive software which has been bought but not even unpacked and used. VLE's could fall into this category.
    How long have you had your VLE in place? Is there any material for your Year 7's to view/use? It's a bit like having a Ferrari but no petrol. Nice to look at but serving no purpose other than as an example of beautiful design.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Hmm, our LAs advice seemed to be that it was mandatory to have one by a certain date (which escapes me now) but nowhere does it say mandatory to use it (I think).

    So yes, we where mandated to purchase but encouraged to use.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Hmm, our LAs advice seemed to be that it was mandatory to have one by a certain date (which escapes me now) but nowhere does it say mandatory to use it (I think).

    So yes, we where mandated to purchase but encouraged to use.
    Lol... love it, sounds like education all over. Yes, this is an excellent idea, lets do it. Mmm we're out of money and the deadline to completion is neally up.... ah well, who needs to support it.

    I've worked in a secondary school in Cambridgeshire, we've never used E2BN resources, like the gallery, which isn't really anything special, we've never video conf using there expensive (Janet) stuff, we used MSN messager

    I don't get why government spends money on stuff then never gets the full beniefts. The idea of the VLE is that you SHARE your resources, I can see loads of people charging for resources for those schools who can't be bothered to create there own but want to use the VLE to it's full affect.

    Ideally the LEA\Gov wants to get people in who are teachers AND web programmers and get them to make some general AND some school basic resources, and teach them how to do it themselves.

    EDIT:

    You also want a central database with all the resources in an open format, so SIMS\Microsoft\Moodle\UniServity\etc can all be exchanged, I would image even with a open format, I can see them saying, use our format, the open format does exchange the full features etc. Which is totally wrong.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Ok ... here is the theory being VLEs / MLEs / Learning Platforms / Resources / etc.

    The Govt has spotted that schools and students who use these tools as part of independent learning get better results on average than similar schools that don't. They also know that many schools need to be dragged into the 20th century (nevermind 21st) when it comes to things like this ...

    We also have a heap of things to do with interoperability, data protection, reporting to parents, access to school information, remote working ... it goes on.

    So, we get a central portal / gateway ... from here you access everything you need to. The VLE is one component of it and allows for online learning (specified learning objects that use pathways for differentiation and allow for direct feedback to both learner and teacher), course management of resources, etc ... tie this in with the requirement for an online learning space / ePortfolio and you have what most of us have come to expect from bundled products such as Fronter, Uniservity, Blackboard, Moodle, etc ...

    The next stage is integration with school information. The VLE needs to hook into the MIS somehow to share data. Usually this is a one sided event with the VLE pulling student / staff information from the MIS. If the portal controls this then it means that the data should be exchanged a lot easier. It also means that things like attendance and progress grades can be made available online for parents.

    The next stage is two-way integration ... the VLE sends data back to the MIS or the portal is used for a secure, online method of inputting data into the MIS.

    Then we have resources ... the NEN is full of stuff ... don't just look at your RBC, but look at others too. www.nen.ac.uk gives more info on what other RBCs create or host and you should be able to get access to most things ... if not then nag your LA for a suitable alternative.

    To hook access to the portal and the MIS and the VLE we have things coming out for SIF / ZIS ... and for authentication between the ID provider and the service providers (either applications or resources) you have Shibboleth.

    The idea is that eventually any system can fit in with any other system to share information or pass around access to resources.

    How far away are we? Shibboleth is here but only implemented at large scales ... very few schools use it and prefer to go for a direct hook into their RBC instead (methods vary). SIF / ZIS ... your guess is as good as mine. It really does rely on the various companies working together ... the MIS providers and the portal / VLE / Resource providers.

    Then we also have to remember that everything we do has to be in a safe and secure environment. MSN is not safe and secure ... flashmeeting (a very nice basic VC system used in E2BN) is not bad and for higher stuff you have the JVCS.

    All access should be controlled and logged to any service you use in a school, whether hosted internally or externally. It is not just common sense but actually a requirement for investigation under DPS and CMA. Use of some unregulated and externally hosted services is going to be an issue for some schools in the next year or so.

    I am not saying that not using a provided VLE or other system is wrong ... but that you have to be careful and be sure that what you are using is safe and secure.

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    There are lots of new schemes of work this year mainly for year 7.

    I believe english is one of them and in the curriculum you now have to include blogging and wikis

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    They are probably looking at this...

    About Becta - Becta's Learning Platform Services Framework to help schools and colleges invest with confidence in technology - Becta

    The government’s target is that all pupils will be able to access a
    personalised online workspace, capable of supporting an e-portfolio, by 2007-08.

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    Our LEA purchased our VLP/VLE and we are being encouraged to implement it's use, on the basis that the governement requires it. Head here is very aware of the pitfalls as well as the benefits, which helps immensely. Our planning has taken a gradual rollout approach, starting with teachers using the platform and getting used to it, rather than pupils being launched onto it. But we will struggle with the fact that we still have members of staff who are reluctant IT users, and I have to say that the platform that the LEA has chosen has me tearing my hair out most of the time.

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    leco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andie View Post
    I have to say that the platform that the LEA has chosen has me tearing my hair out most of the time.
    Can I ask which platform, please?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andie View Post
    Our LEA purchased our VLP/VLE and we are being encouraged to implement it's use, on the basis that the governement requires it. Head here is very aware of the pitfalls as well as the benefits, which helps immensely. Our planning has taken a gradual rollout approach, starting with teachers using the platform and getting used to it, rather than pupils being launched onto it. But we will struggle with the fact that we still have members of staff who are reluctant IT users, and I have to say that the platform that the LEA has chosen has me tearing my hair out most of the time.
    We are in a similar position here, but I am reluctant to throw the towel in just yet.

    We have purchased TALMOS and although it has limitations I feel whichever VLE was chosen they was going to be issues. What we need to do is customise the VLE to work with teachers not demand that Teachers change their ways of working to the VLE!

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    leco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylv3r View Post
    What we need to do is customise the VLE to work with teachers not demand that Teachers change their ways of working to the VLE!
    A qualified hear, hear to that. The qualification being that some teachers do indeed need to change otherwise they would remain in the 20th century instead of this one.

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