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BSF Thread, I (we) categorically do not want BSF Managed ICT in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Originally Posted by danieldainty I have only seen schools with in-house techies that have unused/in-repair kit piled up in a ...
  1. #46

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danieldainty View Post
    I have only seen schools with in-house techies that have unused/in-repair kit piled up in a corner somewhere, but have not seen this where a MSP of any sort is involved.

    This usually though is a symptom of a missing link; network manager not knowing what to do with the kit, or the MSP's assigned manager/consultant either not knowing that kit is piling up or some other sort of hold-up.

    However - if kit is piling up, or is unused in large swathes, whose fault is it? Not a rhetorical question, just want to know where you think the fault lies.
    The usual reason for any kit piling up, unused or unrepaired, can be narrowed down to a few items:

    • Lack of time, as the IT team is too small
    • Lack of training, not necessarily in the IT team - it could be the teachers who don't have the training to use the kit
    • Lack of forsight to buy warranties/cater for broken machines
    • Lack of funding


    Every single one of those items can be blamed on the SMT, and a small amount on the IT team (but only if they have not been reporting the points above to their SMT), and also a small amount on teachers (ie. if they want training about something, they should be asking for it!).

    I must admit, there have been a few times that I have been hit by every one of those points, as I'm sure most IT managers have.

    It comes back to Grumbledook's earlier comment about policies and procedures, and my comment about getting a school to follow them. Without SMT support, its impossible. BSF and MSPs only allow for a more structured approach because the SMT is mostly removed from that loop and gains someone to blame.

  2. #47

    broc's Avatar
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    Kit piling up; Yes we have a lot of that.... Guilty! But sometimes things aren't always what they seem.


    I have:

    Equipment sent by the LA, without consulting us or asking what we wanted.

    Broken equipment, to be cannabalised for spares to keep old iron 'running'. My technician colleagues are very resourceful & practiced at salvage & repair

    Equipment being stored because the temporary classrooms (we are a partial BSF build) are too small to deploy.

    Obsolete equipment being stored because we cannot afford to pay for its disposal since my budget was wiped out last September because of BSF.

    So don't be judgemental about why schools have 'loads of kit piling up'

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by danieldainty View Post
    However - if kit is piling up, or is unused in large swathes, whose fault is it? Not a rhetorical question, just want to know where you think the fault lies.
    Sorry Daniel, perhaps i didn't make myself clear enough. I dont think any hardware gets piled up but what i do feel and what I have heard is that various technologies are not being used for various reasons.

    great example from academies:

    Nottingham Djanogly(or how ever it was spelt) none of their Displays were working at the time our SLT went, another bug bare of mine was their power management strategy for their mobile devices was all wrong and a complete mess.
    another academy(sorry for being vague was a year ago), I believe they have a not cheap Video distribution system of some sort that hardly got used and once staff got over the "rabbits in headlights" effect from all the other tech the system was out of date and didn't meet their requirements.

    As where the fault lies.....

    i dont think its 1 part of the whole process that fails, just little bits here and there.
    Consultants, School management, LA, government, MSP's although i suppose at the end of the day it comes down to policy.
    staggering the tech into the school might help reduce the "must spend now" mentality. hell if you are allowed to do it pre-completion as part of CPD, creating these experimental spaces with 100k budgets and so on, i am pretty sure you could allow a budget for post completion install of IT Services to allow for proper time to be spent on CPD and planning on those systems 12 months down the line.

  4. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    Obsolete equipment being stored because we cannot afford to pay for its disposal since my budget was wiped out last September because of BSF.
    Isn’t this just so annoying that you have to pay to dispose of old kit

    We must get 3 calls a week from companies wanting to dispose of our old kit for free , though strangely enough when we tell them they can gladly have all our old CRT monitors they want to charge us and then they have the cheek to ask us if we have any XP machines we are throwing away like err no

    Anyways back to my original post
    So I talked to our union rep and he informs me the unions are not happy at all about BSF and have a lot of complaints !
    Last edited by sjpage10; 1st April 2010 at 04:34 PM.

  5. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpage10 View Post
    Anyways back to my original post
    So I talked to our union rep and he informs me the unions are not happy at all about BSF and have a lot of complaints !
    And many have said that for the last few years ... and not done much about it. Both Russ and I have tried to see if unions were that bothered and the response was lack-lustre.

    Then again ... some unions really don't seem to be bothered about single-status either, and many have viewed that as an attempt by some councils to lower the ceiling on support staff to make it easier to outsource them / TUPE them.

    If you can get leverage with the unions that would be a good thing.

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    Just a thought

    with a managed service, would the ICT staff left behind (if any)

    Look After?

    Sims (or whatever admin program used) - run all updates assist with all support installs etc.

    DSAS (or whatever accounts package)

    the website - keep it working and up to date etc

    Display Screens - keep them working and up to date etc

    Looking after our mediastation

    Pohtographing events

    Videoing events

    converting video,music etc to cd/dvd

    CCTV - keep them working and monitor them (we have to least review events once a day for some kind of skirmish)

    Assist ICT teachers when they can’t suss things out

    Investigate and price up new equipment

    or would these not be seen as part of the roll ?
    Last edited by sjpage10; 1st April 2010 at 07:07 PM.

  7. #52

    broc's Avatar
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    There is no single simple answer....

    It depends what is agreed & in the contract. If a school is prepared to pay, anything (honest,legal and decent) is possible....

  8. #53

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    changes for most are huge leaps beyond what they had before it can often take people time to work out how best to use what's available to them. Rabbits in headlights springs to mind.
    That's quite a compelling take, but can I just call it 'culture shock' please?

    once staff got over the "rabbits in headlights" effect from all the other tech the system was out of date and didn't meet their requirements.
    Interesting too. My whining was based on the (unstated) premise: "it'll be [bleepin] obsolescent by the time they've got it working!". If it is generally about people getting around to using as opposed to the tech being really buggy, then that is less troubling, but on reflection not much.

    My very first system commissioning job 15 years back had truckloads in common with a BSF (and then some) and the very shiny tech involved was a lot more for people to take on board in those days. The tech "snagging" was pretty much over in three months and at an organisational level, I'd say it was settled in six.

    Years ::eek!:: If that is what happens for those reasons, then yes a more incremental approach sounds like a very good, probably the only plausible, plan.

  9. #54
    monkeyx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpage10 View Post
    Just a thought

    with a managed service, would the ICT staff left behind (if any)

    Look After?

    Sims (or whatever admin program used) - run all updates assist with all support installs etc.

    DSAS (or whatever accounts package)

    the website - keep it working and up to date etc

    Display Screens - keep them working and up to date etc

    Looking after our mediastation

    Pohtographing events

    Videoing events

    converting video,music etc to cd/dvd

    CCTV - keep them working and monitor them (we have to least review events once a day for some kind of skirmish)

    Assist ICT teachers when they canít suss things out

    Investigate and price up new equipment

    or would these not be seen as part of the roll ?
    Nearly all of the above is out of scope of the contract in the schools that are part of wave1 BSF in our area. The list of exclusions to the contract is considerable, especially when you see what the yearly service charge is!

    If you are working out a counter financial bid as part of your APBC then it is worth costing what these exclusions would cost the school. Just remember the focus of the APBC is teaching and learning, if you can do more with the money then that is a bonus

    Tim

    Tim

  10. #55
    danieldainty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    ]Equipment sent by the LA, without consulting us or asking what we wanted.
    Does that include your £x,xxx worth of video-conferencing kit that you bought/the LA donated/you acquired otherwise but never got the oppotunity to use? Wouldn't surprse me if it did. You wouldn't be the only school!

    But yes, I agree - and yes it is all about policy and procedure ... but it's also about strategy, and making sure that when you buy or get given the kit, it has a policy or plan supporting its use. And if your MSP doesn't have a plan to use it then it's going to stay piled up or unused, and the cycle will repeat itself...

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    Quote Originally Posted by danieldainty View Post
    £x,xxx worth of video-conferencing kit that you bought/the LA
    One has to wonder why anyone would want or pay more than what say £30 for a webcam running any of the many free conferencing options available

    as how often would you ever use it !

    Comes back to

    The mistake of the past is too much emphasis on technology – e.g. fast computers, expensive multimedia centres and broadcast stations, but with little attention to how they can effectively transform learning. Schools were wrong in adapting students to technology instead of adapting technology to students

    one of our English teachers bought a £400 visualiser without consulting us , then got very upset when they realised they needed a projector to use it doh! even more upset when I told them we could have set them a webcam up with macro on their laptop for them for about £30 that would have been fine for what they wanted

    It ended up in our office time after time and every time I explained it would not work without a projector/monitor etc - in the end I told them if it came back again I would take great pleasure in seeing how well it would withstand a 40 foot drop in to a skip

    Did I b0ll0ck them oh yes, they are supposed to consult us before any IT purchases
    Last edited by sjpage10; 2nd April 2010 at 08:14 AM.

  12. #57

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpage10 View Post
    One has to wonder why anyone would want or pay more than what say £30 for a webcam running any of the many free conferencing options available

    as how often would you ever use it !

    Comes back to

    The mistake of the past is too much emphasis on technology Ė e.g. fast computers, expensive multimedia centres and broadcast stations, but with little attention to how they can effectively transform learning. Schools were wrong in adapting students to technology instead of adapting technology to students

    one of our English teachers bought a £400 visualiser without consulting us , then got very upset when they realised they needed a projector to use it doh! even more upset when I told them we could have set them a webcam up with macro on their laptop for them for about £30 that would have been fine for what they wanted

    It ended up in our office time after time and every time I explained it would not work without a projector/monitor etc - in the end I told them if it came back again I would take great pleasure in seeing how well it would withstand a 40 foot drop in to a skip

    Did I b0ll0ck them oh yes, they are supposed to consult us before any IT purchases
    I agree many schools invested poorly in VC equipment. Our federation has £18k of VC cameras currently not doing anything, because the initiative they were used for has ended, and when it was running we had a fair amount of issues.

    However, you can't compare the quality of a £3k VC camera with a £30 webcam. A £30 webcam will not be capable of 1.5Mbit quality streams, PTZ, dual output and most of all 'easy' use - ie. turn it on, click a few things on the remote and you're connected.

    If the idea had been planned better, with the cameras not being bought just for one thing, I'm pretty sure they would be more use. Things such as international VC calls to French classes would be ideal, but no-one wants to think about it.

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    A £30 webcam will not be capable of 1.5Mbit quality streams,
    True, however I based this on the fact that for how much it would ever be used who would notice Lol

    though you could by a cheap HD cam and stream it at 1.5mbit though as you say this is not always straight forward and we know teachers like it straight forward and the last we thing we want to do is create more work for ourselves

    the truth is no matter how much kit you have or give no matter how cheap or expensive, how well it is used usually comes down to whether or not the teaches will use it, we find most of the ones under 25 try it those over struggle those over 35 don’t like to go near it – not to be ageist of course especially as I fit in to the top bracket


    Get this one though
    when we installed some whiteboards last year one of the teachers a woman in her 50's I’ll mention no names, came crying to me that she had asked for it to be set to project on one side of the room, not directly in the middle (lol we pulled out her dry wipe board) - she ended up in tears I explained under no circumstances where we moving it, but I would give a demonstration on how to use it
    Well you could have knocked me out with a feather. Within an hour she had sussed it and was using it, within the week she was madly in love with it and now she wouldn’t be without it

    It’s just that initial barrier that she didn’t want to cross

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpage10 View Post
    one of our English teachers bought a £400 visualiser without consulting us , then got very upset when they realised they needed a projector to use it doh! even more upset when I told them we could have set them a webcam up with macro on their laptop for them for about £30 that would have been fine for what they wanted
    but surely they would have still needed a projector if they used your cheaper method ?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpage10 View Post
    True, however I based this on the fact that for how much it would ever be used who would notice Lol
    Oh, its definitely noticeable when you've got a class of 30 kids on the end of a session.

    Get this one though
    when we installed some whiteboards last year one of the teachers a woman in her 50's Iíll mention no names, came crying to me that she had asked for it to be set to project on one side of the room, not directly in the middle (lol we pulled out her dry wipe board) - she ended up in tears I explained under no circumstances where we moving it, but I would give a demonstration on how to use it
    Well you could have knocked me out with a feather. Within an hour she had sussed it and was using it, within the week she was madly in love with it and now she wouldnít be without it

    Itís just that initial barrier that she didnít want to cross
    Yup, I think a lot of teachers are actually just scared of failure so don't even want to try. I've given plenty of 1 to 1 training to some of the older staff in our school who were under-using things, and now they use tech almost as much as the younger staff.

    There are, of course, always a few who would rather schools used chalkboards still and hold IT staff personally responsible for any change...

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