I recently read Chris Betcher’s blog about his moodle course Becoming a Moodle Dude that he is taking to become familiar with his extensive Moodle installation in his new school. I have been a big fan of the use of this system even before having lunch with and a good chat to Martin Dougiamas, moodle’s creator at a conference around 3-4 years ago. I have also looked, though not as extensively, at drupal.
I have to say that what amazes me is the effort that schools are going to with the creation of “unique” systems when there are a lot on the market that do what is necessary and offer support and customisation at a fraction of the price schools are spending on support and staffing, not to mention teachers time.
I recently listened to a podcast Shifting Our Schools episode 6: How to expand the learning community to the parents? discussing the work that Justin Hardman has done in setting up a unique LMS for a Hong Kong school. There seem to be so many schools here working flat out to set up their own systems at great resource cost. They about with names that try to be unique to the school name or logo to try to give them identity. In essance I have not heard or seen one that does anything vastly different to any of the others. Also in this day of the ubiquitous Web2.0 tools and their integration onto school portals as referred to here by another member of the podcast team, How to Expand the Learning Community to the Parents?, I really can’t see why schools should not save their money and collaborate with a local team to get 90% of the commonality and then customise the rest.
I heard the ultimate story on the grapevine about one HK International School who invested heavily in a customisation of a moodle installation by an expat who was found to not have a HK visa allowing for this work to be done. He is apparently banned from HK for 2 years and the school is back to square one with their system.
Strange days indeed!