Friday, 15 September 2006

TaraNet LMS Decisions???

I visited Waitara High School today to catch up with new Acting Principal Jenny & Lead Teacher Marilyn. My main purpose was to promote e-learning options for Waitara students. I intended to explore the courses available through VLN but unfortunately no internet - SZ has been playing up in Stratford in the last few days as well & connection has been very intermittently slow or non-existant!
We had quite a talk about everything from infrastructure updates (go here to see where your school ranks on the NZ network league table), to ICT strategic plans, funding, SMS, the new Waitara High School website and Learning Management Systems (LMS).
LMS has been the subject of much discussion amongst the TaraNet lead teacher group as many of our schools have decided not to continue with KnowledgeNet & are considering alternatives. As i seem to keep returning to this subject I will post my notes that i have shared with the Lead Teacher group here:
  • Options to consider as Henry suggested are Moodle.
  • Schoodle is hosted Moodle option thru Wintec.
  • MyClasses as an addon feature to the SchoolZone desktop – the Volcanics cluster are currently using this and you can check out what it looks like through Mt Albert Grammars’ site. Telecom has yet to set the NZ pricing.
  • Interact – externally hosted or if you have a SmartNet server (Coastal I think) it is an addon feature to the new SmartNet server software – minimal setup cost $300 I think and no ongoing costs because you build & maintain it yourself. The TaraNet e-Campus has an Interact space though not used by online teachers so not fully utilized…need more PD here! Toko School have also started to use Interact and successfully used it to host the "NZ History Game"
  • Mindspring is based on MicroSoft SharePoint software but I think this is comparatively as expensive as KN.
  • First Class not sure what this costs – it has been used for sometime by Wellington Girls & I believe integrates with your existing server system so you don’t have to add your stuff separately to places on an intranet (Interact will work like this too on your SmartNet server)
  • still exists and is still free to use – the ICTPD national network used to use this before they switched to Interact.
  • Other choices could be online software such as wikis eg

Need to further investigate this to see what Wiki software can be hosted on our own servers?

For those who couldn't get to SchoolTech06 (like me :-) there has been a Wiki space set up to showcase/ share some of what is going on there.
Note there are MOE guidelines coming up soon – I would suggest u defer decision-making about new LMS till this has been released.

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