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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Now BECTA has gone, do we NEED to have a VLE? Remote Desktop Services instead? in Technical; From what I gather, lots of schools have invested in VLEs purely based on BECTA telling them they needed one ...
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    Ben_Stanton's Avatar
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    Now BECTA has gone, do we NEED to have a VLE? Remote Desktop Services instead?

    From what I gather, lots of schools have invested in VLEs purely based on BECTA telling them they needed one by 2010 (or whatever the date was). I have spoken to many schools and what I hear time and time again is, yes we have a VLE but nobody uses it. Maybe I'm wrong - i'm hoping you guys can let me know.

    We still haven't got our sharepoint up and running yet and I am now debating if it is at all necessary. I am fairly confident it will only get used as a glorified 'public drive' no matter how much we insist. Plus, i'm still really not that impressed at the benefits and webparts available.

    My new idea is to actually just give our Public Drive an overhaul (new structuring etc. or maybe even a basic sharepoint install) and concentrate on getting Remote Desktop Services (server 2008) implemented. I see more benefits in students being able to access their files from home - but also the programs they need.

    Example
    Art set some work in Photoshop. The majority of students don't have Photoshop at home so are restricted to using it in school time. If they remote in, they can access their files in the user area AND run photoshop - from home!

    Just think, all those weird and wonderful apps, the specialist departmental software that has been on the network for years and can only be used in school time - now available at home 24/7!

    What are your thoughts - be brutal?!? How many others out there doing the same? Is a VLE a dead duck?

    Ben
    Last edited by Ben_Stanton; 10th June 2010 at 06:10 PM.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    I think that the idea of a school simply having a VLE is probably a little outdated these days, and a central platform, or signal box, which directs traffic to the appropriate place will certainly be needed. I don't want to call it a learning platform as that is too specific in one direction, but if we accept that more and more communication is going to be done electronically, then there needs to be a way of organizing the flow, and of storing the information.

    I'm not going to sing the praises of Sharepoint, or any other platform, for that matter, but surely the concept of having a single point such as a database, where the lines of information to and from staff, pupils, parents and governors can intersect is a positive step forward. People need information in order to make informed choices, and surely it is in the spirit of a more open society that schools go down this route.

    A practical example of this was when a lot of schooling was disrupted through heavy snowfalls earlier this year, and some of the best ways of communicating with both parents and pupils that school would be open or closed were through texts, emails and messages on school website/VLEs. I did listen to the local radio station for this information, but sometimes I missed it, and once or twice the information given was incorrect.

    Part of the strength of a VLE is that it allows for both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration pupil to pupil, pupil to teacher and so on. Our English Faculty are making great use of it during this period of study leave for Year 11 by creating specific forums where most problems can be addressed, and exam nerves calmed. Whilst it would be possible to create many stand-alone forums, wouldn't it be better if everyone was using the same tool to do this under one roof?

    The idea of a remote desktop is good, but this might exclude parents, the PTA and governors.

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    joe90bass's Avatar
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    With RDS you would need to do some serious testing on what apps will run under terminal services/RDS and with the likes of Photoshop,if it is does run (CS3 doesn't) then you will need to watch the RAM it uses, plus potentially CPU, HDD access, etc

    But, having said that, it is not a bad idea!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_Stanton View Post
    From what I gather, lots of schools have invested in VLEs purely based on BECTA telling them they needed one by 2010 (or whatever the date was). I have spoken to many schools and what I hear time and time again is, yes we have a VLE but nobody uses it. Maybe I'm wrong - i'm hoping you guys can let me know.

    We still haven't got our sharepoint up and running yet and I am now debating if it is at all necessary. I am fairly confident it will only get used as a glorified 'public drive' no matter how much we insist. Plus, i'm still really not that impressed at the benefits and webparts available.

    My new idea is to actually just give our Public Drive an overhaul (new structuring etc. or maybe even a basic sharepoint install) and concentrate on getting Remote Desktop Services (server 2008) implemented. I see more benefits in students being able to access their files from home - but also the programs they need.

    Example
    Art set some work in Photoshop. The majority of students don't have Photoshop at home so are restricted to using it in school time. If they remote in, they can access their files in the user area AND run photoshop - from home!

    Just think, all those weird and wonderful apps, the specialist departmental software that has been on the network for years and can only be used in school time - now available at home 24/7!

    What are your thoughts - be brutal?!? How many others out there doing the same? Is a VLE a dead duck?

    Ben
    Just slightly off topic, how much resources would remote desktop services take per user?

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    To answer the OP ... yes.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Ok ... not completely fair to leave it at that ... it was but I was bored.

    Ok, first tell me what you think a VLE is and then what your school thinks a VLE is.

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Licenses. Rember MS Office is Per machine, that includes those that only run it via RDS.

    If you have an Adobe site license read it carefully. Pretty sure it only covers machines in one physical location.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    As it's World Cup time, and in a sporting spirit, a VLE is a football team. Like any other it has eleven players (plus substitutes); and like football teams some are better than others for reasons of monetary investment, or for bringing young players through from the youth squad. Managers (cough) in both disciplines can set the tone, and in this day and age where players earn fortunes and generally call the tune, have to employ a variety of tactics to fashion a winning team.

    VLE is a convenient reduction of a wider concept, much as we can point to a Bentley or a Citroen 2CV and say "car". I think the "V" and the "E" are self-explanatory, it's the "L" in the middle which is the difficult bit to get right. Towards the end of last year I conducted a survey in my school to determine the (VLE) training needs of teachers. The majority wanted training to be scheduled/timetabled, and to have someone stand at the front of the class and deliver "learning" in the classic chalk and talk fashion. The supplementary question asked if teachers preferred this method of learning because this is the way they had learnt at school. The overwhelming response was "YES". What I have found is that it's not how young a teacher is, but how recently they came to teaching which determined how readily they accepted working with a VLE.

    Before the recent General Election the focus of learning was changing, and the idea of "Learning to Learn", where pupils develop the skills to do their own research and collaborate with their peers in order to find solutions to the new challenges facing them was in the ascendency. There has been some talk of learning by rote under the new Coalition Government, so I wait to see what form and importance, if any, VLEs will take in the coming months and years.

    I feel that the concept of a VLE, properly maintained and updated, can be a place where the idea of Learning to Learn can best serve this purpose.

    My school, to some extent, thinks a VLE is what I say it is. This is not intended as a flippant or self-important answer, but simply to illustrate how carefully one needs to tread when introducing and explaining new concepts.

  9. 3 Thanks to beeswax:

    gaz350 (11th June 2010), GrumbleDook (11th June 2010), webman (11th June 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    Before the recent General Election the focus of learning was changing, and the idea of "Learning to Learn", where pupils develop the skills to do their own research and collaborate with their peers in order to find solutions to the new challenges facing them was in the ascendency.
    And what a mistake that was!

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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    Just slightly off topic, how much resources would remote desktop services take per user?
    Depends what they're doing but it's surprising how under used "PC's" are in most roles!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
    And what a mistake that was!
    Nope, wasn't a mistake. L2L (and the other forms it takes) are in the same group as 'research skills' at Uni. They can be pretty essential and if your curriculum doesn't teach them as part of specific subjects then you have to look at teaching them separately. People might label them as 'new fangled' and a fad, but they aren't ... they are heavily linked to independent learning and have been around for centuries. How they are now taught may differ, but the concept is the same.

    A good example would be to have a FAQ on a forum, or perhaps some mentors / noted members, to help people work out the best way to interact with others, share information, ask questions and use the results of this in the daily job. Nowt new ... as far as geeks are concerned this goes back to the very first RFCs and earlier.

  13. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    beeswax (11th June 2010)

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    You took the words right out of my mouth, as Dos_Box might say.



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