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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Which Learning Platform would you recommend? in Technical; We are considering purchasing a new learning platform. We are currently using Uniservity which is completely not meeting our needs. ...
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    Which Learning Platform would you recommend?

    We are considering purchasing a new learning platform. We are currently using Uniservity which is completely not meeting our needs. Were looking at Core at the moment, is anyone using it? Any feedback would be great. We like the look of the 'one stop shop' for email, AD logon, reporting to parents, and write access to SIMS.

    One important feature to us is having access to our shared drives, so we're mainly thinking of locally hosted vle's.

    Any feedback from any platform you use would really help us in our decision. We've got an active SMT leading the vle, but with Uniservity being so unreliable it hasn't really moved forward in the way we'd hoped.

    Thanks

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    Moodle, of course. SIMS write access is in the pipeline before sept.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    @nfrancis - What age group are your pupils?

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    dsm
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    Frog (Frog Learning Platform | The UKs most advanced Learning Platform) all the way. So many benefits over any other VLE out there. Fully supported and they supply the whole thing, you don't need separate software for each part. VLE, web site, parent portal, software from home even primary VLEs can be hosted by a secondary school with Frog.

    Integration with SIMS and CMIS, Active Directory, server on site, huge amount of disk space.

    No charge for additional disk space or for adding extra users.

    Completely customisable unlike most VLEs.

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    @nfrancis:

    It all depends on what your needs as a school are and at what level your Teaching staff and Support members have regarding IT.

    if they are of a middle to high level IT literacy then I would advocate Moodle if not and you have plenty of money then Frog would be a way to go.

    Apparently Ofsted have stated that VLEs and MTLEs are not producing the goods and having little or no impact on the teaching and learning of the students.

    This makes me wonder if it is the content being produced by the teaching staff which is having the impact on the students value of the learning platform?

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    we use core (Talmos) they have really sorted it out!

    Hi, we have used CORE for our vle for just over 3 years now, the products are great the VLE itself is brilliant in what it does, can sometimes be a little complicated, but they have taken all of this onboard and have been changing bits! The quick links are fab, especially now it functions in ALL browsers. As everything sits within sharepoint we have found this opens up some really good extra options with getting sharepoint content. Teachers love it, being able to create there own pages. We are just brining online with parents and so far so good, the sims webparts are doing their job and it means that information is now far more up to date. Communication between parents and the school seems to be improving too!
    I would recommend CORE to anyone, lovely piece of kit + have a new designer who creates some amazing master templates! we have just had all ours done and it really makes a difference!

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Personally I think Moodle are leading the way. It's open source, plenty of user guides and plenty of add-ons to customise your VLE. It does lack e-mail, but the likes of Zimbra can work along side it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Personally I think Moodle are leading the way. It's open source, plenty of user guides and plenty of add-ons to customise your VLE. It does lack e-mail, but the likes of Zimbra can work along side it.
    Moodle uses the operating systems Mail Transfer Agent (MTA). The MTA just forwards the mail on wherever the accounts are held (zimbra,exchange,gmail). Teachers can email students SIMS teaching groups this way by using the messaging function in moodle, provided the moodle install knows all the addresses.

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    Something you may not have come across before as it was only released this year @BETT:

    OPENHIVE Products Learning

    Might be worth you getting a demo?

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    Michael's Avatar
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    I think VLEs offer you two routes, well three possibly in future. Either an open source solution which requires some work and regular maintenance either by the school, LA or a combination or a paid for all in one solution such as Frog but this will require a big budget comparatively.

    Longterm I suspect MIS companies will also start providing VLE add-ons. This would make sense of course as MIS databases/systems contain useful information and currently many VLEs such as Moodle are connecting to MIS systems to retrieve and use that data for whatever purpose. I believe with Sims they'll be using MS SharePoint Server.

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    If your a primary school then i would not look at Core, As to be honest we have it and it is not very Primary School Friendly in my eyes.. you would be better of with somthing like FROG if your looking to throw some money at it.

    If your looking to throw more time into it rather than money then consider looking at Moodle as this is free and just get that how you want it.

    Dont get me wrong Core is very good and powerful, pricey at times!! but does work and i have had to work closly with them to actually getting working okayish for sharepoint still awaiting there development team to tweak there software to work with what i have done with SP as they did not think of people who like myself have customized sharepoint quite heavily.

    So yeah

    James.

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    We went with Frog because it does everything we want:

    • Hosted internally so dodgy internet doesn't affect it (at the time ours was very unreliable)
    • Hosts website as well as VLE
    • Integration with AD & SIMS
    • Fully customisable


    We don't use it but it also has built in email.

    I've also found their technical support to be very good and their sales people surprisingly honest. (I think they also got the nod at the time because the other companies we were evaluating had salespeople who were either extremely evasive or couldn't get their demos to work at all).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 36Degrees View Post
    We went with Frog because it does everything we want:

    • Hosted internally so dodgy internet doesn't affect it (at the time ours was very unreliable)
    • Hosts website as well as VLE
    • Integration with AD & SIMS
    • Fully customisable


    We don't use it but it also has built in email.

    I've also found their technical support to be very good and their sales people surprisingly honest. (I think they also got the nod at the time because the other companies we were evaluating had salespeople who were either extremely evasive or couldn't get their demos to work at all).
    The fact it's internal is one of the things that makes frog less attractive for me, not more. Especially if you're going the root of getting a cluster set up and are going to have 3 or 4 potentially primary schools using it at the same time. I also invisage people using the VLE more from home than at school which would make a hosted solution better.

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    If you are a primary school you should definately look at DB Primary, who sponser this forum!

    The platform is easy to use for children, even easier for teachers and requires NO training.

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    I'm with Bossman in that it doesn't matter so much what the platform is but how it fits into your whole school planning, what sort of resources do you make available ... but would also add that it needs to consider how much independent learning you expect the students to do, how much parental engagement you want to use it for (ie not just online reporting, but also parental surveys, discussions, governor areas, etc) and what sort of business tools you are going to use (group workspaces, etc)

    I tend to go towards sharepoint based platforms for this for maximum flexibility ... some have funky silverlight overlays and heavily re-engineered designs to make them really easy for certain aspects (openHive is a good example), or might be more traditional sharepoint look and feel, with a possible more professional air (LP+), but still having the flexibility for new tools to be designed and plugged in.

    Moodle is a really good platform for course management and there are some really good tools in there for the use as a VLE, but it misses some things for me for ease of use and ease of administration. It has many benefits with the removal of licence costs, but you have costs for hosting, configuration, design, backup etc ....

    Other platforms all have their good points too, but some are teacher centric (upload your resources and manage what *you* as the teacher does with them), are based on the idea that kids cannot understand complex systems (have you ever seen some of the games that they play, whether it is board games or computer games?), or that they are that the school wants something to fit in with exactly how they work now, without looking at opportunities to change (on both sides).

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