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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Kaleidos - happy users of the Learning Spaces in Technical; Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 VLE Lover, if you would like to PM me I could give you some information on ...
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    Thumbs down At last a Kaleidos lover

    Quote Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 View Post
    VLE Lover, if you would like to PM me I could give you some information on some schools.

    A lot of the posts above are based on a technological view, and not from a "change management view" Typical from this kind of forum of course, since its predominantly Techie based.

    The push for VLE/Learning Platforms has to be from the top. A top down approach you might say.

    The SMT must enforce changes that are quick wins. For Example, how about rather than printing out cover and sticking it on the Staffroom wall, you publish it in the Learning Platform! Easy Really?

    Some schools have meetings each week to go over the diary for the week after, pop it on the Learning Platform so its viewable and consultable whenever a teacher/member of staff wants?

    Simple and quick effective wins are what are needed....bitesize chunks you might say.....

    Oh yeah and of course, remember this software is about the Learners and Parents rather than the Teachers!

    The problem with schools/IT Techs is they spend far to long procrastinating about products and things they have to do, which ultimately wastes time. Get on with the parts that work (and work for the school), and build on that with direction from your SMT and you might just implement a LP that is worth using!

    Kaleidos in my opinion is just as good as any other VLE, it's how you use it and implement it within a school that is the key, and that is in the majority what schools arn't able to do. There are many different reasons why this is, but effectively its for the reasons above, the "change management" procedure isn't being seized and the bigger picture isn't effectively being seen!


    I agree with the top down approach, and am very interested in seeing a reference site, with more than a third of the teachers and learners using Kaleidos Learning Spaces, but ...

    I think the best gains to be had from the technology are the Learning and Studying bit, i.e. the Learning Spaces. The portal is ok for displaying information but not much else.

    I might be a techie but I have been looking at the teacher and student interfaces, and I don't find it very inviting to use, from either a teaching / authoring or from a student / learning point of view.

    It is just so painfully slow to use and just very clunky in nearly every way, just count the number of clicks and dialog boxes to do almost anything.

    If we want to inspire our students into extending study time out of the class room by using the VLE, rather than just having it used in a ICT classroom it's got to be better and compete at least in speed with facebook, myspace, youtube etc, if not in looks and utility.

    I agree entirely about the cover, it is a really good idea, but if you are moving from into a class room at the beginning of a lessson and it takes 5 minutes to logon to your LAN plus a minute to logon to Kaleidos and then say another minute to navigate to the lesson (if you are quick at it and not distracted by students), you have lost quite a chunk of your lesson and the students attention, plus perhaps there are materials / text books to collect prior to the lesson.

    I think you have to look at what you want as a whole, from authoring the content to the delivery, and start using the technology in small areas to at least know what you want out of it, and be able to demonstrate best practice with your VLE of choice.

    I think you need to have a target for success other than just installing it and training everybody on what it is, say as above 1/3 of teacher and 1/3 of students using it(for a predetermined amout of time per week) within 2 school terms. I don't even care what the numbers are I just want to see some.

    I understand the attraction of Kaleidos and the other managed VLEs, in some ways it's really very good from the IT support point of view.

    It's very limited in what can be changed, everything in it is manual (kaleidos), so no automated processes to go wrong, except the SIMS extract and upload.
    Not much to configure except which of the Six colour schemes (not really themes) you have to choose.
    Somebody else to call(blame) when it's on the blink.
    The safe feeling that having a big name supplier gives the senior management.
    Most of the time it's really easy to do what you can do, as it is so feature poor there is not much choice anyway.

    I particularly like asking how do I do "this" to be told you can't do that.

    I agree the Change Management process needs looking at but, when you are trying to persuade a large number of users that "Public Transport" is the only option when nothing goes where you want it to or at the time you want it to or reliably turns up, and it still is very expensive you are really up against it.

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    A lot of the posts above are based on a technological view, and not from a "change management view" Typical from this kind of forum of course, since its predominantly Techie based.
    Talking from personal experience, most of the staff at the school where I work as an IT technician didn't have a clue what a VLE was when I brought up the subject in 2005/06, and SLT for the most part still have a vague notion of what can be achieved. I may not be able to extrapolate my own experience across the whole of the secondary sector, but from the posts on here I don't feel as if I'm alone in thinking this. As a consequence, the change management was handled by me, and the VLE is now embedded in school life to such an extent that when the head presented SLT priorities for the coming year the VLE was at the top.

    The push for VLE/Learning Platforms has to be from the top. A top down approach you might say.
    On the contrary, the push comes from the grassroots, the end users, the pupils. In our school I'd helped set up a Photography course online, and with some bought in material we introduced the VLE to ICTAC staff before the summer break in 2008, hoping they would feed back to their faculties. There was an intensive month's training when school re-opened in September, and then the pupils were given sight of it in October. It wasn't until staff were being pestered by their charges, "Sir, why haven't you put anything on the VLE?" that the amount of work put forward, and interest in the VLE began to rise.

    Oh yeah and of course, remember this software is about the Learners and Parents rather than the Teachers!
    Who provides the material for the VLE then?

    The problem with schools/IT Techs is they spend far to long procrastinating about products and things they have to do, which ultimately wastes time.
    Some folk call this doing your research. Schools may be required to have a VLE, but taking the first one that comes along is not a good idea and can lead to both time and money being wasted.

    In my experience, and it seems from contributors to these forums, running a VLE is often thrust on the IT technician; is it any wonder they procrastinate "about products and things they have to do"?

    It's not my intention to rubbish any group here, or in school, we often feel as if we're the only put upon party in an organization whether we're teachers, technicians, admin staff or pupils.
    Last edited by beeswax; 21st September 2009 at 07:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vle_lover View Post
    If we want to inspire our students into extending study time out of the class room by using the VLE, rather than just having it used in a ICT classroom it's got to be better and compete at least in speed with facebook, myspace, youtube etc, if not in looks and utility.
    Too true... regarding the Yumminess Factor, Kaleidos is the internet equivalent of a nylon suit... without the convenience.

    Quote Originally Posted by vle_lover View Post
    I agree entirely about the cover, it is a really good idea, but if you are moving from into a class room at the beginning of a lessson and it takes 5 minutes to logon to your LAN plus a minute to logon to Kaleidos and then say another minute to navigate to the lesson (if you are quick at it and not distracted by students), you have lost quite a chunk of your lesson and the students attention, plus perhaps there are materials / text books to collect prior to the lesson.
    Oh... give me a piece of paper I can just grab, please! A true understanding of technology is shown by knowing when it isn't the best option.

    Quote Originally Posted by vle_lover View Post
    I agree the Change Management process needs looking at but, when you are trying to persuade a large number of users that "Public Transport" is the only option when nothing goes where you want it to or at the time you want it to or reliably turns up, and it still is very expensive you are really up against it.
    Agreed. Tallying with the transport metaphor, I've decided that 'car sharing' is viable and found that it's far more effective time-wise to take worksheets written by members of the faculty, produce home-made in-house stuff in VERY basic sites on the internet, give it a simple domain name and tell people where it is. It takes a fraction of the time Kaleidos does. I produce it for my own use but it's usable by everyone. We all use the same worksheets for projects so it's instantly a shareable and universal resource.

    If people wanted to put stuff there they are welcome to the username and password, but it is me who does the donkey work... as with Kaleidos.
    Last edited by kitsch; 21st September 2009 at 07:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 View Post
    The SMT must enforce changes that are quick wins. For Example, how about rather than printing out cover and sticking it on the Staffroom wall, you publish it in the Learning Platform! Easy Really?
    We get them individually as a phone call to our faculty team room... even easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 View Post
    Some schools have meetings each week to go over the diary for the week after, pop it on the Learning Platform so its viewable and consultable whenever a teacher/member of staff wants?
    And this one as an email.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 View Post
    Simple and quick effective wins are what are needed....bitesize chunks you might say.....
    Well said... otherwise learning to use a VLE for us non IT-specialist teachers is a bit like having to learn a dictionary from start to finish as opposed to just gleaning the useful bits when you need them.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 View Post
    Kaleidos in my opinion is just as good as any other VLE,
    Ruddy heck.... you mean they're ALL like that?
    Last edited by kitsch; 24th September 2009 at 11:17 PM.

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    Summary

    So the summary is

    Kaleidos not very good looking, clunky and slow, but not much worse than any other VLE when you take into account that the SMT don't really know what they want, apart from being able to say they have one.


    Somebody must be using Kaleidos, though if you look at the number of posts to RM's own Kaleidos community site / forum, either everybody is happy or nobody is using it much as compared to the number of posts to Moodle forums.
    Last edited by vle_lover; 28th September 2009 at 01:33 PM.

  6. #21
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    We've had KLP installed for about 19 months now - we were a pilot for Derbyshire who are rolling it out to all schools in the county.
    We attend regular strategy meetings and, I must say that, the Primary Schools in our area put us in Secondaries to shame. They are pushing it forward from the top down and seem to be really giving it a good go. Most don't use the VLE side at present - just the Portal+ but they use it for administration and for teaching & learning.
    We on the other hand are suffering from the usual problem of teachers not wanting to touch it with a barge pole and hoping that if they forget about it then it will just go away

    As the KLP administrator I am trying to find a few people who will champion KLP and get things going so that I can then use them to show others but it's slow going.
    What really annoys me is we are putting information on KLP for Staff but when you say to them it's on the Learning Platform we get "I don't have time to look on there" - My response now is - "Well I don't have time to walk round school and tell 90 members of staff the same piece of information"

    I quite like Kaleidos as a communication tool and think it will get better - the introduction of Learning Spaces (although we don't use them yet) should be a good thing.
    One thing I do like about it is the inter-connectivity - we are able to publish information to our Feeder Primary Schools and allow them access to our Transition Interest Space. Also a new Diploma course we've started has students on it from another local secondary school and they can pick up assignments and hand in work via the Learning Platform and take part in on-line discussions, which makes them a lot more integrated as they only visit our school twice a week.

    I've no experience of other LPs/VLEs so can compare Kaleidos but IF we can get our staff to use it I think it would be a great benefit.

  7. Thanks to G-Jackson from:

    kaphc (1st October 2009)

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    G-Jackson, I share your frustrations regarding getting bolshy staff to look at kaleidos... but I can see where they are coming from, too. When we have something to communicate to staff, we tend to just use email.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Jackson View Post
    We on the other hand are suffering from the usual problem of teachers not wanting to touch it with a barge pole and hoping that if they forget about it then it will just go away
    Then it will just go away... it is the silent majority who don't use it who will ultimately decide its future. In my thirty years of teaching I have seen many much better initiatives than Kaleidos go under simply because people wouldn't utilise them.
    Last edited by kitsch; 1st October 2009 at 12:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitsch View Post
    G-Jackson, I share your frustrations regarding getting bolshy staff to look at kaleidos... but I can see where they are coming from, too. When we have something to communicate to staff, we tend to just use email.
    They won't use e-mail either

    most of them seem happy to use endless reams of paper and do the same thing over and over again... e.g. Last Year we had 7 teachers come in one by one asking us to unblock YouTube so they could show a video to each of the Year 7 classes... I said - Why don't you upload a copy to the VLE and make it available to them? - Too much trouble... low and behold - this week one by one they've all been coming in asking for YouTube to be unblocked so they can show the same video

    The thing is - our teachers may well want to hope KLP goes away but, as I said above, a lot of schools (Primary/Juniors) around here are using it and the kids love it so they are coming to us and asking why we don't use it...

    I'll let you know how I get on with my champions so watch this space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Jackson View Post

    The thing is - our teachers may well want to hope KLP goes away but, as I said above, a lot of schools (Primary/Juniors) around here are using it and the kids love it so they are coming to us and asking why we don't use it...
    I can see Kaleidos working for teachers who teach topics across different subjects (i.e. primary teachers). The overlap and the interconnectivity needed would be well served by a VLE.

    As a Technology/Art teacher in a secondary school, however, I have yet to be convinced that Kaleidos is better than what I am doing at the moment. I have found much easier and far less long-winded ways of sharing resources etc over the 'net than Kaleidos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Jackson View Post
    We've had KLP installed for about 19 months now - we were a pilot for Derbyshire who are rolling it out to all schools in the county.
    I've just become the link governor for the KLP in one primary school in Derbyshire and will be the "tech" part of the team in another primary school doing an implementation, so am really interested to hear your thoughts on how your pilot has been going. Like you say, I think it will depend on how effective the approach is from the top down and am going to be looking at both schools and how get on with this.

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    Our problem is that no one at the top is pushing it forward - I go to the Primary Schools and the Headteachers are very enthusiastic on the whole and they are making big changes here - they have someone type up information - then pass it to someone else who photocopies 70, 80 or 90 copies - then they pass it to someone else who walks up to the staff room and puts a copy in every staff pigeon hole...

    When we had our initial training the one person I wanted on the training was the Head's PA as she produces many of the main documents that would be uploaded - but she didn't attend as she was too busy

    Now she doesn't want anything to do with KLP so anything she creates has to be passed to someone else to upload.
    I was also asked to create a Governor's area and get all Governors KLP accounts - this was done inside a week ( over 12 months ago) It's never been touched since...

    On the flip side as a Governor at a Primary School I have set-up their Governor area and uploaded several documents... the Governors are itching to go - the only problem is getting RM to set-up their accounts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Jackson View Post
    I was also asked to create a Governor's area and get all Governors KLP accounts - this was done inside a week ( over 12 months ago) It's never been touched since...
    And, unfortunately, it probably won't be while people think (sometimes mistakenly, sometimes not) that there are more familiar, less scary and more convenient ways of getting information than a learning platform.

    I've had the same situation with the faculty website I created... people don't know how useful it mght be because they will not venture there. No password is needed and all they have to do for the front page to come up is click on the link I send them. Yet, when I sit them down and make them actually look at a computer screen while I bring up the website, they go 'Oh, that's good... how long has that been there?".

    So, regarding Kaleidos.... fat ruddy chance of them looking at THAT.
    Last edited by kitsch; 2nd October 2009 at 09:46 AM.

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    <controversial statement>
    Is it not true that all this boils down to a good or bad implementation? It works and is used in those schools where time was taken to get the teachers on board from the start (i.e. before product selection), then train them afterwards and continue a drive to use it afterwards. On the other hand, those schools were someone has said "I know, let's buy X VLE" or work to the "if you build it, they will come" approach find it isn't getting used properly/at all.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how it looks from here.
    </controversial statement>

  16. #30
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    I think I'd agree with that although it was a bit of both with us...

    RM came in and installed KLP because Derbyshire had said All schools in the county will have it and our Deputy Head asked if we could be part of the Pilot.
    So we had our initial training and the idea was that we would use the people trained to cascade train their departments - we also chose people with multiple roles e.g. French Teacher who was also a Head of Year, PE Teacher who also runs clubs and Duke of Edinburgh, PSHE Teacher who runs school council etc... we thought this might get them thinking about the Portal side and VLE...

    The idea was that at INSET &/or Dept Meetings etc they could cascade train and IT would offer to back them up if needed... the problem was the person in charge of the project never bothered to make sure the cascade training got started so if all just stalled.

    So in answer to your point - The planning side of the implementation was good but the actual implementation wasn't.

    If the people at the top won't drive it the people at the bottom aren't going to bother either.



    On the plus side - I have been contacted by Science today who want to start up an ECO Club on KLP in conjunction with one of our feeder Primary Schools... so we live in hope.
    Last edited by G-Jackson; 2nd October 2009 at 01:25 PM.

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