A few years ago I got caught up in something shameful, something that damaged education, something that I have to apologize for and get if off my chest.
While employed at Primary Technology I was invited in to schools to talk about VLEs and learning platforms. During these consultancy sessions I gave the impression that Learning Platforms were a legal requirement and that by having a learning platform or learning environment they would get reviewed by OFSTED. Unfortunately that just isn’t the case. I was under the impression from a certain company that this was the truth, I should of done my homework and for that I am sorry!
A lot of bad actually came from schools adopting learning platforms, mostly the mentality that one web tool provided a complete working solution for their schools web based needs. The way I see it is that a Learning platform is the fast food of the internet. It’s missing nutrients, condensed, gives you what a company thinks you need and needs to include a toy engage the kids. The advantage of fast food is that you often know what you are going to get so it’s predictable, easy, obvious… Applying a factory model to education is exactly what Sir Ken Robinson would not want.
The notion that one web based tool was challenged early on and the notion of the “VLE is dead” came about. VLE’s and Learning platforms providers are finding their place, mostly as an overpriced file repository but hey ho, at least they have come to the understanding they can’t provide everything a school needs.
Thankfully Bradford schools realized quickly that the fast food approach wasn’t working and so did the authority so a large number of schools adopted a fresh food approach to providing web based tools into schools, not providing a prescriptive recipe but a wide range of tools and options. I would say that CLC’s were responsible for this fresh thinking approach, I wonder who will take this roll in the future with the demise of CLCs..
This skill based fragmentation means we have farmers of web based products cultivating skills in different schools with different groups of kids and therefor in Bradford we have a wide range of skills on lots of different tools and platforms. We by no means have a solution that works for every school but we have an understanding that by trying to turn any web based tool into a “solution” is damaging for the kids diet.
We have some schools we work with that have been really frustrated with their (local) Learning platform provider that have charged them a fortune but not delivered on the promises made. My plea is if you work for a learning platform provider please stop selling your platform as the only solution the school needs and provide it as a tool that complements a vast number of fantastic free web services available on the internet.