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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Kaleidos - happy users of the Learning Spaces in Technical; I know how you all feel! But - to throw a spanner in the works - I AM a happy ...
  1. #31
    znova's Avatar
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    I know how you all feel!

    But - to throw a spanner in the works - I AM a happy user of Kaleidos! Ok, it is clunky in places but it has potential! I only just started working with in in September so straight into the newest release so I don't have "baggage" of what it used to be like etc.

    I've decided to tackle it with the average to bellow average it savvy teachers and they can all see the potential!!! That's half the battle won. There are one or two - ironically the ones that went on the initial training - that will not touch it with bargepole but hey who cares!

    I am lucky that developing the platform is my sole occupation so I can really give it a bash - watch this space next year!!!

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
    I know how you all feel!

    But - to throw a spanner in the works - I AM a happy user of Kaleidos! Ok, it is clunky in places but it has potential! I only just started working with in in September so straight into the newest release so I don't have "baggage" of what it used to be like etc.

    I've decided to tackle it with the average to bellow average it savvy teachers and they can all see the potential!!! That's half the battle won. There are one or two - ironically the ones that went on the initial training - that will not touch it with bargepole but hey who cares!

    I am lucky that developing the platform is my sole occupation so I can really give it a bash - watch this space next year!!!
    Your sole occupation? You are lucky... I'm a tech reacher, not an IT teacher, and I still have to deal with it on top of a busy timetable... along with knowing that, for me, it is pretty well useless. I reckon even building a model of Westminster Abbey out of toothpicks wouldn't seem too daunting if it were all one had to do!

    I don't have previous 'baggage' either, as I only had it foisted on me a few months ago. Sorry to seem a little cautious, zdenka, but as it is your sole occupation, it would possibly not be in your vested interest to be very negative about Kaleidos?!
    Last edited by kitsch; 9th October 2009 at 12:20 PM.

  3. #33
    znova's Avatar
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    Sorry to seem a little cautious, zdenka, but as it is your sole occupation, it would possibly not be in your vested interest to be very negative about Kaleidos
    What can I say? It's like everything really; it has good bits and bad bits but so does everything else!

    And you are right, it would not be in my interest to be negative about it - what would be the point if I'm trying to convince staff to use it? At the end of the day, we are stuck with it (BSF school, no choice) so we might as well make the most of it?

    What would be the point of going about complaining about it?

    Actually, the 2 members of staff that went on the initial training were quite it savvy, said it was rubbish and even the guys from Kaleidos were apparently quite negative about their own product! How are you going to convince teachers to take it up then?

    I might as well try and implement things that work for people and build it from there?

  4. #34
    kitsch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
    What would be the point of going about complaining about it?
    Because if enough people complain, then the powers that be might get the message that it is pants.

    Quote Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
    Actually, the 2 members of staff that went on the initial training were quite it savvy, said it was rubbish and even the guys from Kaleidos were apparently quite negative about their own product! How are you going to convince teachers to take it up then?
    I think you've just answered the question yourself.... you probably aren't going to convince them! It is not IT savvy people who determine the success or failure of a system, it's the rank and file users.

  5. #35
    znova's Avatar
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    It is not IT savvy people who determine the success or failure of a system, it's the rank and file users
    Actually most teachers in my school WERE impressed with it and WOULD use it so just because you think it's pants doesn't mean everyone else does.

    I think I'll agree to disagree.

    Oh, forgot to mention the it savvy teachers were the ones opposed to it; again, they are entitled to their opinion.
    Last edited by znova; 9th October 2009 at 01:44 PM. Reason: forgot to mention

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
    Actually, the 2 members of staff that went on the initial training were quite it savvy, said it was rubbish and even the guys from Kaleidos were apparently quite negative about their own product! How are you going to convince teachers to take it up then?
    I must admit when you first said that the people who went on the initial training hated it, I wondered whether it had been a bad course. I think a really important part of VLE success/failuer is how the selection and implementation are handled (as per my earlier post).

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
    Actually most teachers in my school WERE impressed with it and WOULD use it so just because you think it's pants doesn't mean everyone else does.
    No, indeed... just the vast majority of people who appear to voice their opinions on the matter... and not just here, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
    Oh, forgot to mention the it savvy teachers were the ones opposed to it; again, they are entitled to their opinion.

    So, the Top Gear team at your school aren't impressed and the learner drivers are? A ringing endorsement, indeed. I was initially impressed with it and evangelised avidly at my school... it does indeed have a superficial 'cleverness' about it. just like your teachers, I said that I WOULD use it.

    Then I actually DID start using it. Oh dear.

    If it works for the teachers, that's great. I, like your teachers, am using it... I take it from your upbeat mood that they are actually using it successfully and not still at the WOULD stage...?

    I'm hoping it will get better. It is the only system we have. I am hoping it will reveal some little nugget of wonderfulness that is, at present, keeping itself hidden...after all, like you there, that's what we've been lumbered with and we all have to make the best of whatever has been issued to us to use.
    Last edited by kitsch; 9th October 2009 at 05:43 PM.

  8. #38
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    Been off Ill for 3 days and only got back in to school yesterday... place is crazy as it's Open Evening on Monday... we've just had a new Digital Signage Large Monitor put up in Reception ready for our prospective parents and all the staff are talking about it - "We should have one in every classroom so we can see messages" which we could if we had a spare £150 - £200 thousand... so I say - well you could just read the messages off the Learning Platform while you are logged on to do your register... oh the Learning Platform's c**p is a response...

    Oh how I wish I worked in a Primary School - The ECO Club project I mentioned looks like it will be bigger than I thought - I mentioned it to a teacher at another school and got an immediate "Can we take part?" response.

    They say dogs are like their owners - I'm begining to think teachers are like their kids... Primary Teachers seem to look at something new and think "What can we use that for?" Just like a young child might. Whereas the secondary teachers here are more like teenagers and will either just sulk and ignore it or call it names.

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    RM are a joke....

    I have seen the latest incarnation of the bilge that is Kaleidos.

    It's an appalling example of how not to build a VLE. Staff switch off when confronted by this non user friendly, poorly implemented, restrictive garbage. Did I mention it's also an absolute rip off - as is the rest of the RM stuff - CC4 anyone?

    Trust me when I say you're better off using Moodle which, after you read the fairly cheap O'Reilly manual, is a breeze to set up, use and manage

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    Being new to the educational IT support world I came here hoping my initial frustrations with the Kaleidos learning platform might just be down to my inexperience. But from reading this thread it appears i'm not alone in finding it a bit of a shocker to deal with.

    I work at a medium sized primary school, 400-ish children, and I am the Network Manager here. I have only been in the full position since the start of January, as in December I was shadowing the previous lady who has now left. She had taken on the Kaleidos learning platform, and had a good slog at getting it going, she had setup learning spaces for different groups, the teachers, governors etc. It all seems to be there, and ready to go, but it is not being used.

    I've mentioned to a few teachers that I might try to revive it and get it going, which has mainly received the response 'well we did try using it'.. and that's where it ends! Now, i'm in a difficult situation because I'm new to the school, and there's this system that is in place that has obviously failed. I was trying to work out why it hadn't added me as a user and found out that our MIS uploader service hadn't worked since October 09 (that's now fixed.. so one step forward lol!)

    Since i'm new to this area of expertise I don't really want to be so bold and say Kaleidos is rubbish, because I don't have any experience in managing any other systems. Plus, the situation in my school is probably partly down to the schools initial implementation of it and not necessarily a failure within the platform's design itself.

    I'm not sure what to do really. I'm trying to get my head around it at the moment, but because I wasn't there for the launch I feel a bit disillusioned with it. I'm going to keep fiddling here and there but I do feel like i'm banging my head against a brick wall a tad.

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    @cbeeching - have a chat to a few of the more forthcoming teachers, and see what specifics they didn't get on with or had problems with. It could be that the issue was a poor implementation or training, rather than a product defect. Also consider getting RM in to (re)train and your colleagues on it.

    Of course, if it turns out to be bobbins, then sack it off and get something else, but I would start with trying to make good with the prior investment.

  12. Thanks to enjay from:

    cbeeching (8th February 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dav3y View Post
    We paid a lot of money for Kaleidos a few years back.
    We stopped using it a couple of years back and that was definately a positive step

    Of course it may be much better now if the full web version ever got released.
    Ditto to all of the above!

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    @cbeeching - have a chat to a few of the more forthcoming teachers, and see what specifics they didn't get on with or had problems with. It could be that the issue was a poor implementation or training, rather than a product defect. Also consider getting RM in to (re)train and your colleagues on it.

    Of course, if it turns out to be bobbins, then sack it off and get something else, but I would start with trying to make good with the prior investment.
    Yeah I think that's probably the best thing to do. I'm still trying to work out what we're paying/paid for this thing! Seems mad that it's sitting there being unused.

    Thanks.

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    @cbeeching - You might be in the same situation we are... I.E. Even if we had the best LP in the world the staff still wouldn't use it...

    I've been sorting through some of my papers because I'm just about to start training my fellow Governors at the Junior School. In one BECTA Document "Getting Started with your Learning Platform" on P1 under the title 3 steps to success No 1 is Have the commitment of your Senior Leadership Team

    and that is where we fall over... as much as I try to get things moving with no one pushing it from the top you end up going nowhere

    I work with lots of our Partner Primary Schools and some of them are doing fantastic things with KLP...

    It seems to be an attitude problem - If you want to make it work you can but if you set out to make it fail you can.

  16. #45

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    "We suggest an alternative model of managing technological change, one that reflects the dynamic and variable nature of contemporary organizations and technologies, and which accommodates iterative experimentation, use, and learning over time. We label such a model of managing technological change "improvisational," and suggest that it may enable organizations to take advantage of the evolving capabilities, emerging practices, and unanticipated outcomes that accompany use of new technologies in contemporary organizations." Orlikowski & Hofman, An Improvisational Model of Change Management (M.I.T. 1997)

    This has been my guiding light when attempting to gain interest in our VLE. I should add that I work in a secondary school and we use Moodle, though ‬I suspect that you may be able to achieve some of this with your own VLE. Don't expect everyone to add interactive lessons, make a start with material given by the exam bodies, for example, our Year 10/11 courses tend to feature Exam specifications which list Areas of Study, Knowledge, Skills & Understanding. The teacher can then add Schemes of Work with Levels, e.g. To achieve Level 5 you need to be able to etc..

    I managed to engage our English department by first getting them to put revision material online a few weeks before study leave began, and created forums so that if any pupils were struggling they could post to the forum, where either a teacher or another pupil would pick it up. I know from the stats that these sections were hammered by the pupils in the run up to the exams, and I believe advances were made in some grades attained by pupils. These stats were then used as hard evidence that the VLE was having a positive affect. SLT caught on quickly.

    I'd helped set up a photography course at the very beginning of our VLE's introduction, then found the teacher still handing out printed sheets asking pupils to create a PowerPoint presentation on certain photographers. I used the opportunity to show him how to set assignmenmts/homework on the VLE. Now he has a record of everything each pupil has done on the course attached to that pupil's name. I set up galleries for the pupils where they can peer review each other's work, and hopefully in the future examiners will be given acces to these galleries, rather than submitting CDs through the post, where they can then mark them.

    I ask for details of any new staff beginning school in the forthcoming term and give them a login to the VLE alongside setting up an email account. I email them the information and point them to the online training materials, which they can look at during the holidays before they start work at our school. New teachers don't know any different, for them the VLE has always been in operation at our school. Put on a map of the school, possibly with photographs of every member of staff. This is the ideal place for induction materials, rather than handing out sheaves of paper.

    We train and mentor graduate teachers, and to this end I've set up a sections where they can communicate with their mentors, link to teacher training websites etc. Not only does this get the trainees involved, but also the member of SLT responsible for handling their time at school, and a teacher from the faculty the trainees will be shadowing.

    I used to use Webman's very good online room booking system, but when we got the VLE I chose one which intergrated with it so that by logging onto the VLE they were automatically logged into the room booking system. It was step backward in sophistication, but a step forward in getting teachers to log into the VLE. Admin staff use it to locate teachers if they are not in their timetabled rooms, but are in fact using one of our IT suites. That's an improvisational use of technology.

    Policy documents can go online. Exam timetables. School clubs.

    Show SLT that these services are being used. It takes time. You have to stay on your toes, alert for these types of opportunity to promote the VLE in devious ways. And be prepared to do the hard work for them, at least initially.

    Get your ICTAC representatives in a meeting and demonstrate some of the possibilities of the VLE. It's their job to cascade this down to their faculties. Be prepared to show people how to do stuff at the drop of a hat as the topic may not come to the top of their pile again for a very long time. Be prepared for disappointments. Teachers have a lot on their plates.

    It's a long slow process.



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