SharePoint Online can easily replace conventional school VLEs thereby saving schools money. It may be that SharePoint doesn’t have some of the education specific functionality that dedicated school VLEs have, however there are easy work arounds for this or it is simply a question of whether the often high per student licensing cost is worth it for functionality which is often limited in its use.
One of the particular things I like with SharePoint Online is the ability to easily embed content from other educational tools such as Wakelet or Flipgrid.
The key to doing this is the Embed Webpart, which is available when editing a page.
Simple add this to a page and then past in the appropriate Embed code from the site into the relevant embedcode box which appears on the right of the screen.
Please note, if you are unable to embed from a given site/service it may be necessary to allow the embedding for this site/service or to ask you IT admin to do this for you. This involves going into Site Settings and then HTML Field Security.
Here you will find a list of the domain names/web addresses which are enabled for your sharepoint site and therefore can be embedded. To add additional sites simply add the web address. E.g. to allow Wakelet we simply add http://www.wakelet.com to the list.
Alternatively you could change the setting to all contributors from any domain however this is a less secure approach and therefore isn’t recommended.
For me SharePoint online may not be filled with specific educational related functionality however it is quick and easy to use, is very scalable, allows embedding of common educational tools such as wakelet and lacks the high additional cost of traditional VLEs. I think this therefore makes it an ideal tool to consider for use in schools.