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Choosing a suitable MLE

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Started by Monika Kern 25 Mar 2012 12:31pm () Replies (29)

Hi there, I'm fairly new to VLN but trying hard to get up to speed :)

I work at a Decile 1 Intermediate in the Far North. I would like to run my computing class web based, and advice in a different group was to look at moodle or similar. The MoE website lists three providers for MLEs, KnowledgeNET, Ultranet and Moodle. We have also received information from a 'new to NZ' firm offering EduSpot.

How do we choose the most suitable MLE??? Money is an issue (goes without saying). Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!!!!!


By the way, EduSpot run a webinar on Wednesday 28 March 12:00

Link: https://promo-manager.server-secure.com/ch/7360/r9nb4m/484293/3a1199zcm.html

Meeting Number: 620 618 844

Meeting Password: eduspot

Many thanks in advance, Monika


  • Victoria Field (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 12:45pm ()


    We rolled ours out last August and uptake has been fairly good. I am used to working with Moodle and that was the platform we adopted.

    Moodle has fairly decent help sites


    and can be installed on your school server with a minimum of fuss. A hosted alternative can be expensive, what IT support do you have?

    My partner's school are trialling using this LMS


    But it looks as if it will not be free forever but might enable you to at least get started, plus it is hosted for you.

    I would advise, that if you have the time to learn and someone to help with the server side issues to try Moodle.

    If you want to look at how a moodle can be used as a messageboard, have a look at the front page of ours to give you some ideas


    An LMS is a big undertaking and ideally you will need to be given some time to plan, execute and maintain it, plus train other staff.

    Hope this helps a little bit


  • Tania (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 1:11pm ()

    Hi Monica,

    Just to clarify - are you wanting to run online lessons for your computing class or an online space to share learning, set work and store information?

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 3:30pm ()

    Initially I would like to use it for my Computing and my Music Classes. I take all classes throughout the school during their teachers' CRT which at our school is one day/fortnight, and normally they get one term = 5 sessions per subject. For Computing, rather than making them a workbook which includes introductory information, the term goal and activities, I want to have this all web based, with a space for each student to submit their work. Ideally, I get notified when they have posted their work, I check it and then release the next activity for them to move onto. For Music I see it as part of my rotations where a third of the students is on guitars, a third on keyboards and a third does music theory on the computers.

    In the longer term I personally would like to see at least one if not all of our classes become 'connected classes' where pretty much all work is done online - one of our contributing primary schools, Kaikohe West, also decile 1, have great success with this.

    I hope this clarifies it a bit more - thanks for the replies so far!!!!

  • robin ohia (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 4:46pm ()

    Kia ora Monika

    Have you considered LAMS? Rather than tell you all about it here, perhaps you could Google it to draw your conclusions? We have a ministry hosted server. 

    More than happy to have a conversation when you are ready.

    Cheers Robin

  • Tania (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 9:32pm ()

    Hi Monika,

    I would suggest google sites.  Totally free and can be as open or closed as you liked - as in open to the world or invite only.  You could have great discussion forums happening on here between each class.  I am based in Whg and travel to the Far North as part of my role.  Happy to catch up sometime for a korero.  

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 9:43pm ()

    Some really good advice here to get you thinking, Monika. Thanks, everyone:-)

    I'm not going to recommend one particular platform, but instead suggest that you should base your choice on some/all of the following:

    • what is the learning direction for your students - their needs? your school's curriculum? This is the most important driver for your decision.
    • how will it support and extend what you are offering to your students, in terms of pedagogy and the content they will be exploring? (for example, how do you want to share and communicate resources, engage them in different learning activities/pathways, facilitate peer collaboration and different forms of communication to suit the learning)

    The technical platform you choose will need to meet the students' needs as discussed above. From a technical point of view:

    • what is affordable and compatible with your current system in school?
    • what time and resources do you have available to support the introduction and development of the MLE?

    Enabling e-Learning provides an overview of MLEs and a link through to the Ministry's site, if that's useful too:-)...and the e-Learning Planning Framework accentuates the importance of the school's/teacher's curriculum driving the decisions around technology.

    Hope this helps.



    Enabling e-Learning / Blended e-Learning

  • Fiona (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 10:09pm ()

    In support of Tania's recommendation Software for Learning includes product information and examples from schools using Google Apps for Education, you may find useful.

    I would also recommend considering developing a school wide plan for deploying Google Apps for Education vs you as an individual teacher creating a Google Site as this will support increased opportunities for collaboration and learning across the curriculum.

    Webinar - in a US context but some useful ideas for consideration are explored.

  • Gerard Macmanus (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 10:16pm ()

    Good evening Monika, this very much depends on if you are looking for a solution for the school, or a solution for your class.

    If it is for the school, start the conversations with your curriculum leaders, get representatives of each of the Learning Management System providers out and have them present to the staff, it needs to be a staff decision on which one they want to use.

    If it is for yourself and available inside school only, I would suggest finding a computer at school, it can be windows and instal XAMPP http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html on the windows computer or create and install a ubuntu server if your are familiar with linux, and download a copy of moodleinschools.org.nz http://www.moodleinschools.org.nz/sites/default/files/moodleinschools- this is the NZ Ministry funded moodle installation that schools can use. Get involved with the moodleinschools.org.nz community and connect with people in your area, they may be using it as well. There is even a Moodle Community on here as well. /pg/groups/123482/moodle/

    Start using it, its amazing how quick the students and teachers develop the blended learning between online and in class teaching.

  • Gerard Macmanus (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 10:22pm ()

    Also Monika have a chat to the Far North Custer leader, looking at the information available on the vln, your cluster leader is Diane Henederson /pg/profile/dianesh, they are looking after your school with the ministry ICTPD contract /pg/groups/37491/kaiorohoki-cluster/ they may be able to assist you with the information and funding to get what you are after.

  • Darren (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2012 2:22pm ()

    Hi Monica,

    Your school is roughly 200 students so do you even need an LMS?  And if so why not share an LMS across schools.  More cost effective and opens up interesting possibilities on the collaboration front.

    The reality is google apps will do everything you need and more, without any huge costs involved (all that would go into professional learning).  As a long time user of Moodle and google apps, the only reason I persist with Moodle for an online space is that I teach fully online classes (i.e. no face to face) and the ability to track student participation is very useful.  Otherwise it would be all google apps and other web 2.0 technology.

    So my advice is to either share an LMS across schools or just leave them to the big schools and go with google apps.


  • Chris Le Cren (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2012 3:14pm ()

    Hi Darren, Monica and others reading this discussion. I think the most important thing is to be clear on what you want the LMS to do. Different people have different experiences and even different interpretations of what an LMS is and can do. You may end up needing a combination of tools, e.g. Google Apps in conjunction with an LMS such as KnowledgeNet or Ultranet. Google Apps on their own may not be enough. Different LMS provide different features ranging from email communication, collaboration and document sharing; to online course generation; e-portfolios; and even securely managed social networking for students, parents and teachers (who may or may not be in the same school, or even the same country). For the schools I work with, the key factors in deciding on what is required has been the services provided by the LMS to meet identified learning and organisational needs. Roll size doesn't come into it. There are schools using MoE accredited LMS with rolls ranging from around 30 to over 1500. 

  • Darren (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2012 3:31pm ()

    We have had this discussion before in another forum Chris.  Unfortunately, because you work for a provider you have a vested interest in making sure an LMS is seen as something worth investing in.  My advice to Monica comes purely from a teacher pespective (I am not selling anything) and unfortunately I'm not sure your advice can be treated in the same way.  You are right though, roll doesn't come into it.  No school needs an LMS.

    All the functions you listed can be performed by google apps and in many ways better than any LMS I have used (and I have used most, including Ultranet).  And all that comes at a cost of domain hosting, which is a pittance.

    Our schools have enough of a struggle with resourcing without wasting it on things they don't actually need.  I have no problem with those schools who have an LMS, but Monica was after some advice and I have given it.  Happy to continue the conversation in private if you would like.

  • Glen (View all users posts) 29 Mar 2012 11:15am ()

    Having been involved in the LMS area for many years I have to agree with Darren. In the majority of cases Google Apps will do most of what you want - particularly in a smaller school and especially if you combine it with something like TeacherDashboard (which I don't sell by the way in case you are wondering).  

    For a school to worry about Google Apps and an LMS in most cases is pointless - but decisions around this need to be tied back to what you are actually wanting to achieve, your year levels, etc. as others have already well noted.

    To be perfectly blunt Moodle and most LMSs currently on the market are 20th century tools - they are small scale, local, and not scaleable. In this day and age if you are taking learning online then why wouldn't it be in a global and scalable way - Google Apps provides both of these (as do some other cloud based tools of course, don't let me stop you taking a look at Office365). 

    Of course, make sure you don't get caught in the trap of 'Google Apps is free' so got to be good - yes it is free in terms of cash outlay if you have somebody to do the initial technical setup for you, and if you don't add in pay for services like TeacherDashboard - but there is obviously a cost involved in the ongoing management, PD, etc. that needs to be factored in up front if you want to utilise it effectively.


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