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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Learning Platform for Northamptonshire Schools in Technical; I will share a comment I was talking about sharepoint with Microsoft other day and comment to me was sharepoint ...
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    Re: Learning Platform for Northamptonshire Schools

    I will share a comment I was talking about sharepoint with Microsoft other day and comment to me was sharepoint is good product but sharepoint works really well when you get third party who adds on that education element to it ands build on it.

    Also in my view, moodle is good vle it is not at moment a learning platform. Hence why you can get moodle webparts for sharepoint as that is good basis for learning platform.

    Russell

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    Re: Learning Platform for Northamptonshire Schools

    But you can link Moodle (if you so desire) with other non-Microsoft products to get something to satisfy the "platform" buzzword.

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    Re: Learning Platform for Northamptonshire Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    Nothing.

    According to Becta, Moodle solutions are technically up to the job (they tick ALL boxes) but there is no support. Despite the many companies you can purchase Moodle support from, this fact was omitted from Becta's research and therefore Becta's framework excludes Moodle.

    I believe "Microsoft financial incentives" play a large part in the decision making process.
    By the way framework means companies solutions are approved littler secret you can by moodle support/hosting via RM and one it's partners.

    Russell

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    Re: Learning Platform for Northamptonshire Schools

    The whole thing about the framework is that it rubber stamps companies rather that technologies.

    Theoretically you can get any of the companies to provide what you want, whether it is Moodle or MS LG.

    Whether they will provide it or not is another story.

    As for the Northants procurement, the companies on the framework were looked at and could not provide a solution that was cross-phase as well as dealing with special schools too. That is why companies were looked at that could provide a solution based around MSLG as a flexible start.

    LP+ and Shirelands Language College are partnered to provide both the platform as well as content.

    The big problem with any platform is usable content. That is why companies like Talmos do deals with Brittanica.

    Yes, there are lots of Moodle courses out there but trying to get them logged and shared is difficult, even the work that Dagza did in e-subjects.co.uk is not enough (but a good start).

    This is why North West Grid for Learning have offered to host and run the National Digital Resource Bank.

    Lots of LAs are signing up to this and hopefully individual schools will do so too.

    This is the sort of community based sharing that we all know works well and should be supported as much as possible.

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    I will share a comment I was talking about sharepoint with Microsoft other day and comment to me was sharepoint is good product but sharepoint works really well when you get third party who adds on that education element to it ands build on it.
    Don't agree at all, we use sharepoint in our school as a VLE and its great even without any modifications.

    I feel sorry for anyone with a "managed" VLE solution, its one of those decisions that seems to be made by non techy people at councils rather than the people who actually use the system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ittech View Post
    Don't agree at all, we use sharepoint in our school as a VLE and its great even without any modifications.

    I feel sorry for anyone with a "managed" VLE solution, its one of those decisions that seems to be made by non techy people at councils rather than the people who actually use the system.
    The people who use the VLE in the end are teachers and students! Something that tends to be forgotten by school techie types.

    For most schools a managed VLE is the best solution as it's something off the shelf and the school techie doesn't end up being the gate keeper.

    What a school techie wants is a black box he can shove in a corner that only he knows how to maintain hence protecting his job for the next ten years!

    Whilst ICT admins have an important part to play in schools and do need to be part of the loop in the VLE decision making process they do not have the required knowledge of education needs to drive the decision making process. A VLE should not be seen as a piece of software which is installed and then maintained, over the years! We have had all sorts of software installed on school computers that are never used. A VLE forms a part the day to day runnning of the school, fortunately senior leadership teams are realising this now inside schools and taking part in the process. When you have the SLT on side then the change process can be rolled through the school, when its handed off to the school techie then a box gets installed and nothing happens.

    I feel sorry for anyone who has an unmanaged solution.
    Last edited by Fedaykin; 27th January 2008 at 04:31 PM.

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    @Fedaykin
    I think you misunderstood the thread - many of the managed solution are not up to the job, and do not have the features that teachers need for collaboration.
    Its nothing to do with techies keeping their jobs It's about integrating a usable solution into the school rather than a solitary blackbox like the managed service appliances. There is infinitely more possibilities if it's run in-house, its just more flexible. SMT should definately be onboard with VLE's, but they should know the facts, not just what the LA salesman said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    @Fedaykin
    I think you misunderstood the thread - many of the managed solution are not up to the job, and do not have the features that teachers need for collaboration.
    Its nothing to do with techies keeping their jobs It's about integrating a usable solution into the school rather than a solitary blackbox like the managed service appliances. There is infinitely more possibilities if it's run in-house, its just more flexible. SMT should definately be onboard with VLE's, but they should know the facts, not just what the LA salesman said.
    No...I'm talking about the benefits of hosted/managed solutions over locally hosted solutions (Moodle etc...)

    The major managed solutions are up to the job and far more so than something thrown together in house by the school techie. Have you actually been to a school which uses a managed solution? Before you state that they are not up for the job I suggest you go to some of the schools which have made good use of a managed solution.

    The LA when it goes through the process of choosing a preffered solution for the area it is concerned with service targets, educational needs and the ability to deliver collaboration across the LA.

    Hosted solutions are the way forward as is clearly being shown by the market trends at the moment. I don't think the school techie has the education skills to know what a teacher or student needs.

    On the other hand the leading VLE suppliers employ some of the top educationalists in the UK at the moment ( I know I've met them). The top VLE's are not some sort of evil empire (certainly the VLE I personally deal with are a great group of people). Contact companies like Fronter or Uniservity, I think you will be surprised about how knowledgable their educationalists are about the needs of schools with this kind of technology.

    I also feel it's very much techies keeping their jobs and protecting their little empire. I have seen schools with locally hosted solutions which have either gone nowhere or ground to a halt when the person who looks after it leaves.

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    Over the last 12 months I've been helping our LA choose a managed system for our schools to choose to opt-in if they so chose.

    I agree that a managed solution for a large number of schools is the preferred route, as many primaries and some secondaries don't have the expertise in house.

    However I don't agree with:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    The major managed solutions are up to the job and far more so than something thrown together in house by the school techie.
    Having looked at all 10 approved learning platforms and some others I can't agree with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    ......I don't think the school techie has the education skills to know what a teacher or student needs.
    Pretty much all techies I have met have been students at some point in their life.

    Personnal having spent over 7 years working in education I believe I have education skill needed to understand the needs of teachers too (if the teachers actually know what the need themselves)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    On the other hand the leading VLE suppliers employ some of the top educationalists in the UK at the moment
    Having met many of these "top educationalists" over the last few years, I don't share your opinion of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    I also feel it's very much techies keeping their jobs and protecting their little empire. I have seen schools with locally hosted solutions which have either gone nowhere or ground to a halt when the person who looks after it leaves.
    I've seen lots of managed systems never being used or abandoned after teaching staff who have driven the use it have left too.

    Its easy to make these wide sweeping remarks, but bare in mind there is good and bad to be found in both approaches.

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    The major managed solutions are up to the job and far more so than something thrown together in house by the school techie
    A Moodle/SIMS/Drupal/Elgg/Mediawiki/Active Directory/Email system can be pretty featuresome and pretty simple to implement. I've yet to see a VLE that integrates this well or one that has the developer base that some of these projects have.

    I appreciate the LA's must show that they are meeting government targets wrt eportfolios/vle's and I don't have any problem with hosted solutions per se, just in the way they are implemented. The 'when the technician leaves' argument is frequently used as a sales tactic, but it falls flat on its face if a school hires someone who has responsibility to look after a bespoke system.

    also feel it's very much techies keeping their jobs and protecting their little empire.
    The argument goes both ways, VLE companies have empires too - but they have less contact with the staff and the students, and money to make.

  11. 2 Thanks to CyberNerd:

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  12. #26

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    I have to agree with a chunk of what Steve said ... but I also agree with a chunk of your stuff ... damn, doing that fence sitting thing again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    No...I'm talking about the benefits of hosted/managed solutions over locally hosted solutions (Moodle etc...)
    Are you talking about the T&L benefits, the TCO benefits or technical benefits?

    The major managed solutions are up to the job and far more so than something thrown together in house by the school techie.
    Ah ... at this point you fall down on a large chunk of your arguement. Take one of the largest implementations of virtual learning, the Open University. I am not talking about their use of Moodle ... I am talking about their use of FirstClass from Open Text. This is a very powerful environment and can have huge amounts that can be hand tailored for the needs of the institute or the courses run ... and that is what the OU have been doing for years ... having techies throwing things together. Then we get to Moodle ... one of the most heavily used environments that is based around oportunities for development, the like of which you are unlikely to get with most other VLEs (Sharepoint is slightly different to this but more on that later!) Remember that the school techie may actually be more qualified in project management than the ICT lead teacher, and have far more experience of implementing document management solutions that the school bursar. You are stereo-typing people ... a dangerous thing to do.

    Have you actually been to a school which uses a managed solution? Before you state that they are not up for the job I suggest you go to some of the schools which have made good use of a managed solution.
    I'll back yo on this one ... *any* solution will work. Honestly ... they can be made to work. Some may take more time, some may not have the same level of impact ... some may just be a stepping stone until the school learns what a difference learning environments can make, some are the perfect solution and don't need to be changed. It varies from school to school, but yes, I agree that managed solutions can and will work.

    The LA when it goes through the process of choosing a preffered solution for the area it is concerned with service targets, educational needs and the ability to deliver collaboration across the LA.
    Yep ... I can heartily agree with this ... and as much as some people here may not like me saying this, there is nothing worse that someone stuck in a school that thinks they know everything and are not willing to collaborate, and that goes across the board ... senior management, teachers, techies, governors, sponsors, parents, kids ....

    Hosted solutions are the way forward as is clearly being shown by the market trends at the moment. I don't think the school techie has the education skills to know what a teacher or student needs.
    Wow ... how wrong can that statement be? Whilst not every techie (be they an IT Technician, a Network Manager, an eLearning Manager, etc) is employed to specifically have a background in education or has a job description that directly ties into the educational needs or targets in a school I think you will be pleasantly surprised how many are far more switched on than you think. Lets' face it ... when you look at all the hype and buzzwords that surround VLEs and Learning Platforms you will find that they are about changing the way students learn and teachers teach. You will see phrases such as 'just in case' and 'just in time' ... we have a history of everything being taught 'just in case' ... memorising lots of information and whilst that is not a bad thing, we are now in a world where we have to take in a lot of 'just in time' information. We have to learn how to gain information and assimilate it when we need it. There is physically too much information for us to learn and remember all the facts ... we now have to learn concepts and skills and gain additional information when needed. Welcome to the world of the IT support. I can hardly find any department in a school that this is more relevant to. Why do you think EduGeek.net has been so successful? It is because it actually typifies this new model of learning by collaboration and gaining information when needed.

    The new models of learning are also centred around independent learning. This is something else we are used to since there is a history of poor funding for training in IT Support in schools. We have *had* to become independent learners, usually at a level that would scare most people.

    On the other hand the leading VLE suppliers employ some of the top educationalists in the UK at the moment ( I know I've met them). The top VLE's are not some sort of evil empire (certainly the VLE I personally deal with are a great group of people). Contact companies like Fronter or Uniservity, I think you will be surprised about how knowledgable their educationalists are about the needs of schools with this kind of technology.
    Yep, I too have met most of them, had a pint or two (coke in my case) and discussed the Pros and Cons, as well as the changing needs of education. I like most of them, and agree that they are interested in teh same thing we want too. Most of them only got into the VLE business because they were interested in expanding T&L in different ways ... some have become big business, but some are still very down to earth.

    I also feel it's very much techies keeping their jobs and protecting their little empire. I have seen schools with locally hosted solutions which have either gone nowhere or ground to a halt when the person who looks after it leaves.
    Again ... these sweeping statements again. We can all do that. it gets done on here occasionally when a bit of teacher bashing happens ...

    Here ... I can do it too.

    Bloody teachers. You get a VLE sorted, you build a cool skin that the kids just love and add lots of feature to it so that the kids don't use the crud from YouTube but stick it on the in-house box instead ... Walled Gardens are so handy! ... but all you get is teachers carpin' on about "but my subject ca't be taught like that" or "If I stick all my stuff on that website it won't be the same as me teaching it from the front of my class!" .. and not forgetting "This is just a ploy by the Government to get us to make all course so they can be taught by teaching assistants and they can get rid of teachers!"

    Those teachers ... always looking after their jobs without any thought to the school!

    Hmmm ... doesn't sound that nice does it? Sounds very nasty in fact! And yes ... those are actual quotes from teachers (thankfully none of them were from my present school) and reflect a damn small minority.

    Please, let's not get onto sweeping statements like 'techies protecting jobs' or 'no idea about education' ... it brings the level of discussion down to "but I'm more important than you!" and fails to cover the salient points.

    A) Does the learning environment move on T&L?
    B) Does it move on independent learning and personalised learning?
    C) Is it cost effective and sustainable?
    D) Does it fit into the School / LA / Regional / National vision for ICT?

    Point me at a single VLE, whether it be provided at LA or school level, whether it is hosted internally or externally, or whether it is deployed by the in-house staff or a 3rd party, which does not meet the above or can be made to meet the above?

    We might all have opinions about interoperability, the use of SCORM, the UI, the technologies behind the various environments ... and those are open to discussion, often with no right or wrong answer.

    Personally, I do believe in the LA platform as the best fit for most schools. I do also believe that for some schools it is the starting point, for others it is something that is complimentary to what they already do, and for a very small minority they have to weigh up the benefits from and internal solution to a hosted solution, but considering the opportunities for collaboration and the chance of what they may be able to do in the future.

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    Good I'm pleased to see i stirred things up a bit.

    I over egged my comments to see what replys I got and on the whole not bad. I have my opinions as do other people, I'm glad that people can see all the picture.

    The thing was I was getting fed up with all the Moodle evangalists popping up every time someone mentions VLE. Edugeek is a good forum but I do feel at times that its a marketing arm for the world of Moodle. I personally think managed solution is the best way forward but local solutions do have there place. I have seen plenty of sweeping statements about how bad managed solutions without any kind of real knowledge about the top players (notice I say top players - I think in a couple of years several of the suppliers will pull out of the market). Certainly Uniservity and Fronter are here to stay with a large customer base.

    I agree about independant learning and I feel managed solutions offer that model, I personally once everything shakes out the managed solutions will have the largest share of schools in the UK.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    Good I'm pleased to see i stirred things up a bit.

    <snip> Edugeek is a good forum but I do feel at times that its a marketing arm for the world of Moodle.
    Oh my, oh my ... one moment we have been taken over by RM, next we are a propaganda unit for PfS, we have sold our souls to Microsoft / Apple / Ubuntu ... and now we are the marketing arm of Moodle.

    For those who remember uk.education.schools-it in it's OS war period I feel it is my duty to invite John Cartmell in to defend RiscOS as it isn't getting pushed enough on EduGeek!
    Last edited by GrumbleDook; 27th January 2008 at 09:41 PM.

  16. #29

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    Yes I can see why schools want to be locked in to a single platform provider having to pay for anything beyond basic, additional space etc.. and putting up with basic features, not being able to have things their way. It's great how schools can access managed VLEs when their internet connection is down and also using the same username and password they do currently at the school. </sarcasm>

    The level of avangelism on here for Moodle is down to Moodle being a fabulous key product of an overall virtual learning platform that can be implemented for free or supported by companies if the need is required; which lets the school have complete control over their learning platform without being held to ransom by a company or LEA. If Fronter (for example) was a good product then we'd all be saying how good it is for our needs. Personally, I don't see much Fronter (for example) evangelism on here.

    But it really doesn't matter; once the BSF steamroller arrives there will only be the managed solutions regardless of how good/bad they are.
    Last edited by webman; 27th January 2008 at 09:38 PM.

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    Ok, now for the sensible answer.

    FirstClass has a massive user base within UK ed, with over 1 million licences for the OU alone. Moodle is still growing ... and growing ... and growing, with more LAs / RBCs giving options for schools to have Moodle *as well as* other VLEs / Learning Platforms, and Sharepoint looks as if it will be the backend for a large number of providers for the next 5 years.

    With the way Web 2.0 is going people will expect to be able to have any environment or combination of environments and get them to talk to one another. Heck, if I can get my stuff from YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, EduSpaces, and so on ... and drop them into my personal Google page when I have no control over these 3rd party servers, just imagine what I can do with my own site on Sharepoint, my own Moodle box, my own FirstClass server ...

    Restricting any school to a single solution will not work in the long term. Giving them a framework and a starting point will. *That* is why LAs are being careful about what solution they buy *and* are still keeping options open for the future.

    My personal preference is for a Sharepoint based solution. That is mine ... I know it can work with Moodle and I know there are other things available to plug in to it too ... but I am keeping an open mind about what fits around the way my schools works and how I things work for schools in Northants. It is very much driven by the schools ... it has to be.

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