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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJF View Post
    I'll tell you one thing BSF won't cure: idiot users who report a fault with something only for you to discover that it's either (a) not plugged in, (b) not powered up, (c) cables are loose or missing, or (d) network cable is not plugged in. Most of you will know that many of the people in schools who complain the most and liudest about ICT support are the worst offenders.
    In the interests of fairness, the users you refer to as idiots are generally not idiots; they are usually stressed, working under pressure, often poorly trained in IT, and they are not exclusive to education. They exist in droves in industry too. I worked for a Global IT company who employed highly trained, highly paid technical sales staff and they were just as helpless..... however they could sell a client a £25m IT solution... but they often needed help in the most basic of IT tasks.

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  3. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    The Govt has decided that there is not enough evidence that schools and their staff do know best, so they are taking good practice from places like academies (who have had to have wholesale change to improve the T&L) or leading CTCs (who have become academies too) and get things going
    Academies are not all shining examples of good practice...... despite having far more money thrown at them per student than an ordinary school can dream of.

    This extra money is not always wisely spent; I know of one where the IT staff were astonished to find they could buy PCs at their local PC World for half the price they were being charged by their 'preferred' supplier. I can see the same thing happening under BSF.

  4. #63

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    i have a younger cousin of 2nd generation. His mother my cousin has told me about the woes of these so called 'academy' places. Basically a complete feck up.

  5. #64
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    I've been sitting on my hands in this thread, my novel in the "Computing" BSF thread contains all my responses to the above! But just sticking the video on to listen to again, I couldn't help but mention this brilliant(ly idiotic) statement:

    "The really appealing thing is to bring in the professionals from outside, that is their role & that is their job, and if they have an issue, they have people they can go to for advice"

    OK... so as IT Manager that's not my role & my job now? Once upon a time, I didn't work there, and they brought my in, a professional, from the outside! I have people I can go to for advice as well, umm... EduGeek for a start? OK, so we don't all work for the same company, it's more ad-hoc, but surely, if the Open-Source scene should teach us anything????

    Yes, BSF will be great for a significant minority of schools who, for one reason or another, have rubbish IT. For that, BSF is great. However, as that video shows, obviously the school they where talking to has had very poor ICT, how about talking to a school that is at the top end of the spectrum with in-house IT? See how they faired - A few threads on here referencing the Head that has refused BSF unless they take the IT out for exactly the reason that it won't improve things and will take away their innovation.

    Fine, sell ICT BSF for the areas it's truly needed in, but don't just brazenly lie, we should be balanced about BSF? Yes we should, but so should P4S, and they're not, and aren't they supposed to be so much better than us? At least we CAN accept that their are a few cases where ICT BSF makes sense, their attitude is simply, "all school ICT is rubbish, there are no IT professionals in schools, here we come to save the day".

    Treat the ICT BSF as you do special measures, create KPIs for school IT, force SLTs to make the strategic leadership of IT a post within the school, that MUST be listened to. If schools then fail those KPIs, if money is still misappropriated, then stick them in "special measures", whether that be the ICT BSF, or a centre of excellence school near by, then you end up with all schools at baseline, or better, for ICT, unlike a blanket ICT BSF approach, that means all schools will be baseline, and that's it.

    Tell us about BSF and Tell us about BSF for my previous novella on this!
    Last edited by Diello; 11th February 2009 at 09:04 PM.

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  7. #65

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    @Diello

    I had drafted a lengthy response but instead I'll just pose another question. Is BSF just about buildings or IT? Has anyone here considered the educational side of things ... curriculum redesign? The idea that someone designs the educational and then looks for tools to do the job?

    I am not saying the issues you raise are not valid, far from it ... but when a head is given a choice between a delivered service that actually means that there can be major changes in the way things work at the school and staying where they are ... what do you think they will do?

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    so as IT Manager that's not my role & my job now?
    Sorry but if you're in a school then no it's not. You might be a particularly good IT Manager, but you're almost certainly a jack-of-all-trades. IT is a huge, huge, huge area.

    The problem is that (having been one in some areas after a long time in R&D) I've yet to spot what I'd call a credible "expert" in the managed service provider I know best. One reason is that real-world IT is seriously ageist - even if they have the talent, a lot of people working in it simply don't have enough experience. Or if they do have the expertise they've often moved past the places that would benefit from it.

    I know of one BSF school where the Head told the managed service provider to remove their network management software
    Mmm.. I can think of some very recent comments by someone in a school (grafted onto a BSF deal) who would probably kill for that to happen.

    You do have to wonder why these everso, professional experts put broken, presumably school, network management software in there the first place. That's certainly not 'industry standard', nor is it anything like professional (in the ethical/standards sense) to implement something you know is deficient... and if they didn't know they're incompetent amateurs.

  9. #67
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    Keep remembering little gems...
    "I don't need my staff to be working out a bug in the software, i need them to be teaching
    ICT should be done by experts, not the educators"

    Show of hands please - when was the last time you saw a teacher debugging software? Yes, your teachers should be teaching, if they're trying to be IT Professionals, you've got some major management problems. Someone needs to tell him he shouldn't be expecting the IT professionals he employed that they should be teachers either, shock-horror, it's a different skills set (staff training, the odd lesson here and there, ad-hoc bits the exception).

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    @Diello

    I had drafted a lengthy response but instead I'll just pose another question. Is BSF just about buildings or IT? Has anyone here considered the educational side of things ... curriculum redesign? The idea that someone designs the educational and then looks for tools to do the job?

    I am not saying the issues you raise are not valid, far from it ... but when a head is given a choice between a delivered service that actually means that there can be major changes in the way things work at the school and staying where they are ... what do you think they will do?
    Thing is - the points you've always raised are perfectly true, don't think that can really be disputed. The question is, is the proposed fix to the problem, worth it if that fix is applied in a blanket approach, harming other areas on the way. If we could cure a very nasty disease, but for that particular remedy for the disease to work, it has to be applied to the whole population, with the side effect that for those not suffering from the disease, it induces a chronic heart condition - Do we go with the remedy or don't we? Do we wait for one without the side effects? A rather poor analogy perhaps, but it's late

    The answer to your question depends on if you're asking "is it" or "should it be".

    "Is BSF just about buildings or ICT?" - The BSF we have now? Yes, it is (some exceptions that I'll get to in a moment). Should it be? No, it should be about more.

    "Has anyone here considered the educational side of things ... curriculum redesign?" - Not really, and certainly not to the extent they should be. If you want to do "this", BSF, if you want to make such a radical change, make it worth partially selling out education as a commodity, really revamp education.

    Truth is, it's not happening in any major sense. SSAT are coming up with some good ideas, some really innovative teachers are, but they're a drop in a very big ocean. New qualifications/curriculums are being pushed out in the near term, huge changes to syllabuses, but none of them are breaking the mould.

    Maybe, if it happens, once all schools are BSF'd, and it's bedded in for a considerable time, and IT professionals in schools are remembered like we remember the Miners now, exam boards will change their styles radically (the new diplomas are a start, but it's a slow process), the landscape of teaching will change - but by that time, BSF, certainly with the contract length lockins, will be long in the tooth too.

    If you need an example - simply watch the video. It's BSF propaganda (nothing wrong in that, we do a similar thing on a smaller scale, their views, our views), but to those of us already doing the job, if it wasn't so serious, re-watch it, and think of it as a comedy, also something we could put together ourselves as anti-BSF!

    Why? That video is their pinnacle. Of all the material they have, that's what they chose to show-off the ICT portion of BSF. You know what? It's been said here by others, and it's true for us too, we... already... do... that...

    Home access to file? That's their "WOW-factor"... we already do that.
    A web-based collection of resources? We already have that, it's called a VLE.
    Quick response times? We already have that, darn sight faster than 30 minutes.

    Fix first time? 19 times out of 20, better than them, and that 1 time is because it's either a rare issue, or a bug in 3rd party program. Managed service is going to have that too, unless they're going to write all the educational software themselves.

    Music technology? Yup, 2 specialist IT suites, a specialist set of laptops, and a state-of-the-art (for education anyway!) recording studio. O, and we've got a similar setup for DT too.

    Audio-editing outside of music? Yup, Audacity used in IT, podcasting used over language, both English and MFL. O, and we've got our own broadcast channel in school too.

    BSF will aid innovation, great - show me? Where is it? Because it sure as heck isn't in their video. Prove to me BSF will make a difference to my school, then I'll embrace it. Right now, I embrace it only for those schools, that for one reason or another, are below baseline, then bring in BSF to those schools, and for the sake of those kids, do it now.

    "when a head is given a choice between a delivered service that actually means that there can be major changes in the way things work at the school and staying where they are ... what do you think they will do?"

    When a Head is given the choice of a delivered service that actually means that, let me know please, because that's a bandwagon I want to jump on. Even now, most of our teachers have no clue what BSF is, or that it's coming. Most of the other school staff outside of ours I know don't know either. You want to provide something that can facilitate major changes to education? Fine, lets have a huge, multi-year consultation process, let's pull in Head Teachers, teachers from all types and styles of schools, educational IT professionals, the other school support staff, lets rebuild this from the ground up, lets decide how we wish we could educate, THEN we'll sit down and work out the buildings and resources we need for that. Lacklustre PathFinders and the odd PFI build just don't cut the mustard, not if you're talking something as radical is BSF. Then lets not make damaging tradeoffs to save the money - lets make sure EVERY school can tailor it's offering at whatever degree it wants, lets make the MSP ultimately responsible to each school individually, let's make sure that each school has enough IT staff, with enough access and freedom, to let that school innovate.

    Then we can talk about it being worth turning education into a commodity because the payback is so worthwhile. If a jobs worth doing, it's worth doing right.

    Of the Heads and SLT I've talked to in my "travels" - I've met two kinds when it comes to BSF, and their opinions on the ICT portion:
    1) Those that have limited interest in the school leveraging technology, & would much rather leave it down to individual teachers to go it alone, if they so wish - that have mediocre or worse facilities and IT staff because the Head doesn't want to fund it - These Heads love ICT BSF, finally they get to pass the buck. For those schools, BSF is brilliant, but generally for the precise reason that the Head just doesn't care.
    2) Those that breath innovation and the use of IT in T&L, those that will push their staff to use it anyway they can if it aids learning. Those that have someone on the SLT specifically co-ordinating the school's IT effort, that know their IT professionals on the staff, because they talk to them often. These Heads loath ICT BSF, because all of a sudden, their ability to innovate has just been ripped out of hands.


    See... told you I wasn't getting involved
    Last edited by Diello; 11th February 2009 at 11:30 PM.

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  11. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    @Diello

    I had drafted a lengthy response but instead I'll just pose another question. Is BSF just about buildings or IT? Has anyone here considered the educational side of things ... curriculum redesign? The idea that someone designs the educational and then looks for tools to do the job?

    I am not saying the issues you raise are not valid, far from it ... but when a head is given a choice between a delivered service that actually means that there can be major changes in the way things work at the school and staying where they are ... what do you think they will do?
    BSF School Design process - an idiots guide.... by an ex-Chair of Governors at a secondary school involved in an early wave of BSF, somewhere in the UK

    The vision statement....

    "Don't be constrained by cost; space; square rooms... think about how you can make use of space... don't think subjects.... think about education.... think 'outside the box'...,think about what you need to educate our children in the 21st century...."

    then it's engage new set of consultants... then ....

    "Ok, thanks for all the great ideas... but we only have £xxm available for your school, so we may need to make some compromises.... but we must make sure the design of the building makes an impact, it's got to look good as we want to get an award for our brilliant design...."

    and then.... another set of consultants who say ....

    "The building footprint is too big, BB98 says you can only have nnn sq metres, because by completion date the school roll will have fallen from 1200 students to 1000 students... so you can't have the staffroom, offices for SMT & heads of year,meeting rooms.. cupboards ... wide corridors... a theatre. Why not extend the school day, bring in Y7-Y9 at 8am until 2pm, Y10-Y11 at 11am until 5pm to save space..... not forgetting give everyone a mobile computing device and save space by getting rid of IT rooms... but it still needs to look good because we still want to get our design award..."

    By now, you are reduced to trying to find creative ways of saving floorspace... get rid of corridors, make the kids circulate round the outside of the building..... you need multi-purpose space, staff need to 'hot-classroom' as there are fewer rooms than staff... can we manage without cleaners cupboards? We don't need any space for IT staff as we won't have any.... but it still needs to look good because .....

    Now so far, apart from the initial vision statement... little or no consideration or time has been spent on curriculum... or consultation with staff....it's all cut cost...cut footprint... go round the loop... pay for more consultants... cut cost ... cut footprint....

    Give up. resign.

    OK, so I paint a pessimistic picture, but that's how I remember the first couple of years of my BSF involvement
    Last edited by broc; 11th February 2009 at 11:51 PM.

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  13. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    BSF School Design process - an idiots guide.... by an ex-Chair of Governors at a secondary school involved in an early wave of BSF, somewhere in the UK

    The vision statement....
    shudder .... vision statements ... I am just making a copy of an XP VM with Office 2003 on to allow me to put BullFighter on to deal with some of these.

    Major failing of these sort of documents (and why people get away with the chopping and changing) is that they have no real reference point, more often that not.

    They do not have references to research, to case studies, to real world implementations of T&L and the technology or learning spaces used. When you have this in place then it is not about "let's cut this bit out here to save money" because people can then really see what they are giving up. Damn ... going on about education stuff again instead of 'my network is better'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    shudder .... vision statements ... I am just making a copy of an XP VM with Office 2003 on to allow me to put BullFighter on to deal with some of these.

    Major failing of these sort of documents (and why people get away with the chopping and changing) is that they have no real reference point, more often that not.

    They do not have references to research, to case studies, to real world implementations of T&L and the technology or learning spaces used. When you have this in place then it is not about "let's cut this bit out here to save money" because people can then really see what they are giving up. Damn ... going on about education stuff again instead of 'my network is better'.
    Bullfighter... I love it!

    A little job for next week during half-term I think

    I wonder what it would think of a BSF draft output spec based upon the Partnership for Schools sample?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiqueABoo View Post
    You do have to wonder why these everso, professional experts put broken, presumably school, network management software in there the first place. That's certainly not 'industry standard', nor is it anything like professional (in the ethical/standards sense) to implement something you know is deficient... and if they didn't know they're incompetent amateurs.
    Possibly for the same reason why a number of members (including some fervently anti-BSF folk) run middleware ... to free them up to do other things around the school. The issue that these folk have (hence part of the anti-BSF position) is that some of these extra roles (VLE manager, CPD for staff, photographer / designer, etc) are not recognised as roles for IT support staff and these roles will either disappear and the person doing them disappears (downsizing staff?) A fair point the way MSPs are putting things in, but it is up to the school to fight for this flexibilty. Make sure that your job description is up to date and truly reflects the extras that you do is the best advice in this case ... and get the school to fight for the flexibilty!

  16. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    Bullfighter... I love it!

    A little job for next week during half-term I think

    I wonder what it would think of a BSF draft output spec based upon the Partnership for Schools sample?
    Please, please, please do not try it on anything technical. It has previously locked up my machine doing that (with both MS documentation on RIS and Becta IT Infrastructure Tech Spec!)

    Do try it on your job descriptions though ...

  17. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    to free them up to do other things around the school
    Yes, but that's the answer for middleware that meets the needs of the school (in practice).

    My point was that an MSP reverting a system to vanilla is an example of a serious failure, not a virtue.

  18. #74

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    Lean services

    Lean services is a concept I came across last year. Harvard Business Review:"lean service pursued brilliantly by Fujitsu" : FUJITSU UK might offer some light for IT staff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    In the interests of fairness, the users you refer to as idiots are generally not idiots; they are usually stressed, working under pressure, often poorly trained in IT, and they are not exclusive to education. They exist in droves in industry too. I worked for a Global IT company who employed highly trained, highly paid technical sales staff and they were just as helpless..... however they could sell a client a £25m IT solution... but they often needed help in the most basic of IT tasks.
    In the interests of fairness, you have no idea who these people are because I wasn't generalising as you were, I had specific people in mind, and in my opinion they are idiots...if opinions are stil allowed.



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