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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Moodle for primary school? in Technical; Hi, OK - following on from the Uniservity thread, the Head has asked me to look at some alternatives. I'll ...
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    timjwatts's Avatar
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    Moodle for primary school?

    Hi,

    OK - following on from the Uniservity thread, the Head has asked me to look at some alternatives.

    I'll be ringing the DB Primary guys for a demo account to look at but I don't have a good feeling about their stuff - the few sites running it I found spew a couple of dozen W3C validator errors and that is seldom a good sign.

    Frog: Rumours are it may cost too much;

    Moodle: Well, I can install and test it myself (that you opensource).
    But before I spend a huge amount of time, a quick question or two here might be in order:

    The required feature set for our school's use will be pretty much:

    1) Simple web page creation;
    2) Easy bulk photos upload and display; Ditto for newsletter
    3) Private (aka password protected) and public pages at will;
    4) Hosted service for small amounts of money including site backups.
    5) Ability to turn off as much other functionality as possible so it doesn't get in the way and confuse people.

    Do you reckon, in a nutshell, with a hosted service, moodle would suit?

    Thanks in advance,

    Tim

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Do you really need the features of a VLE/Learning Platform? Wouldn't something like Joomla fulfill the requirements of points 1, 2, 3 & 5? You'd have to do a little digging for Point 4.

    Those rumours regarding Frog are true in your case.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Moodle covers all of the points you mentioned. My Nephews school uses moodle - hes 8 and loves working on it as its something new and computer based.

    He also enjoys the forums part so he can post different "cool" things to show his mates about new doctor who etc

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    Moodle would do it but I don't think it would be worth the time and effort for teacher training. Moodle is very functional and works better for older children I'd expect, I would imagine younger children would benefit from "better looking" solutions.

    I agree with beeswax I think a normal CMS system would do what you require, its the planning lessons, setting homework and the other more specialised things that make a VLE different to a CMS.

    Also yes Frog is expensive, impressive to look at but expensive.

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    I disagree that Moodle works better with older children - it can be made pretty and teachers can be shown how to use it with reception up to year 6 -it's just a question of how you present it to them - I train technophobic primary teachers to use Moodle every week and use it with Y5 and Y6 myself - I have a video I can send you privately if you wish (pupil names on it hence not public) to give you an idea of primary Moodle use.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    And the counter to secretlife

    Moodle is VERY "standard" teacher unfriendly - no-one at any of my schools creates content unless they are very ICT savvy.

    This year, I have 2 headteachers who are pushing the teachers (again!) into using it. Lets see what happens.

    Your requirements seem less than than a VLE and more of an interactive website which is better served by Joomla.

    regards

    Simon
    PS Sorry secretlife

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    timjwatts's Avatar
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    OK - thanks folks.

    All useful comments.

    I'll try moodle out of curiously and see if it can have the "advanced features" hacked off.

    Other than that, CMS-y is probably the way forward...

    Cheers

    Tim

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    My 2p worth ..

    Moodle is a great platform if you're going to use it to it's full potential or putting on content that will engage the children at your school. As SimpleSi said though, it's not the easiest of platforms to use. Being a techy styled person and someone who understands how the web works due to my freelance work, I find it fairly easy, but our ICT Teacher, who although not techy savvy, is quite understanding of the ICT world, had a meet with one of the Moodle Techs from Lancashire the other day (as Moodle is the preferred VLE in the County) and she just didn't get it at all.

    I can see that I will end up doing most of the uploading and prep on our moodle for the first part and the school are probably going to have to pay for a number of staff to attend a Moodle Training Course to eliviate any pressure of me having to do it all.

    Once you find your way round, it is nice in the fact it uses the TinyMCE components for editing of text (or something similar to those at least) so that changing font style, adding links, is relativing easy, but if you want something fancy instead of the standard lists of courses then you need to have a knowledge of how to do things.

    If you're not going to make use of the facilities of courses and all that jazz that Moodle was designed for, I would strongly suggest choosing a CMS (Joomla, Drupal, even WordPress works well in schools for news based sites) that doesn't have all that extra stuff that could confuse staff, but simply allows the site to have news added, and if you want to add interactive games and content, you can look after that side.

    Most schools actually run 2 different websites, a main one (either Dynamic (CMS etc) or Static) and then a VLE (Moodle, Frog, etc). VLEs by nature, take longer to setup as they are more involved.

    All in all, I believe that Moodle is developing and is a strong tool for schools, but has to be used to the schools advantages and is by no means an off the shelf solution for a school website, and if it's that you're looking for, go down the Joomla, Drupal, Wordpress route. All of which are free so you simply have to pay for the hosting, depending on your LEA, you might even have free webspace that you can tap into.

    I don't know if that 2p worth helps at all, but I thought I might as well put it down.

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    apt I really don't agree with self promotion at all on free ideas-sharing forums but if you are worried about your primary school teachers offloading the work onto you then why not get them a copy of my book (see profile) as I wrote it specifically from experience of training Lancashire primary school teachers ( I am not connected to Lancashire ICT tech consultants btw - I'm a non-ICT teacher who Moodles)Find a site that will get you a free download and print if off if you like

  10. Thanks to secretlife from:

    soveryapt (23rd September 2010)

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    Tim -if you don't want them using some of what you consider to be the more advanced features then in the site administration>modules>activitie>manage acitivities just hide them with the "eye" and they won't appear in courses. Same with blocks or resources

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    Simplesi - that's you off my Christmas card list

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    timjwatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by secretlife View Post
    apt I really don't agree with self promotion at all on free ideas-sharing forums but if you are worried about your primary school teachers offloading the work onto you then why not get them a copy of my book (see profile) as I wrote it specifically from experience of training Lancashire primary school teachers ( I am not connected to Lancashire ICT tech consultants btw - I'm a non-ICT teacher who Moodles)Find a site that will get you a free download and print if off if you like
    It's not so much that I mind doing stuff - I can do that on the train with my laptop + phone tether - that would be fine if there were 2 or so other parents with IT skillz.

    It's more that I don't want to lead them down a road where they'll get stuffed if I'm not around :-o

    I always remind myself that their job is Teaching (at which they are all very good - we're lucky like that) - but they're not hackers.
    I reckon there are probably 3 or so "have a go" folk on the staff - they will give up soon if we don't find a better solution. And the rest hate computers but might be persuaded to have a go if it is all swimmingly straightforward.

    I suspect few of them will take too kindly to another job (ie go attend lengthy training, read a book etc) and I'm not around in the day these days which complicates things, so customising moodle/joomla etc to leave them with a very pared down but really-simple-to-add/edit a page is a good start.

    If they really get into it, then there could be a case to switch features back on one by one.

    Cheers

    Tim

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by secretlife View Post
    apt I really don't agree with self promotion at all on free ideas-sharing forums but if you are worried about your primary school teachers offloading the work onto you then why not get them a copy of my book (see profile) as I wrote it specifically from experience of training Lancashire primary school teachers ( I am not connected to Lancashire ICT tech consultants btw - I'm a non-ICT teacher who Moodles)Find a site that will get you a free download and print if off if you like
    I'll look it up .. I mean at my particular school, we're redeveloping Moodle along with County anyway for the Specialist School Sector, so it's a slightly different set-up for me .. but still, it's worth a look ..

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