Tag Archives: Buying

Virtual Learning Environment: Frog

The presentation today at the ISTEC meeting was about FROG Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).  Andrew Duckworth, from Regents International School in Bangkok mentioned that in comparison to StudyWiz it seemed to be a better environment, due to it being more open-sourced, allowing of more plug-ins.

What is Frog?

  • An application development platform, with a learning platform built into it – (Scripting functionality)
  • Customized for each school
  • No programming involved.  All GUI
  • Primary and Secondary versions
  • Delivered on a server within the school – helps with performance
  • Accessible from home
  • Social networking modules are incorporated into the interface – Feeds
  • Uses SIMS
  • Allows SCORM content
  • Allows for differentiating using groups
  • Froglite – runs in the background monitors and manages documents used through Frog
  • Unpacks Zip files
  • Allows for permissions
  • Has an e-portfolio
  • Resources can be turned into widgets – like Netvibes, iGoogle
  • Markbook
  • Email System
  • Planner
  • Works with pre-existing CMS (Course Management System)
  • Allows access to proprietary programs through secure gateway (for example, students can use Adobe, Microsoft, Sims, etc. from home)
  • Computer control within system – switch internet on and off – no screen monitoring though
  • Staff notice system – implemented along with champions
  • Live, online collaborative documents – form, page-building, diary systems
  • Online detention system
  • Work-spaces (Groups) are available to be created and managed – allowing groups to collaborate
  • Skins (personalized) are available for users
  • Mac-style (personal) dashboard
  • Integration with Google Apps (Free for Education)
  • Parent portal – graphing tools, attendance, behavior, assessment
  • Language Character Sets available for database – front end support only in English
  • Apps work well in Firefox and are being developed for iPhones and iPads
  • Implementation take about 12-18 months
  1. 21,000-27,000 pounds initial cost (Servers included – Dell – 2 Terabyte/Mirrored Drive with backups)
  2. 5000-7000 recurring prices
  3. Financing available
  4. 700 student limit

Pretty cool all around.  However, it is expensive for some schools.

The old adage, “You get what you pay for” seems to ring true with this system!


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How to choose a camera

Being a tech teacher allots a considerable amount of questions when it comes to buying electronics.  “Which computer to buy?  Which external hard drive? Which phone?  etc.”  I neither profess nor even hint to the fact that I am not an expert on the latest gadgets available on the market at the time.  However, I will always sit down with the person and have a good look at what the new and improved versions are of whichever gadget he or she is interested in.  One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “Which camera should I buy?”  In this article I am not going to mention any brand names and definitely not any models, but I will talk about some things that you might want to consider.

  1. Think about how you want to use it?  For example, do you want it at the ready all the time?  If this is a factor, I would consider getting something small, that fits in your pocket and is probably a part of some phone or other multipurpose electronic equipment?  Most phones these days have a pretty good built in camera with a high enough resolution to make the average user happy.
  2. Are you serious about photography?  If this is a primary concern then you will want to consider a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflect) camera with interchangeable lenses.
  3. Most cameras on the market these days will take a fairly good photograph.  It is only if you want to blow pictures up beyond an 8.5×11 that you need to start concerning yourself with how many megapixels the camera is.
  4. Find one that suits your needs: underwater, stylish, durable, small, usb connection, etc.  There are so many choices and there are many new things that cameras can do like red-eye flash, panorama shots, 3d photographs, geo-tracking, and more that you need to figure out what concerns you the most and then prioritize.  Good websites to compare would be:

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