Over breakfast this weekend at a popular farmhouse two high school teachers sat next to me to discuss how their respective LMS solutions made teaching difficult. Both were from wealthy suburbs outside Milwaukee. What really peaked my interest was hearing how one spent over 45 minutes trying to add polling for in-class feedback. I helped lead the adoption of a Moodle LMS at a private Wisconsin college in 2007 that is still in use today and also had the pleasure of attending a conference at UW-Madison with Martin Dougiamas the founder of Moodle.
Yet over that breakfast I was intrigued by their difficulty with all things LMS for the upcoming school year. Frustration ranged from how one teacher received no LMS training (poll example above) while the second teacher spoke about her district migrating to a new LMS vendor over the summer.
Of course no technology discussion can avoid a teacher mentioning K12 servers going offline for hours during the school day making their teaching even more difficult. Seems like teachers have a lot to confront on a daily basis in delivering education to a classroom of twenty plus students. A local LMS run from an empty closet is no longer acceptable. Continue reading “LMSaaS”
Last year Google announced it would provide industrial strength email anti-spam & anti virus (Postini) to K12 schools for FREE. Act Now – Deploy later. Google’s offer ends July 2010
As budgets have been cut across the country for education, this is a smart move for many financially strapped school districts. Does it pay for a District to force taxpayers to pay for expensive, legacy email programs like FirstClass and Novell when cloud based solutions with robust feature sets are being embraced by K12 and Colleges around the country.
Google has released their internal learning platform, CloudCourse under an open source license. Built entirely on Google’s own App Engine, CloudCourse is a new entry into a crowded LMS arena. CloudCourse provides calendaring, waitlist management and approval features.
To no surprise CloudCourse is fully integrated with Google Calendar. Google has also made CloudCourse customizable for schools by supporting service provider interfaces:
Sync services – Sync CloudCourse data with school’s internal systems
Room services – Schedule classes in school locations
User info services – Support for school profiles (employee title, picture, etc)
The process to migrate looks relatively simple. Through Google Apps, a customer enters their Microsoft Exchange user name and what it calls “two-legged OAuth,” consisting of a consumer user key and a consumer “secret”. They then upload a .CSV file consisting of the email addresses, calendar and contact information. It is optional what to migrate. For example, an IT administrator may upload email addresses and contact data but not the calendar. Email service does not get interrupted during the migration.
Coupled with Google’s offer to provide free anti-spam and anti-virus filtering (Postini) for K12 schools until July 2010 — its getting more and more difficult for Districts to continue using expensive, power hungry ($$$$) and outdated email services like Novell and FirstClass.
Why? Check out Google’s simple cost calculator to see how much your School District (Tax Payers) can save by switching. The Oregon School District in Wisconsin left Novell for Google and saved over $11,000 annually. In tight economic times this makes a lot of sense (and lots of cents)