VLE – I’m still not totally convinced…..

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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.

Integration with immersive worlds such as Second Life (as, for example Sloodle does)

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)


6 Replies to “VLE – I’m still not totally convinced…..”

  1. Steve, thanks for the 'outstanding' comment. I'm honoured that you found it useful.

    Great news that you're using Frog. I've been successful in pushing for it at the Academy where I've recently become Director of E-Learning. It's a great Learning Platform. 🙂

  2. I will be waiting to read about how successful you are in implementing Frog effectively. Since writing this, there have been some significant teething problems…. I will find out more next week!

  3. I would love to see some research on the long-term implications of introducing electronic communication between students (email, IM, microblog, blog, etc). In a situation where all students are in the same building anyway, there is a case to answer that it does not add anything beyond novelty.

    I have seen lots of enthusiasm about student communication tools, and heard a lot of staff-room cynicism too. None of it (so far) has been based on either a long-term view, or dilligently-conducted research, and this bothers me.

  4. ​Hi Steve
    I found your blog post very interesting. We have started this year with Frog after 5 years of using moodle. I am interested in the teething troubles you are having. I am very unimpressed so far especially with workspace permission bugs, e.g adding one other teacher as admin to a workspaces and then all students become admins.

    I would be interested in your experience.



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