The ICT Teaching and Learning committee at my school are reviewing the VLE and were so impressed with the Frog presentation that they want it to replace our current Moodle, affectionately called Bernard after the late Father Bernard Orchard who was twice Headteacher of the Senior School.
So, for me this means I need to lead Frog. Today I am going to the Frogtrade conference to discover some work that actually impresses me beyond the shiny visuals Frog delivers better than Moodle. Aiming to be brief, here is what I know so far:
1. Frog allows a teacher to quick set assignments allocated to particular pupils without having a course or website set up. Moodle doesn’t.
2. Moodle does stuff Frog doesn’t. Peer review assessments. Glossaries. I asked the sales rep from Frog to show me how these might be achieved in her demo site. The glossary she put together looked ok – tabbed alphabetically, pupils creating terms – but it did not register the creators name or allow them to comment on or rate each others entries. This might seem small but, if you think about it, is important in developing the classroom beyond it’s walls. Equally with peer assessment, Frog do not have an alternative yet, or a roadmap. They do plan to have a roadmap for it though.
3. The Moodle company we saw – webanywhere – have the ability to write back to SIMS. This means you can do your registers and reports via Moodle. Or on your smart phone. Frog does not have permission to write back to SIMS yet.
4. Moodle is open source and drives a community of wonderful developers and teachers sharing good practice across the world. This means if the company we employ goes down we can move our stuff to another Moodle host.
5. Frog is a one stop shop. School to company. No middle man company. They develop everything and are therefore responsible and accountable in a more urgent fashion.
6. Frog has a mac-like toolbar that can be customised to specific links inside or outside the VLE. School delivers a set but users can choose their own too.
7. Frog has some nifty tools like room bookings, internet controls and other stuff like that. My colleague, Dr Brooks, tells me it’s very draggy-droppy. Frog bricks allow teachers to drag and drop content around which makes it intuitive.
To summarise, my trip today is to find good pedagogical practice in Frog. As a school we are leap-frogging moodle. Moodle is built with pedagogy at it’s heart. Frog is not. So my real question today is can Frog beat, or even equal, Moodle. As a teacher I love the tools that transform learning. Frog puts it all online, but does it transform anything?
I just asked the good doctor how he has got on test driving the demo site. He created a webpage easily enough but got stuck on creating a quiz. The ICT T&L committee have a meeting in a week or so to decide whether or not we go Froggy. I fear it’s a done deal. Pedagogical arguments don’t seem to hold water. Ready, steady, jump….
I’ll report back on my findings in the next few days.