Moodle and Elgg at NCSL

Mar 25, 2006

Miles Berry

A long drive up to the National College of School Leadership‘s ‘Learning and Conference’ centre in Nottingham after school on Wednesday last, to run a couple of workshops for their ‘Developing Leaders for Tomorrow’ programme.

NCSL Main entrance

The delegates had all been handpicked as those likely to be the school leaders of the future; I was impressed by their insight and intelligence and I think we can be hopeful that our children will be in good hands. I’d been asked to run a couple of workshops on ‘Learning platforms, VLEs, MLEs’, advertised in the programme as a “Large area, and under informed, that many schools are currently facing”. I had capacity audiences for both sessions, and we ran over time on both occasions, as there was so much of interest to discuss. The main focus of my message was on the importance of embedding learning platform provision within the school’s vision for learning and teaching, and not expecting one solution to suit all schools. I’ve posted a

flash version of the slides for those who’re interested.

Although the practical bit on how we’d used Moodle formed the centre of the workshops, there was chance to get in a plug for Elgg too, which in many ways is a far closer match to the e-strategy vision of the personal online space than a more traditional VLE like Moodle. I was a bit taken aback by some folks not having heard of open source software, and I think many of my audience were as surprised by us running our own web-server in-house.

NCSL from the lake

The conference centre is an amazing building, and I was very pleased to have been able to stay overnight. The bedrooms all have thin client terminals (alas Windows rather than Linux, but even so). Becta’s Tony Richardson gave a good keynote on e-enabled learning, illustrating a progression of pupil engagement and learning from exhange through enrich, enhance and extend to empower, and looking towards movement from controlled to self-directed learning, from differentiation to personalisation, and from school-based to distributed learning. Having been inspired by this, it was a bit of a shock to learn that I couldn’t connect to the Internet from my own tablet for my workshops, as apparently they were worried that non-NCSL machines would infect all their servers with viruses.