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Are VLEs a thing of the past?

Since starting at the my school I’ve always wanted to make use of the VLE. We currently use frog3, which in the main I find pretty good albeit a bit clunky in places. I have read many blogs where people have suggested that VLEs are on their way out, but the fact is as an ict teacher I use it with at least 1 class each day. It is also used as an email server, for remote access to files amongst many other functions.

What are the drawbacks?

VLEs can be a breeding ground for files containing obsolete / useless! material. It is important that it is very clear who has responsibility for each area of file storage within the system, having multiple “administrators” of a particular folder will mean that there will inevitably be unused files on the system, which is BAD news!

Another challenge for the VLE is time; for a teacher it can be viewed as something which will take a lot of time to setup and edit etc. What schools need is a VLE that is managed in a way where it actually saves staff time and makes their lives easier! I am pleased that After having an initial play with the frogOS demo I am confident that their new version of the platform will help to make this become a reality. Being edit sites and pages on portable tablet devices, being to set self marking quiz’s, being to edit pages using simple click and drag, to make a new page (that looks cool) at the push of a button is what teachers want and is key to the success of a VLE’s deployment.

It will allow teachers to easily take ownership of what the content on the VLE.

So… What next!

Well, I’m still investigating things at the moment. I think in any project like this it is important to think “what do I want to use it for!?” This may seem to be an obvious thing however it is so easy when setting up IT projects to think about the equipment first, indeed I have many members of staff come to me in the staff room and say “so when are we getting some iPads!?” I would much rather approach the project saying “I need a way of editing the school website on the move” from this question you can then identify outcomes such as making cost savings, benefiting teaching & learning by providing electronic resources or improving communication. I’m ours will do a combination of these.

I am currently looking into having a bit of a relaunch of frog in September. Using some of the advice gained from frog webinars and forums going reade engagement with the project.

What will be key to success?

– SLT buy in and leadership: without this the project will not succeed, use of the new VLE will be guided from the top taking into account the direction the school is trying to take and what they want to achieve by implementing the system.
– Use of digital leaders – this will assist with student “buy in” into the system and will help students to be enthused by the new system. They will also be able to help to facilitate training.
– Collective responsibility and team working – I want the teachers to be the administrators of the VLE, the are the ones best places to create resources and content for it.
– Clear direction/plan/milestones – to give the project some structure.

It’s going to be exciting… Looking forward to seeing students and staff using it already.

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