Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Moodle is available under the radar / Becta framework

No, really...
I've been watching a number of things recently, including the referrals for this blog (that means "which page people come from to get here"). As well as some message boards lot of them are search engine based and include search terms like "Moodle Becta Framework" - which (unless I'm misinterpreting things) could mean people want to use Moodle but are nervous about stepping outside of the framework... to which there are a couple of answers.
Moodle by stealth?First of all, you don't need to purchase from within the framework (read that bit again) and secondly, if you feel you have to purchase from within the framework (or are being railroaded into something you don't want) then you can still get Moodle. No, really, you can. There might be other ways, but the way I know is that the people who supply our Moodle services are on the framework as subcontractors for RM for Moodle services - which means if RM are supplying elements of your Learning Platform services then in theory (and it's a bit vague) you should be able to ask specifically for Moodle, which they would subcontract. Now this brings a whole raft of questions in my mind... like:

  • where's the incentive for RM to allow Moodle over Kaleidos? Maybe it's a realisation they'll get more business that way, as I've yet to meet anyone not paid by RM who's as passionate about Kaleidos as most people who use Moodle.
  • what's the long term plan for this setup - do RM see Moodle as something which has to be tolerated until schools wake up and realise that Kaleidos was what they wanted? I don't think that'll happen, so I'd be interested to know what their longer term route for this approach is. Is it tolerance or embracing something? Would they fund a generic MIS web service to interface with Moodle which would ensure schools using it would stay within their part of the framework? Anyone else got any questions?
Practically, this would mean that an LA purchasing from RM could offer a mix of VLEs, which is something that appeared to be on the radar when I spoke with some schools over lunch at a Learning Platforms event in East Sussex. Their feeling was that since their existing connectivity came from RM then they would have no choice but to take whatever they were given - which doesn't sound like personalisation to me, but I can understand why it could happen. Maybe this approach gives schools in that situation a way out of the woods - so if that's you contact your LA representatives and see what they say...
Oh, and I counted this morning - we now have approximately 67 Moodle servers in Buckinghamshire - obviously there's a mixture of competency, use, approaches, etc. - but that's (obviously) a reflection of the situations of the schools involved.
Oh, and I also apologise for the video interview on Learn4Life - is it just me, or does everyone hate hearing their own voice?


  1. We had an RM tech on site a few weeks ago, he said that RM are starting to provide anything people will ask for. They make more money that way. Perhaps this is why they are offering to install moodle?

  2. Yes, I'm sure they will... in fact this post is about how they can subcontract it under the framework. However, if your local authority or RBC is doing a wide-scale roll out then it wouldn't make sense to have a Moodle installation from another party as this will be hosted elsewhere and won't be able to work as closely with local primary schools or other secondary schools, or use the user database which binds the whole thing together... some companies (I'd imagine) would say they'd install anything to keep your business - I'm not sure RM are doing this in this instance though...