Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Students setting up a Moodle for their school... and more

An article from today's IT Week / Personal Computer World arrives in my inbox via Google Alerts.
Virtual Learning looks at VLEs from the IT industry end of things, and before you expect an article written in binary, it's a readable article spread over four pages, which "looks at the basics of VLEs and how they're changing modern education".
One of the most intriguing instances cited is on page 2 (in the "What about the students?" section):

Adding resources to a VLE is a challenge for many teachers, and in some schools students are being recruited to help. This is a win-win situation; the teacher’s immediate problem (“Can I get this Year Seven homework uploaded for tonight?”) is solved, and students have the chance to develop their IT skills. One school we know of has no official VLE, but two students have set up one using the free open source Moodle, hosted on a friend’s server.

This reflects something we've been recommended to schools as potential practice for a while now - use a computer club or Able, Gifted & Talented pupils to support staff in preparation of resources on Moodle - the flexibility of roles within the system and the ability to hide and then subsequently publish individual resources, sections or whole courses means that it's possible to establish a workflow system to enable such a situation to be managed.
The article itself is heavily Moodle-centric, but unintentionally buys into number 2 of the 10 Myths of Moodle almost at the last gasp (possibly due to its audience? Who knows...):

Then there is the software. Moodle is free, but you will need a network manager capable of setting up and running a MySQL database, Apache web server and Moodle itself.
Well, for what it's worth, any school worth its salt will either look to its Local Authority or Regional Broadband Consortium to provide this sort of expertise and support - no-one should run any mission-critical system while relying on any one person or piece of equipment in a corner of a room in their school (and if you're a school reading this, neither should you!).

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