ÎLE-DE-FRANCE VLE AT THE CENTRE OF THE REGION'S EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL PLAN
With 11.7 million residents spread across 1281 municipalities in eight geographic areas, Île-de-France is the most populous region in France.
Île-de-France is responsible for implementing education programmes in the region's lycées (schools for students from 15-18 years). To reduce inequality in educational achievement among students, the Île-de-France regional government defined major goals for its education policy. One of its key aims is to help students to master and use information technology thereby reducing social and geographic inequality. It will also help foster dialogue among all members of the educational community: students, teachers, parents, educational advisers, etc.
In 2009, the Regional government, supported by ministerial efforts, launched the largest virtual learning environment (VLE) project in Europe. Called Lilie, it aims to serve all 471 "lycées" in the Île-de-France region by the end of 2012 with assistance from CGI.
The key challenge was to help 1.2 million users, including 475,000 "lycées" students, join the digital age – and to use this activity to bring together the educational community.
The aim was not only to make the tool available, but to foster its use. There were four primary objectives:
- Integrate registration, results and authorisation services
- Strengthen communication between members of the education community
- Promote educational success
- Use open technology to promote sharing
The region is certainly in the spotlight with this 6-year, 24 million Euro project. As a pioneer, it must succeed in its goals to encourage other regions to participate too. The end goal is to create a community that can gradually enrich the Île-de-France virtual learning environment and benefit other communities wishing to take on the challenge.
In the invitation to tender phase, we knew that we had to convince the Regional government that we could implement this ambitious project.
First, we had to ensure that our solution fully met the Regional Council's requirements. The use of open source technology was important as it enables enhancements to be made quickly and easily by publishing the source code for the solution on a portal, for example.
Because it is scalable, it can be continually enriched with new uses resulting from user feedback. Its functionality integrates all professions and groups within the education world, enabling it to be adapted to each user type. Lastly, deployment of the solution following the SaaS model guarantees continuous availability of the resources at a competitive cost.
Throughout the project, we are working in close partnership with the client. An example of our long-term commitment and mutual trust is the sharing of the solution's intellectual property.
Through our strong presence in the field, we have helped implement the solution and train the "lycée" administrators: a CGI consultant assisted each institution for 3 months. Also, our knowledge of the education world helped us adapt our service to closely align with their requirements.
Planning for success
The deployment, which began in October 2009, will continue until the end of 2012, by which time all 471 "lycées" will be equipped with the VLE. One year after the start of the project, we are already seeing 10,000 connections per day, at 150 institutions.
The solution has been enhanced during the course of the 3 deployment phases with the addition of new functionality such as career development. The source code has also been published on the Adullact portal and the community website www.lilie.org.
The virtual learning environment is constantly evolving, for example through the addition of digital resources, enabling it to access content such as lesite.tv.
Other communities are starting to take on the challenge, reusing all or part of the Île-de-France virtual learning environment. For example, the Rhône-Alpes region has also asked us to equip its public "lycées" with a virtual learning environment that will eventually bring together nearly 500,000 members.
Indeed, Île-de-France is well-positioned to lead the way internationally with its VLE programme as schools in other countries will be able to take advantage of it too.
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