What type of school are you? Primary............
What type of school are you? Primary............
In my opinion it depends a lot on how much time/resources you have.
I have used Fronter, it was one of the worst pieces of software I have ever used. Getting the most simple thing working took forever, it was so confusing, looked rubbish even in the 'show schools' and the support was terrible.
Moodle looked very good and customisable, which is great, if you have the time. Plus it is free! Also I'm not sure if you have to host it yourself etc.
Frog is my favourite. It costs but they take care of everything, their support is amazing and the platform is so easy to use/administer. From initial order to the platform being fully ready with all staff/students/classes created and passwords ready was only 2 weeks. From there we had all of our classes and groups setup, with content, by staff, in a single training session. They are not perfect and the platform has a lot to improve but they are by far the best all rounders in my opinion.
Hope that helps.
Would like to add that from experience no platform is going to make your staff/students web designers, to put it bluntly if someone with an eye for design doesnt hand the design to them and they fill in the content 99% of the time I've found what you are going to get back is something that looks like its from the 1990s. Especially with frog where the creator of the content may start with a blank canvas if they so wish.
Have you looked at Kite? It's a new one that's just launched...
I would have said anything but Frog - while I accept there are schools perfectly happy with it, and it meets their needs, we have been less-than-impressed with it ourselves and if we could live that day again and make the decision all over, it wouldn't be high on the list.
We're not convinced of the value of the platform at the moment - it's a heck of a lot of money for something that could be somewhat simply summed up as a funky website running on a lot of open-source software!
Each to their own opinion and all but I would have to strongly disagree. Saying it's a heck of a lot of money for something that could be somewhat simply summed up as a funky website running on a lot of open-source software is a little like saying that the iPhone is a lot of money for something that is based on open software and parts. They're both quite a lot of money but you're getting an excellent product and service for your money.
Yes Frog is quite a lot of money but what you're paying for is the excellent support and development of the platform. As I mentioned earlier, things like Moodle are out there that's free (which is great) but the problem is you have to do everything yourself. When we moved from Fronter to Frog our VLE costs doubled, however the important thing to remember is that we did more with Frog in 2 hours than we had done with Fronter in 2 years. Why, because we no longer had the situation where our VLE provider wouldn't talk to us unless we had been on some pointless admin course. We didn't have our students passwords being reset every other week, we could change user names and passwords in under a minute. Children instantly had lots of nice themes to pick from, we had lots of widgets to use and finally we had a built in email system.
Sounds like you've had a bad time, which is a real shame as personally, I enjoy working with Frog.
You're entitled to your opinion - but I do agree with you on Fronter.
My children use it in their respective schools and don't like it one little bit. The way it is set up for them has to be one of the most unintuitive interfaces I've ever seen on a VLE and doesn't really do anything to encourage engagement with the target audience at all. My kids regularly moan that whoever came up with their particular look-and-feel needs introducing to the clue bat! :)
Haha, I would totally agree with them! I had many arguments on the phone with Fronter about the strange way that it worked and how it took forever to do the most simple thing but they were never interested in feedback. Until schools started leaving them when the harnessing tech budget vanished of course :p
I wish you and the original poster luck with your VLEs in the future.
The comment about moodle being free and having to do everything yourself is only true if that's what you want to do.
There are however lots of companies that do customisation.
I would echo those comments too.
We've used Frog for the last 1 year and the biggest plus is the ease at which non-techy people can add content/ actually use the vle. there are obviously downsides to the product but the fact that basically everyone can use and develop it is a big plus thus empowering the staff and their own subject areas.
the other downside is the cost... but then it's a bit like some of the other software/ hardware products out there on the market at the moment.
+1 frog here. We have had it a while and this is the year where we start to get Staff/Students trained in its usage and then the Representative training.
Some people will say "Well theres all these flaws!" Its true but frankly find me one VLE which is perfect. No such thing.
We spent a lot of time looking at fronter/moodle and with fronter it wasnt for us, with moodle it was simple we dont have the man power to sit there and make it in to some thing that we wanted.
The fresh basic install of Frog was brilliant, it gives you what a VLE is supposed to and it gives it pretty well like other top VLEs it gives a MIS (SIMs for us) exporting tool which is run over night. It gives all the basics with Assigning home work, online resources and access to Home/Public drives from home. There is the parent portal which can be purchased (we got everything) and they can also setup your Frog Site (Costs) which again meets your needs, they also did our Main College site which again looks very nice.
They look professionally done, individual touch to your school and good looking for Students. We also purchased Secure GateWay which we have yet to sort out at our end but that will give the final piece of our External Access Puzzle (Allowing students/staff to remote in and access our system from home).
The cost is the biggest downside for Frog but if you want a VLE which takes weeks to get up and running (Still looking good) then you are having to pay a lot of money. As for the Cost - Forgetting one VERY important thing they do not charge per user or per GB used as other VLEs have been doing. If your school signs up additional Staff/Students or even takes on External Centres which ours is doing then the Cost of frog is worth it.
Is it perfect? No - Some one like me who wants to do all sorts but isnt really a programmer I have found limitations. I wanted to produce a help centre similar to what we got on SharePoint (its like an online access database) this doesnt work in Frog but they are improving their version (Called Forms). That is another bonus - it is constantly growing and it is among the top UK growing companies (people dont realise their company wasnt that big not that long ago).
One piece of advice I can say is - take your time to investigate the VLE you choose before purchasing it. The more time I spent with Frog I did find it more appealing and the strange thing was two of my colleagues agreed (usually we never agree on anything).
The good thing I find with Frog is, the more time you spend on it the more you will think wow I could do that, I could do this (of course you will again find limitations at times - this month it has been no Wiki) but frog are constantly developing and the more ideas they get thrown at them the better the platform is. If your after JUST a VLE then Frog is still brilliant but if you are after a Platform Frog is by far the best one out there.
I have recently been doing a Frog Note list which is just something to show staff what they can currently do in frog and it is currently three pages long and I am still working on it. I have also setup websites for MFL, Food Hall, IT Support and the recent Frog Representatives & Champions website with nice fancy Crystal menu's. If you want more Frog Info or even Screenshots by all means let me know, I will never claim Frog to be perfect but the criticisms of Frog seem very limited to Costs and its few limitations. Considering the man hours I have put in to Frog to get what is currently there is a small % of what I would have if I went some where else especially towards the Moodle route.
I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with Openhive. I am looking on behalf of a family friend, and they are the headteacher at a primary school. It needs to be easy to use, so any pros and cons would be much appreciated. :)