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Now the Government is trying to get us all on Netmums...

(23 Posts)
RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 16:37:43

Virtual School Gate

Ironically, though, the 'related internet link' on the right on the BBC news site, is to Mumsnet! grin

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 19:35:03

Do you think Tech hacked into the BBC site?

mmrsceptic Tue 22-Sep-09 19:36:55

are they not bolshy over there? never been

mmrsceptic Tue 22-Sep-09 19:40:25


i visited

squeaver Tue 22-Sep-09 19:42:58

OOh Netmums is so crawly bum-lick to the govt.

Bet your eyes are hurting mrsceptic.

Thredworm Tue 22-Sep-09 19:43:29

Odd that the news story doesn't have a link to the new netmums service (or to netmums info about it), rather than to Mumsnet, which is irrelevant to the story.

I would like to have had a look. Not likely to use it though. I would prefer the schools themselves to run forums of this kind. Our secondary school has a very powerful website but seems to do very little with it. There is so much that I would like to be able to do or read online as a parent of a sec school child.

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 20:00:09

Threadworm - there is actually a government requirement that all schools should provide their pupils with a virtual learning environment by 2010, and I had always assumed that parent forums would be a part of that.

We are working towards this at the junior school I work at, but it's a question of having the time to get it sorted, and, once it's running, moderated, but I know that some schools in our borough have gone further than we have.

But unless there's some very rapid work, that requirement's not going to be met, so maybe the government thinks this is a good stopgap?

whomovedmychocolate Tue 22-Sep-09 20:09:37

Oh lordy, what fresh hell is this? hmm

My eyes hurt!

Thredworm Tue 22-Sep-09 20:09:54

That's intersting. I wonder what is meant by a 'virtual learning environment', and how it is to be used. Sounds like it could be something either really good or utterly totally gimmicky and naff.

mmrsceptic Tue 22-Sep-09 20:15:52

utterly totally gimmicky and naff probably sums it up

but you left out "complete waste of time and money"

whomovedmychocolate Tue 22-Sep-09 20:16:35

Ooh it was 'National Grid for elearning' when I was working on it - they change the name every bloody year it seems. hmm

It's shite - the idea is best practice on subjects condensed into standardised modules delivered over the Internet.

Because buying standardised textbooks for the national curriculum is just so last century hmm

I don't want my school gate bitching online unless it's here thankyouverymuch! grin

Thredworm Tue 22-Sep-09 20:22:59

God, that sounds depressing. I'd just like to be able to receive newletters, forms, reports, etc online, and fill in forms etc. I'd also like to be able to speak to teachers a little more easily online (though I appreciate the teachers might feel a bit oppressed by that if it went too far). Sec school has no opportunities to pop in at end of day and chat, so would be good to have some online access.

SardineQueen Tue 22-Sep-09 20:39:06

ROFL @ dodgy link though grin

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 20:50:07

It can be either, Threadworm!

A VLE (also called a learning platform) is basically a computer system, normally working over the internet, that supports teaching and learning.

It's really a series of 'spaces' to which either individuals or groups have access by passwords & security settings - pupils have a space to which they can upload their work, so they can work on it at home, or their parents can see it. Teachers can set tasks & quizzes, which the pupils complete online, and carry out assessments, parents can log in & see their children's work.

You can set up groups for almost anything - for example we are planning a group page on internet safety which will give parents access to guidance & resources to help keep their children safe on the internet at home. We'll post the latest draft of our internet security policy & set up a forum so parents can discuss it & share ideas.

You can also invite parents to share their experiences on forums, eg for history lessons or to share their expertise in a particular area. There are also collaborative projects between other schools in the UK or abroad, and the children or teachers can create blogs, wikis, surveys & podcasts, and upload photos, sound files & videos.

The main problem with all this is time - or lack of it - to actually create the content & make sure it's kept up to date, which is why the provision, even amongst those schools that do have a learning platform, is so variable.

cornsillk Tue 22-Sep-09 20:52:21

Its P.C. gone mad! Geddit...?

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 21:00:20

wmmc - the national grid for learning isn't really the same thing as a learning platform - it's really just a one way thing,delivering content, whereas a good learning platform is interactive & depends on input from its users.

DD's sixth form college had a very good one, on which parents could do all the things Threadworm wants - both DD & I could log in & contact tutors, see timetables, including any alterations, pick up messages - I could see whether DD had attended classes & if not why not, keep track of her A level module results, order & pay for books, trips etc & loads more.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 22-Sep-09 21:23:44

Rustybear - you see here's the exact reason why this stuff doesn't work - when I was working for the DfES (some umm six years ago, it was called that and now that's the name of something else) [head explodes]

We have a lovely VPN at preschool

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 21:36:33

It gets worse!

From Wikipedia "A VLE is a computer program that facilitates computerized learning or e-learning. Such e-learning systems are sometimes also called Learning Management System (LMS), Content Management System (CMS), Learning Content Management System (LCMS), Managed Learning Environment (MLE), Learning Support System (LSS), Online Learning Centre (OLC) or Learning Platform (LP); it is education via computer-mediated communication (CMC) or Online Education."

Oh, and our provider calls it CLC (or to be precise a cLc) - connected learning communities.

<<scrapes bits of wmmc's head off walls>>

whomovedmychocolate Tue 22-Sep-09 21:50:50

And to do all this they insisted I get my PRINCE2 Project Management qualification!!!! It stands for Projects In Controlled Environments. Does any of this sound remotely controlled or planned to you? hmm

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 22:00:04

Nope - it's a bit of a mess to be honest.

On the schools' level, what usually happens is that you get one enthusiastic member of staff who does wonderful things & they then leave, or get extra responsibilities so they don't have time any more & it coasts along for a bit, getting more & more out of date until, hopefully a new enthusiastic mug person comes along - but they have completely different ideas & start remodelling, then they run out of time before they've actually created anything new, and so it goes on...

On a government level, I don't pretend to know what they are actually playing at, other than starting up one 'initiative' after another, in the hope that one of them will actually work....

whomovedmychocolate Tue 22-Sep-09 22:25:22

I think it's a fault of the funding sources TBH Rusty - for each project I had a different funding source. There were competing projects running. It was pretty silly and not a good use of public funds IMHO. hmm

RustyBear Tue 22-Sep-09 22:39:37

Was this when BECTA were deciding which ones to give their seal of approval to? (Can't remember how long ago that was now)

VulpusinaWilfsuit Tue 22-Sep-09 22:53:01

VLEs are widely used in universities and schools; but as others have said the 'cost' is in trying to provide high level content when no resources are provided to develop them. We use them to provide a repository of lecture slides, course outlines/reading lists, links to online readings, additional activities (eg if students produce flipchart diagrams or summaries of groupwork, I photograph it and post up for them to review).

We can monitor usage of them by students, and also set up realtime chats/tutorials etc.

There is much, much more that can be done - interactive learning activities, but it really depends on individual expertise or additional support. I'd be surprised if schools have loads more support for this.

I think the VLE is the future 'structure' of much independent learning, but there is an infrastructure and expertise gap to be overcome before they work really well.

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