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May 15, 2006



Interesting ... a meeting is taking place here about the use of our Moodle ... I wonder if the appearance of the letter and that meeting are related ...

Sean Keogh

And of course expensive commercial systems *don't* rely on local support and knowledge? I don't understand that at all.

[Declared Interest: I am a Moodle Partner]

Gareth Davies


I tracked back to your post from Miles Berry's, and thought this info should be posted here as well:

My post on Miles blog:

You just have to look. I guess the letter is an article found on the Leicestershire Secondary Team's Newletter, page 4:


Yep, this is dynamite, and totally inaccurate!. Since when has the DfES been, 'adamant' about anything! They do not tell schools what to do, they don't even mail schools in case they are accused of doing so! Where have they ever stated that:

"The DfES does not support the idea of schools using ‘Open
Source’ software such as Moodle as these systems rely too heavily on local technical skill and the systems do not aid collaboration between schools."

I assume that what they they are alluding to is the Becta Open Source report, which stated that one of the barriers was that there were not many people on the ground locally that necessarily supported Open Source systems such as Linux compare with say Microsoft products. If so, it's a corrupted interpretation of the report!

The other statements in the article only prove you're first point and the last comment. If you're going to be arrogant, be subtle in your propaganda as least!

I can't help but query the quality of advice schools in Leicestershire get, and feel sorry that many assume it's the truth because it comes from a 'trusted' source.


I suspect Moodle has been found "incompatible with other systems for exchanging information." Not for exchanging courses between schools or sharing resources as in teaching resources, But in the area of back office data exachange.

On Monday 8th May I attended a conference at Nottingham University on ePortfolios. It was wholly focused on data exachange, record keeping - automated. How was this to be done, using EDI and XML tags. The chap from CETIS was vague about details, claiming not to be technical - I believe him.

A whole day spent on ePortfolios and at no point was the topic of learning/pedagogy mentioned.

This blog from Warwick is worth a read

Posted by http://elgg.et/brucen on Sunday, 21 May 2006, 22:51 BST


The URL from Warwick didnt copy across. The blog from warwick is here :

A Teacher

Poor old Leicestershire. They are at risk of their competence in understanding ICT and education and, hence, in their suitability to make recommendations to schools being question at the most basic levels. However, presumably, they deserve it. If they do not have the staff to perceive the weaknesses demonstrated in their 'recommendation' not to use a particular product, or the inevitable accusations of accepting back-handers from software houses, then perhaps they are not the sort of people who should be trusted with such decisions in the first place.

Guy Shearer

Working 'in the area' (geographicaly and professionally) I have to say the whole idea of learning platforms being cross institution and common means that LAs (and broadband consortia) are caught in a difficult situation - leading people towards collaborative work, but without the money to take a lead is a tough gig. I've also heard of staff 'close to the DfES' very strongly stating that Moodle isn't the way to go but haven't heard it myself and haven't heard any sensible argument made. For a lot of organisations the problem seems to be getting the use of a platform (any) past the small band of enthusiasts, with very few institutions getting real momentum (King Edward VII in Melton being a notable exception perhaps)

Josie - did you go to Countesthorpe?


Hi Guy - yes! I can't identify you from your Elgg pic - it's a bit too murky. Countesthorpe seems to be responsible for a quite a few people in the edtech biz - I guess that's what progressive education gets you.

btw - Leicester, Gateway and QE are all doing very well in terms of whole institution momentum with Moodle.

Guy Shearer

In Northants Adult Learning are rolling Moodle out (we're hosting the training - it's a lot of people) and several school clusters are evaluating it alongside the commercially produced ones, whilst the FE people are making much heavier use. I did my teaching practice at Countesthorpe - I knew you through your sister.

Chris West

Sorry but I don't know any of you. However, I work in Nottinghamshire and recently had to write a long piece celebrating our Moodle site and (then planned, now operational) ElggSpaces installation for Senior Management to get out of going on a seminar run by our LEA where they were going to tell us all about their new learning platform (Wired).

Their site is awful. It's looks like something from 1996 and functions exactly like it's been designed by a programmer (which it no doubt was). Everything fom the LEA, including admin, now tries to go through this site. All of our admin staff hate it. no teaching use it (mainly because I as Head of ICT also hate it).

What I object to is *having* to justify our own approach (Moodle/Elgg) when we're ahead of the game (over a year now), achieving a lot of success with it and rooting it all in pedagogy (and not just technology).

As for collaboration, when was the last time a school worked closely with another school (particularly a neighbour)?

I succeeded with my justification (as far as SMT goes) but I suspect many others fail.

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