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#21 goneunderground

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:29 PM

Welcome, Serendipity, and please keep us informed of your progress with Kaleidos :)


View PostSerendipity, on Oct 28 2008, 01:17 PM, said:

I have been following this discussion with interest, as Kaleidos is the chosen VLE for our school.  In some ways it will be easier to administer as we are a primary school.  On being shown the VLE, we had the same sorts of concerns as regards speed and the fact that it crashed as it was being demonstrated.  We were informed that these were teething problems, which were being ironed out.  I would be interested to hear from Administrators of Kaleidos how much time is taken setting it up and keeping on top of any problems which might occur.  I am by no means a technical ICT person, but I have the most knowledge of web site design in school, which seems to point to me being designated the Administrator and 'Champion' (two roles).  I am just wondering if thre will be a life for me outside computers!


#22 Dan Leighton

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 06:53 PM

<rant begins>
Oh joy.

I had a meeting with 2 colleagues from another school in an unnameable county near us today who told me how they had Kaleidos foisted on them by their LEA.  (This is the fourth time this week I have heard this from colleagues!)

They are very unimpressed with how poor and slow it is.  The representative/ salesman said to them that: "Kaleidos is in development at the moment and that is why it has problems."  To which the reply was, "So why are you charging us for unfinished software?".  The reply?  "That's what it is like when you are on the cutting edge."  

So...this term "cutting edge", I do not think it means what you think it means Mr Salesman!

But seriously, I am beginning to get quite fed up with this.  Why ARE our colleagues in other schools being forced to use overpriced and inadequate software to run such an important thing as their VLE?  Who are these people that keep buying it?  Why are they allowed to get away with it?  Why are we not making more of a noise about it as professionals before more of OUR money is wasted lining the pockets of a few I.T. companies who treat schools as cash-cows for their development programmes.

Grrr!!!
</rant ends>

#23 kitsch

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:52 AM

I love the internet and am always very keen to use it in the classroom. Kaleidos, however, baffles me. Labels are so wooly and vague and I'm never quite sure where to go to do something. Because of my enthusiasm and experience in putting together educational material on the web, I was asked to be on the steering group for implementing Kaleidos in the school. At least, I was on it... I've decided I'm just too thick to understand it. Heaven knows what our faculty luddites will make of it.

Also (and, yes, this is important but often so forgotten) it's a bit unsexy to look at: even the Inland Revenue's online income tax form looks more appealing. It is brash, the internet equivalent of flourescent strip lighting and polystyrene ceiling tiles.

I want it to be easy and fun to use, just like Myspace or Facebook is.... perhaps even be a little silly, if I want. Why is that verboten in a school environment? Why does Kaleidos have to have a personality bypass?

#24 kitsch

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:08 AM

View Postgavin holden, on 06 September 2008 - 08:00 AM, said:

The general level of ICT skill amongst staff at our school is quite poor. My worry is that kaleidos will end up being simply an information portal for staff and nothing else - using it at a departmental level will not work for many staff as it is too cumbersome. I have been asked to be on board with kaleidos from teh beginning with the aim of selling it to the rest of the staff. The problem is that I don't think I'll be able to sell a product I don't see as that good.

You are so right regarding IT skills. People who develop ANY material for use by others on a computer should also involve Luddites and skeptics at the consultation stage, not just the skilful and the converted.

I was asked to be on our Kaleidos steering group. I think Kaleidos is rubbish, therefore I'm on that group no more.

#25 goneunderground

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 11:37 AM

View Postkitsch, on 13 September 2009 - 08:08 AM, said:

People who develop ANY material for use by others on a computer should also involve Luddites and skeptics at the consultation stage, not just the skilful and the converted.
Very good point. The IT literate will always be willing to run with whichever VLE/program is put before them but it's the less confident ones, the more cynical ones that will actually determine whether it's a success in the long term or not, by their continued use of it. I am sorry for you that you've had a bad experience with Kaleidos (I've had no first hand experience with Kaleidos) but don't let it put you off being involved in decision-making groups for IT implementation. You are NOT (quote) too thick to understand it - you are probably coming at it from the point of view of someone who wants to make it work educationally for staff and pupils in a user-friendly way, whereas Kaleidos is probably coming at it from the point of view of -er - making Lots of Money.

#26 gavin holden

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 02:42 PM

We have been running kaleidos for over a year now and as far as I know not a single student has been given a log in. There is no learning taking place - it is most definitely not a vle. It has become an incredibly bad information distribution platform. That is it. Data and school notices ofr staff are posted on it and we are supposed to check it to get information. The problem is that for most staff it is quicker and easier to walk to the other end of the school and ask for a paper copy. It is so frustrating. (We are an ict specialist school believe it or not!)

Speed is the main problem - the system is very slow. Secondly, there is no logic to the navigation - think of the best software where you can easily find your way around it - kaleidos is impenetrable for many. It is also very poor to look at - as mentioned above design is so important on the web - this was designed by a group of colour-blind hedgehogs in a bag (history joke there.)

#27 Andrew Field

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:40 PM

I am still keen to find fellow educators who are happy with Kaleidos.  As can be noted on this forum we have all tried to be fair and positive, but my own personal experience with the software has been poor.  Just as Dan mentioned in his post last year it is awful how many schools are encouraged to spend money on solutions that don't work.

Surely there are some schools who are delighted with their provision from RM?

#28 Tracey Gentle

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 05:08 PM

View PostAndrew Field, on 13 September 2009 - 03:40 PM, said:

I am still keen to find fellow educators who are happy with Kaleidos.  As can be noted on this forum we have all tried to be fair and positive, but my own personal experience with the software has been poor.  Just as Dan mentioned in his post last year it is awful how many schools are encouraged to spend money on solutions that don't work.

Surely there are some schools who are delighted with their provision from RM?

Our school is based in Derbyshire, last year our LA chose Kaleidos as the VLE that all schools in Derbyshire would use.  They took a two year contract and have had a rolling program providing training, installation and support which has been brilliant.  I am the ICT Coordinator, and along with the headteacher, have been slowly rolling Kaleidos out to all members in the school community.  I do like Kaleidos and so do the other users in our school.  It is easy to use, the tools for blogs, wikis, discussions and interest spaces all look the same so ease of use is good.  We have been a part of a pilot that tested the multi media tools (video, sound recorder, a sketch tool and an easier way to upload photographs).  This allows all users aged 4-11 years to use the VLE.  We have ran small projects running a summer blog, each week a different calss is in charge of the blog.  Another project involved year 2 and year 4 pupils creating their own interest spaces and using the media tools.  The children loved using the VLE and produced some excellent interest spaces.  We had a transition blog for our year 6 leavers so we could keep in touch over the summer holidays and offer any support if they wanted it.  Our next project is keeping a blog with a teacher on maternity leave.

The ease of use is the big plus, but there are a few things that I do not like.  It looks cbbc-ish, plastic like and if you made a page public it would not look very professional.  Permissions are a bit wobbley!!  What ever permission you give to the main interest space carry down to blogs, discussions etc...  If you want the children to add to a blog and be able to comment on blogs they have to have full permissions and then they could alter the main interest space.  It runs fine at school but we are using an optical 'whatever' link to the interest which is very fast, it is slower at home which parents have commented on.  So I would hate to be a school in the sticks with an ASDL connection!!

I am logging our school's progress with the implementation which you can check out here.  We are a small school with a small budget and after seeing some of the prices schools outside of our county have paid we had a great deal and with all the support the LA are offering it has been the right path for us to take.  

I have seen Moodle and been at talks given by teachers using Moodle and I do think their VLE's have looked more professional and more user friendly.  We will get there though.  My only worry is that the LA do not renew their contract with RM after the two year!!  Hope that helps, if you want to know anything please ask and I will try to answer.


#29 kitsch

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 09:14 PM

View Postgoneunderground, on 13 September 2009 - 11:37 AM, said:

Very good point. The IT literate will always be willing to run with whichever VLE/program is put before them but it's the less confident ones, the more cynical ones that will actually determine whether it's a success in the long term or not, by their continued use of it. I am sorry for you that you've had a bad experience with Kaleidos (I've had no first hand experience with Kaleidos) but don't let it put you off being involved in decision-making groups for IT implementation. You are NOT (quote) too thick to understand it - you are probably coming at it from the point of view of someone who wants to make it work educationally for staff and pupils in a user-friendly way, whereas Kaleidos is probably coming at it from the point of view of -er - making Lots of Money.

You are being very kind! I'm just worried about what will happen. I believe passionately in using the net for education so I want Kaleidos to work as it is all we have... I have therefore joined the group again.




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