Whither the VLE?

I came across this screen-cast today on the use of Facebook to support science learning and teaching.

It is from Dr Vivien Rolfe of Leicester‘s De Montfort University and was tweeted by the UK digital support agency @jisc.

(Click on Play above)

She make one point very well early on in the piece, when she says of Facebook…it’s technology, it works, there are no training requirements…its better than a VLE…

Dr Rolfe goes on however to qualify her ideas, saying that the class Facebook site is their “…social space for…learning….”. She and her university-students set boundaries, recognizing that their Facebook collaboration is without the University as such.

People associate me with Moodle. Virtual Learning Environments (VLE’s) have been a major part of my own practice and research interests over the last number of years.

One of the challenges in secondary schools in Ireland is the lack of support for training and administration of the use of any VLE. We are seeing a fragmentation of thought around the best online applications to support teaching and learning. I also feel a certain contradiction in promoting them on one hand and not using them as frequently as I should on the other.

We are hearing of Moodle, Edmodo, Blogging Platforms, Google Drive and so on. Dr. Rolfe is right…the lack of training requirements is huge and for older (more responsible!) students, Facebook may be part of a solution. Most of us won’t go down the Facebook route in secondary-schools, so its back to some form of a VLE.

I’m still not sure of the solution – ultimately it is a resources issue and there is little or no money for a VLE solution for all schools in Ireland.

So what to do? Whither the VLE? Whither Moodle? Are we to see a fragmentation of solutions with a lack of vision as to the online organisation of teaching and learning in schools in Ireland?


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  2. Donal O' Mahony

    Thanks Dan – Yes I have lots of concerns also about the privacy of data and where the server is located. Are you in Dublin next week at the Moot? I will around on the fringes this year – I have work commitments! If you are I will touch base with you. Thanks

  3. Dan J

    Interesting stuff. Some of our Centres have moved to FBook for the social side of things – continuing discussion, file sharing and self promotion. It’s clear that our learners (primarily 16-18) are happier to use Fbook than they are Moodle forums!

    My concern is the issue of moderating and safeguarding. I guess embedding Facebook pages into Moodle may help with this.

    Would be interested to chat more in Dublin!


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