Now schools are spending vast sums of money on VLEs I keep asking myself, are schools receiving good value for money from their VLE providers? What is the opportunity cost of this spending?
When I talk to colleagues, both in my own school and others, many of them appear to use the VLE simply as a on-line storage centre. Given the wide range of outstanding on-line resources it would appear that schools would be better off utilising a range of these.
I have just read another of Doug Belshaw’s outstanding posts on what are the ‘functional specifications’ of a VLE that drive real learning? He highlights that the VLE could be used for:
Be a collaborative space where students and staff can collaborate on documents and web pages (like Google Apps)
Enable users to have appropriate contact with others within the Academy and the wider community by a range of methods (e.g. Twitter-like microblogging, instant messaging, shared whiteboards, video conferencing,email, social networking)
Promote learning by have clearly structured course elements, rather than be a file repository.
Process appropriate data quickly in a visually-appealing and easy-to-understand way for Academy staff, students, and parents.
Allow students to publish their work to various parties: peers, teachers, the Academy, the world.
Enable outside agencies to access appropriate data on students, staff and Academy issues.
OpenID login so users have a single sign-on and have more control over their digital identity.
If this is how a VLE is to be used, perhaps it is time for a rethink. In September the school I will be joining uses Frog – I shall keep an open mind.
(image by largo! @ Flickr)