Google Classroom gets nod & 1BestariNet Frog VLE got booted out
PETALING JAYA: Teachers and parents are glad that the troublesome Frog virtual learning environment (VLE) and 1BestariNet will no longer be used in schools.
Teacher M. Punitha described the Frog VLE as very “user-unfriendly”.
The secondary school teacher from Melaka said she was excited to hear that Google Classroom would take over.
On Thursday, the Education Ministry announced that the contract with 1BestariNet to provide Internet access to schools nationwide would end tomorrow.
It also said when Phase 2 of the 1BestariNet service expired, schools would replace Frog VLE with Google Classroom.
“Google Classroom is not only free but easy to learn. We don’t need to attend courses and teachers are not being forced to use it,” said Punitha, adding that she had used the programme for the past two years to file her lesson plans.
She said most schools used both applications but Frog VLE was the official platform for the ministry.
“Schools have no choice but to use the old platform as metrics were being recorded.
“But about a month ago, teachers were told to back up their teaching content on Google Drive.
“We knew something was going to happen,” she said.
Punitha said a lot of money was spent on 1BestariNet but not everyone was using it, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
1BestariNet was introduced in 2011 to provide high-speed wireless 4G Internet to over 10,000 schools in the country.
The 15-year project cost taxpayers RM4.077bil.
However, various complaints, such as Internet installation delays and poor broadband access were highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report and Public Accounts Committee in 2013 and 2014.
Koay Yan Lin, another secondary school teacher, agreed as she felt that Google Classroom was easier to navigate than Frog VLE.
“There’s no further information on the new platform, so we are not sure how it’s going to be,” she said.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession said it fully supported the ministry’s decision to terminate 1BestariNet and Frog VLE.
Its secretary-general Harry Tan said Google Classroom was “more cost effective, easily available and user friendly”.
“Most importantly, it is current, convenient and connected,” he said, adding that many teachers were against 1BestariNet and Frog VLE due to various problems.
“The ministry can change it anytime as there is no contract or money involved,” he said.
A parent, who wanted to be known as Chee, said he was delighted the contract was not renewed.
“The plan should have been scrapped a long time ago as it was ineffective and did not benefit the majority of teachers and students,” he said.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said: “It is crucial that Internet access is equal for all urban and rural schools to ensure there is no digital divide.”
She said the capability of a teacher to use technology to teach and the school’s management as well as support for teachers should also be taken into consideration when implementing the new platform.
“Teacher readiness to new approaches and thinking is a perennial problem,” she said.