Yesterday I was invited to Varndean School in Brighton and Hove to do a presentation at a 'VLE Showcase'. B&H is a small authority and the team there wanted to give the seven secondary schools who attended a few examples of what was available in the arena of Learning Platforms. Those available were:
- Digital Brain
- MS ClassServer / Learning Gateway
- Capita SIMS.net Learning Platform
- Ramesys Assimilate
(The comment from someone when I described what I was going to was Oh, it sounds like a beauty contest...)
Apart from Class Server (presented by a teacher from Blatchington Mill School in Hove) and Moodle (presented by the author of this blog), the other presentations were due to be done by product reps. About thirty people attended; a mixture of technical people, senior management and headteachers, as well as a few LEA people. I say "due to be done" because I had to leave early to get back to Buckinghamshire to go to a meeting of a school ICTAC (ICT Across the Curriculum) group to demonstrate Moodle and explore ways in which we could start to use it in the school, and so didn't see the two final presentations after lunch.
A clear theme which came out from the questions from those present was a reliable integration into an MIS system. Until the SIF format (and in particular the UK implementation of that) settles into something meaningful that's going to be a moving target - in the opinion of the writer there's no mileage in preparing a module specifically to integrate with something like SIMS until the other product is SIF-compliant. Depending on who you talk to, nothing is fully SIF-compliant (and what does "compliant" mean anyway?).