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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Fronter is irritating me already in Technical; Hello all, I'm the Fronter lead teacher/ ICT coordinator/general ICT and VLE cheerleader in outr primary school I've been using ...
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    Fronter is irritating me already

    Hello all,

    I'm the Fronter lead teacher/ICT coordinator/general ICT and VLE cheerleader in outr primary school

    I've been using Fronter since January an will soon start coaxing other teachers int creating their own classrooms (a few at a time).

    Trouble is, I really am not that keen on it. I like the theory and the potential stuff that you can do. Some of the pages I've made don't even look that bad. Trouble is I find it really clunky and horrible to use. Our school uses Macs with OSX 10.4.11and we're running Fronter on Firefox 3 and Safari 3 (because some features work on Safari and others work on Firefox).

    I fin uploading and downloading files a real pain. At present I can only download files one at a time (which is rubbish as I'm trying to download a folder of 100ish photos). The file dialogs (Java) are not consistent. They can't find network shared folders. They crash. The browser complains about certificates. All in all its not too good.

    As an LGFL school it feels like a fait accompli (sorry about spelling if wrong!)

    I wonder, as a primary school, if there is another way to meet these government targets. Moodle sounds like a pain to set up, and while I'm pretty IT literate, I have a full time class an not enough hours in the day.

    For a primary school how much of this interaction/collaborative stuff do we actually need I find myself asking.
    I wonder if I could somehow make use of Google apps/sites etc to cover a lot of the Fronter ground and save myself a headache!

    phew

    Rant over.

    Help, suggestions and love greatly appreciated!

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by GenieNitro View Post
    I fin uploading and downloading files a real pain. At present I can only download files one at a time (which is rubbish as I'm trying to download a folder of 100ish photos). The file dialogs (Java) are not consistent. They can't find network shared folders. They crash. The browser complains about certificates. All in all its not too good.
    There is a way to download all of your photos in one go..... Presumably the folder is in the Resources folder. Find the folder contianing the photos, click on the arrow next to the folder which brings up a menu and select Export Folder. This will export the folder as a .zip file and will contain all you photos.

    Any other quesitons feel free to PM me, i'd be happy to help or pass on any advice I can.

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    Thanks very much - I will do...

    The export to a zip feature is ok, but why does it rename all the files in the zip ?

    Each file has a long number appended to the beginning of it such as 0_1048858502_
    this is then followed by the file name...

    ANyway to stop this happening? Is rather irksome as I may find myself needing to go through and rename all the files!

    Steve

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    Doesn't look like there is a way to stop it doing that and i'm not sure what the reasoning behind it is.

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    budgester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GenieNitro View Post
    Hello all,
    As an LGFL school it feels like a fait accompli (sorry about spelling if wrong!)

    I wonder, as a primary school, if there is another way to meet these government targets. Moodle sounds like a pain to set up, and while I'm pretty IT literate, I have a full time class an not enough hours in the day.
    First thing to check, is how much you are paying for it now, and how much will it cost in the future.

    Then look at other VLE's it may be a case that you are being subsidised for Fronter for the first year but will have to pay for it after that.

    Then you can take them figures and look at a hosted solution of another VLE is you want to.

    http://www.pteppic.net/course/view.php?id=2

    How much integration has been done with your MIS ?

    We are a london secondary school that has foregone Fronter and is using moodle.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    We are using Fronter here too, I am curious, has anyone actually managed to get it working efficiently? It seems awfully slow and expecting kids to navigate through a user interface which reminds me of XTreeGold seems a little far fetched. Also it doesn't support course formats like moodle so you can't show / hide parts of courses at the begginning and unhide them over time. (At least I think)

    All in all it seems like it hasn't been designed properly to be a VLE and just seems to host a folder structure and a basic online web designer. I'd be interested to see a working example as they are not easy to come by (like moodle) so I could be missing something completely and be using a fantastic product!!

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    Thumbs down

    I had the Fronter sales guy visit yesterday. Ive never been so BORED!! and when he had actually finished his spew and insisting if we use Fronter to pay the £2000 for the training (ffs!!!) i went back to my moodle test install and shoved the Primary-School template over the top and guess what, it looked better than Fronter!!! and after some playing around i reckon i can get it working better than Fronter.

    Oh and btw, Fronter didnt like working on my Vista laptop with IE8!! it kept stalling, error loading pages and generally playing around.

    Not impressed and i definatly won't be recommending we get it, id rather take on the extra work load and develop moodle more.

    Thats my 2 cents and no doubt will be wrong in some way...

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    We have it here (as do all Somerset schools), and we don't use it really. I think one teacher uses it, and that's it.

    Our ICT teacher tried using it a while back and found it slow, and clunky to set up pages.

    We also are having trouble figuring out how it will actually benefit the kids here.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We have it here (as do all Somerset schools), and we don't use it really. I think one teacher uses it, and that's it.

    Our ICT teacher tried using it a while back and found it slow, and clunky to set up pages.

    We also are having trouble figuring out how it will actually benefit the kids here.

    The ability to quickly add quizzes and other activities seems to be very slow as well. This product seems to look better on paper than in practice.

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    Pottsey's Avatar
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    We are having similar problem its clunky to use. I wouldnt go as far to say horrible but itís not a smooth experience.

    To make it worse itís mostly a waste of time for us as are most VLE. We are only implanting it as it a tick box to tick. Itís not really any use to our children or teachers, apart from the shared calendar for the staff room which is about the only thing of any use so far.

    I love the theory behind a VLE but in practise due to out demo graph itís just not benefiting our staff or children.

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    IC176's Avatar
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    We are another somerset school here ands currently dont use it I have a lot of preasure from SMT to get the Staff ussing Fronter but there is little to no will to use it and I cant say iu blame them.

    Every operation seems to involve 2 or 3 steps that are not really needed.

    What happens when somerset stops funding fronter i dont know.

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    the answer

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post

    We also are having trouble figuring out how it will actually benefit the kids here.
    The kids will benefit by having someone else do their homework for them and submit it.


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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Looks like we have a Fronter trainer coming in next week, gonna ask him a few questions re: the interface etc. Hopefully may be able to iron out some of the kinks involved in making it work effectively.

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    Unfortunately it is a bit "xtree gold" (boy that took me back) at present (version X coming next year screen shots look a bit vista for my liking). But it is worth persisting I'm still very cynical but have seen some good example (first hand not sales speak)where teachers have used it to add to teaching and learning and some kids that struggle to get voice heard in class have contribute really well in forums. The key seems to be good after care and long term planning from SLT where this is done well it works where schools look for a quick fix or tick some boxes it doesn't meet expectations.

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