I would like to recommend that you read Logan Rosen’s article that compares Blackboard, Sakai, and Moodle and describes his experiences with each product and his suggestion as to which product would be best for his high school:
Here are a few quotes from the article which I liked:
…Although Moodle and Sakai are free in a sense, most schools would opt instead for the all-inclusive hosting options provided by third-party companies, and which range from not-so-costly to very costly. I looked into what a hosting and support package would look like for Sakai. One of its providers, The Longsight Group, offers a solution which would cost approximately $12,500 per year.
… Since it is similar to Blackboard, Sakai doesn’t have much of a learning curve. This would reduce training costs. … The features that Sakai offers, such as a global calendar for all classes and better private messaging, give it an advantage over Blackboard and other systems.
I think that in just about 150 words – Logan captures the essence of the Sakai 2 value proposition. By the way, Logan is a sophomore at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut.
I think that Logan’s review points out something that we as the developer community often miss as we look at what we need to add and what we need to fix and how we never have the time to do what we dream of for the product.
From the point of view of teachers and students Sakai 2 is excellent software – quite mature and with a great commercial ecology around it because we have been around for a while.
Thanks to Ed Mansouri of www.ucompass.com for the pointer to Logan’s article.
P.S. Logan, I know it is a little early but we really like students with your kind of vision at University of Michigan – informatics.umich.edu :)