This afternoon Mike Woods (County Adviser), Geoff Lambrechts (ICT Consultant) and I hosted a meeting for representatives from secondary schools at Missenden Abbey to share our vision for a learning platform / ePortfolio / I think you know the sort of thing I mean system for Buckinghamshire. We started off with lunch and afterwards spent over a couple of hours going through some relevant issues. Mike started off with an overview of how we came to be where we are and then I did a presentation on what a learning platform in Bucks might look like - the different elements, how they might fit together and how secondaries might work in this framework.
There were a fair few secondary heads there and a number of strategic ICT people as well, so it was quite a well balanced group (I thought). A number of people there already had Moodle in their schools, but most of the discussion centred around the management of the project and how secondaries might get involved effectively.
One of the big issues facing us is funding - the money from the DfES for this is "drawdown funding" - i.e. the Local Authority has to put up a certain amount of money for the DfES to give us more. I won't give the exact figures, but say (for example) that the DfES is offering us £1.40. Well, to get that £1.40 then the LA has to stump up 60 pence - otherwise nothing is given. We're really hoping that the LA will find 60 pence - as the resulting £2 will go a long long way to achieving the vision of what we want to achieve in Bucks.
The main issues to come out of the meeting were (in my view):
- sharing is possible and desired by schools, but intellectual property is an issue for many of them
- specialist schools should lead the development of shared resources based around their specialisms
- the E-Learning co-ordinator should co-ordinate the work of subject advisers and consultants in developing shared resources
- who is responsible for the content of a learner's ePortfolio (i.e. "what about dodgy material?") - the learner, the learner's school, the learner's LA?
Personally the session was tempered a little by a mild hypoglycaemic episode which meant I had to leave the room to get some biscuits and tea down me (that's the last time I miss a tea break...) - and of course it was just at that point that the "what about the Becta framework?" question came - drat!
It was a useful session - particularly at the end when Geoff L logged into the MLD Schools online monthly Breeze meeting that he was going to miss due to the fact we ran on a little. As a result of the meeting I'm going in to a number of secondaries to talk to SLT-type meetings and hope to support one school migrating its resources from another E-Learning platform into a Moodle. The impetus to do this came from the fact that the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust which is undertaking a Moodle pilot in certain areas, plus the fact that Bucks is supporting Moodle at a county level. We'll see how the secondary sharing comes along... this will almost certainly be a pump which needs to be primed.