Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ian Usher - Using Moodle as a core component of a Local Authority learning platform

Warning: this may not be an objective account. Proceed with caution.
Ian Usher, the E-Learning Co-ordinator from Buckinghamshire County Council, gave a presentation on using Moodle as the authority's VLE. The presentation was in the Belgrave Hotel - fortunately sunny weather meant delegates didn't huddle in the Riveria Centre due to the previous days' inclement conditions. About 60 people attended including three colleagues from Buckinghamshire and one from Atomwide (presumably just to check up on him).
The presentation didn't aim to be a "how to" about Moodle but more of a "what and why" about why Bucks had adopted it instead of the many available commercial solutions available. Only a couple of people in the room didn't know what Moodle was and more about half of the people there were using it in some form or another. This presentation was intended to be significantly different to the one given at the Naace All Members Annual Conference in September
The only live demonstration of a Moodle site was the Buckingham Primary School VLE - a delegate asked a question about the value of children sharing music they had composed in a forum ("couldn't I just type the word sh1t in there - how does that add value?") - the answer was that the pupil in question was being allowed to share something that had been done outside of school, something that was previously unknown to the school and something that made the school place the pupil on the AGT (Able, Gifted & Talented) register. (if you're interested, here's the audio of one of the songs in question - composed by an eight-year old:

Much discussion followed, including an interesting chat with the guys from Newport who are using Moodle for their schools (rough quote from them "all of South Wales could be using Moodle soon..."). There were many kind words and it's said that the speaker really appreciated the fact that Robin Ball from Becta came along - and that not many people fell asleep.

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