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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Sharepoint/ Sims Learning Gateway Webparts in Technical; Well now that i have Sims Learning Gateway installed, i was wondering how other people with this product have tweaked ...
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    Quackers's Avatar
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    Sharepoint/ Sims Learning Gateway Webparts

    Well now that i have Sims Learning Gateway installed, i was wondering how other people with this product have tweaked their sites.

    Have they just tweaked a few themes or have they added loads of extra web parts that do fancy things, and if so what?

    I've just finished doing the parent site with school logo and theme tweaks and wanted to know if there was anything else worth while adding to this site?

    Our main reason for buying it was to comply with the 2010 requirments of real time reporting to parents, but sharepoint seems like a powerful beast so we want to get the most out of it we can.

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    Have a look a the kraal :: sharepoint design, web parts, ICT in education , where there are (so far) a couple of sites which have customised their parent sites along the lines that you suggest....

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    SharePoint 2010 and SLG


    I'm in the process of rolling out SharePoint 2010 and SLG to our Primary and Comprehensive schools. About 50 in all. Some have opted for a Central SIMS installation, SLG and SharePoint, others just the SharePoint. Sites have been created for the schools the have a 'child friendly' look.

    Because I work for the LA we're also using it internally for comunication with the schools. There's a Technical Support site run by my technicians with an Access 2010 database for recording support calls. There's a School Data Pack site for the Data Team, Schools and Advisors to work on the Data Packs created by the LA.

    We've installed the SharePoint Learning Kit and one of the Comprehensive Schools is 'playing' with it.

    We've split the SP farm into 4 web apps, www, edit, secure and my. www is public, edit is for the schools to look after their own site on www (not released yet). secure is for SLG and (obviously) secure content. my is for SharePoint My Sites, again, not fully rolled out.

    Trying to get buy in from the schools is difficult. We've had a couple of technical issues during rollout which has knocked confidence, and it's a very large technology to get to grips with. It's very easy to build things incorrectly which can skupper you later on

    I bought an application called Artisteer for changing the layouts and looks with varying degrees of success. The SharePoint support is still in Beta, but it looks good and with some tweeking works...


    We've also bought the Birchfield VLE content which I'm going to try and put through the SLK sometime in the new year...

    Other things in development include integration with Microsofts Live@Edu, free 25GB Sky drive, 10GB Email, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note for pupils and staff... Again, in the new year.

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    Rule 24 "Solutions bigger than a school don't work" - certainly not for secondary schools. My guess is there will be interest for the first 6 months then by month 12 usage will have dropped off to virtually nothing. So many factors are against larger implementations.... lack of agility, lack of ownership, inability to deliver targetted skills, lack of interest, lack of relevance. At the primary level I would be interested in seeing evidence of actually how many junior schools in any authority use a VLE and of those how much they are used. Is it just one teacher or is it all staff? My guess is that there are less than 20 primary schools (if that) across the whole of the UK who actually use a VLE as the main source of information and communication for all staff (rather than just one or two) and that is a very small percentage.

    You may think I am not an advocate of VLEs you would be wrong. However I do not believe in implementing technology that is not relevant to schools and in which they cannot see any value. Yes you and I can point out potential value ad nausium, but this not the point. Schools are not there yet in terms of their pedagogical thinking. Whose fault is that? The government, the exam boards, a lack of will and interest by teachers and schools themselves.

    If you were to ask schools how their IT strategy aligns with the schools educational aims I am sure you would get a variety of responses ranging from "IT strategy?" to "What's buying computers got to do with the school's education aims?" A cynical view but one borne out of experience.

    Education doesn't "get" IT. Until it does I am afraid initiatives like this will continue to fail as they have done for the past 20 years.

    Dave O
    Last edited by Dave_O; 7th November 2011 at 01:20 AM.

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