Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What Would Jesus Download?

So far, we have more than a few schools using Moodle - but they're almost exclusively secondary. Like the parable of the sower, some have expressed a vague interest and given up (more important things to do, which is fine), others have jumped around with excitement ("cover lesson in a box" was how one headteacher put it to me) started well and then tailed off (what normally happens is that the crucial keen person leaves for pastures new), others have started well and kept on going well, although slowly.
The good thing about working with it in secondaries is that they feel that they should be doing it (partly because VLE / Learning Platform / portal vendors are selling agressively at them on the back of E-Learning Credits) and hence there's a receptive audience, however secondaries can be so big that using a VLE becomes a niche - it's a brave and well-led school (or a one with a suicidally heroic VLE champion) which manages to adopt it to any great degree.
Primaries are different situation - engage the headteacher or the ICT co-ordinator and the whole culture of the school can change, and a little change (one class using the VLE, two teachers understand what it can do) - ah, that'll be the parable of the yeast then...
It's with that in mind that I've started working with a few people to think about a good way of making this work in primaries. Geoff Lambrechts (primary ICT consultant and digital video guru) supports primary schools in the Aylesbury Vale district, one of Buckinghamshire's ASTs (Advanced Skills Teachers) works at Winslow CofE Combined School and will use Moodle to run a course for G&T (nooooo.... that's Gifted & Talented) pupils in the use of Digital Art. Along with the school's ICT co-ordinator, they are going to experiment with using Moodle with a small group of primary pupils and see how things go. We Will Learn A Lot from this - and we'll be sharing it with a group of people from schools in Aylesbury Vale come the end of March with a few to get a group of primary schools exploring Moodle together - we were in Winslow this afternoon and Geoff is about to start hitting the phones shortly...
Of course, if you want the gospel on using Moodle (or any VLE, but he used Moodle...) in a primary school then Miles Berry is your (very busy) man. This year Miles won the Becta ICT in Practice Award for Primary Teaching using... oh, I don't know, some piece of open source learning environment software. Well, its name escapes me but he's written a report on using a VLE in a primary school [PDF] and you can also watch a video which outlines what he did and why he won the award. It's probably a cliché, and apologies if he's sick of it, but Go Miles!

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