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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Deadlines on VLE’s in Technical; Hey People I’m trying to find out what we have to have achieved by certain deadline on VLE’s, for instance ...
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    andy_nic's Avatar
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    Deadlines on VLE’s

    Hey People

    I’m trying to find out what we have to have achieved by certain deadline on VLE’s, for instance I believe that we have to have parents on by September to do attendance. But is this just on a VLE with attendance, or do we have to so it’s reporting behaviour and assessment? If not what are the deadlines for theses.

    I tried looking on Becta’s website, and found some useful document but not what I was looking for. And no one can give me a clear answer.

    Help

    *I know this is the wrong area, sorry, only noticed after i posted it, click the wrong by mistake can some move is possible* please
    Last edited by andy_nic; 28th April 2010 at 07:57 AM.

  2. #2

    witch's Avatar
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    Moved as requested

  3. Thanks to witch from:

    andy_nic (28th April 2010)

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Only saw this cos I read the Virtualisation forums.

    You don't need a VLE per se, but you do need some way for parents to access your MIS data, primarily attendance and reporting as you said. Many VLEs like Moodle don't offer you an easy way to do this as there's no official tie-in with a MIS like SIMS which leaves you a bit stuck. Companies like Uniservity who work with Capita will give you access to SIMS data for parents, or you can go with Capita's own SLG solution that does precisely what's required.

    The Becta guidelines are unclear and have been changed several times. There used to be a real-time data requirement that meant only Capita's own product would have met the requirements because Capita are the only people 'allowed' to talk directly to the SIMS SQL database. However, this has now been dropped to my knowledge so products that do a nightly 'data sync' like SWGfL's Merlin product will do the job.

    I don't think you need to have all your parents online and working for September, however you do need to be working towards having a system in place and working. Is anyone going to knock on your door and complain if you don't? Maybe not, but we've known about this stuff for a couple of years so it's a good idea to have something in place, even if they haven't made it easy for us.

    Capita are ****ing ******* when it comes to vendor lock-in, so we've ended up going with a hosted SLG solution, which is turning into its own nightmare, much like SIMS...

    Chris

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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    If you are a moodle schools there are currently two MIS integration on offer, so your not stuck.

    Duke is right that the guidelines keep changing, the best answer is start looking now and plan for the integration over the summer, then have a gradual roll out to parents.

    I believe SWGfL is now getting its data via SIF, this allows parental engagement products to hook into to the infrstructure and get the data required.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    If you are a moodle schools there are currently two MIS integration on offer, so your not stuck.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest Moodle means you have no options open to you. You're completely right that levels of MIS integration are available for Moodle, but I don't think they're official ones from the MIS providers. I know there are a couple of third-party companies saying they can get data out of SIMS and into Moodle, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

    Capita say they're the only ones allowed to touch the SIMS DB (did you know that if you modify it yourself directly through MS SQL you're apparently breaking the licence agreement - we don't even own our own data!) unless you pay some extravagant developers licensing fee which locks out a lot off the smaller and open source developers.

    There's a thread on the Moodle forums about SIMS integration that's gone on for years. Unless it's changed recently then it's never really gone anywhere.

    andy_nic - What MIS and VLE (if any) are you currently using?

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    andy_nic's Avatar
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    We have RM Kaleidos Learning Platform, it Exports from Sims, but due to recent updates both on Sims and on RM, I’m having a few issues getting some parent accounts to be created(around 150 – 170 out of 2000-2500) and downloading them because the download all feature stopped working on the KLP .

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    We have Frog here and are in the initial stages of implementing their Parental Engagement Portal which will be accessed through the Website / VLE as this already has a SIMS data extractor which we know works. Initially we are only going to use the features that meet the minimum requirements but hope to use the others, like Parent Voice, later on.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    I presented to Northants Primary schools about this today so this might be a lengthy post ... but I hope it clears up a few things or at least tells you where a school should look to get information when making decisions.

    The strategy is parental engagement ... not online reporting, but parental engagement. If you go onto the Next Generation Learning: Learning Technology Inspires Children's Education at Home and in Schools website you will find things like the "Oh, Nothing Much" report from Tanya Byron as well as links to the toolkit for primary schools to help move towards online reporting - About Becta - Publications - Exploiting ICT to improve parental engagement, moving towards online reporting: Toolkit for primary schools - Becta

    The materials that talk about parental engagement are the Children's Plan (2007) :
    1. Parents will be contacted by a staff member at secondary school before their child starts at the school;

    2. Parents will be able to attend information sessions at the new school;

    3. Every child will have a personal tutor who knows them in the round, and acts as a main contact for parents;

    4. Parents will have regular, up to date information on their child’s attendance, behaviour and progress in learning;

    5. Parents Councils will ensure that parents’ voices are heard within the school; 

    6. Parents’ complaints will be managed in a straightforward and open way.


    and the June 2009 White Paper
    1. Every parent will have opportunities, information and support to exercise choice with and on behalf of their child
    2. They will have the information and support they need to be involved in their child’s learning and development
    3. There will be a Home School Agreement outlining their rights and their responsibilities for their child’s schooling
    4. They will have access to extended services including support and advice on parenting.


    The key comments are in red.
    This is backed up by Ofsted criteria ... "How effective are leadership and management?" in particular "The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers" ... and this is where the teeth are. If you cannot meet the criteria (posted below) then you will not get that grade.

    Good - The school has a highly positive relationship with most groups of parents and carers. The school regularly asks parents and carers for their views and ensures that these are used to inform important decisions about whole-school matters. Parents and carers are kept well informed about their children’s achievement, well-being and development. The school helps parents and carers to support their children’s learning in different ways. The effective liaison with parents and carers contributes to improvements in pupils’ achievement, well-being and development. There are clear and accessible channels for parents and carers to communicate with the school which the school actively encourages parents to pursue. The school’s systems for keeping parents informed about aspects of its work run smoothly.
    The school has a highly positive relationship with all groups of parents and carers, particularly those groups of parents and carers who might traditionally find working with the school difficult. Parents and carers are heavily involved in decision-making on key matters through well-established procedures. Parents and carers are exceptionally well informed about all aspects of their own children’s achievement, well-being and development. The school provides tailored guidance and information about precise ways parents and carers can support their children’s learning across a wide range of subjects. All groups of parents and carers are able to communicate with the school through a wide range of media. Consistent and productive partnerships ensure that parents and carers are strongly engaged with their children’s learning and the school’s work. The school’s systems for keeping parents informed about aspects of its work ensure that parents and carers have coordinated, up-to-date, accurate and timely information.
    The requirement is that schools are expected to be working towards these criteria by Sept 2010 for secondaries and 2012 for primaries. It is an expectation ... and I have heard of a few companies pushing that it is a legal requirement. It is not. However, should you not be working towards it then it will be challenged by Ofsted.

    Becta, DCSF and Ofsted all point that technology is a key tool in this and that by using a learning platform, linked with information from your MIS then it will allow you to deliver a heck of a lot quicker. However, technology is only a tool. It has to be part of a larger plan. You then get other tools ... podcasts, blogs, SMS alerts, discussion forums ... but these should not distract from other successful tools such as parents' evenings and so on.

    So there is a quick summary. This is based on advice and guidance from Becta, as is also based around good practice (as can be seen on the primary and secondary toolkits).

  10. 3 Thanks to GrumbleDook:

    apoth0r (10th May 2010), Duke (29th April 2010), themanfromict (29th April 2010)

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    There are other events coming up shortly from Becta about this. Please let your school know about these.
    About Becta - Parental engagement through online reporting conferences - Becta

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    [*]Parents will have regular, up to date information on their child’s attendance, behaviour and progress in learning;

    Hang on - nothing in there says this must be electronic or delivered on demand. We give out paper-based reports every term which contain all this information. Does that actually tick this box?!

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Hang on - nothing in there says this must be electronic or delivered on demand. We give out paper-based reports every term which contain all this information. Does that actually tick this box?!
    I think that if you gave the parents the ability to raise issues and have meetings based on the reports, it probably would, kind of, to a degree. GrumbleDook is completely correct that it's about getting parents involved and being proactive about communication and getting information out. I think Becta would very much like it to be IT-based because it's probably the best way of making access easy and providing up-to-date information. If the real-time requirement was still in place then your solution wouldn't work, and I think you'd probably be frowned upon for having something that was only once a term, when they'd really like parents to be able to look up recent information at any time whenever they had concerns.

    Chris

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Parents can call or write to the school any time they want, and tutors will never refuse a meeting if asked for one. Sounds like parental engagement to me...

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Parents can call or write to the school any time they want, and tutors will never refuse a meeting if asked for one. Sounds like parental engagement to me...
    Please read the Ofsted criteria ... wide range of media ... choosing between printing it on paper or card is not a wide range of media (honestly ... a serious comment from someone!)

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    enjay's Avatar
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    One could argue that print and online isn't a wide range of media either - I think you need minimum 3 options for a range, and more than that for a wide range.

    Not that we are bound by this anyway, being an independent school!

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    I thought the key requirements were:

    1) Report must include achievement, progress, attendance, behaviour and special needs
    2) By September 2008 “on a timely and frequent basis - this should be at least once per term”
    3) By September 2010 “real-time access to this information wherever they are and whenever they want”

    This is based on Jim Knight's statements at BETT in January 2008.

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