Hi folks ...
Before you get worked up I am not swearing at EMBC, I just wanted to stick this thread somewhere where it will not get indexed.
There is a meeting tomorrow of pontential new suppliers for EMBC and one of the people attending has asked if there is anything we wish to contribute as to what schools want out of them in the future.
My initial reply is below but if anyone wants to add things please let me know and I will pass it on.
Please note that comments of "just make it bloody well work for a change" can be taken as read, likewise "I'm not going with them if they are going to make me take 2 steps back" will be passed on too ...
Where to start ... the first place would be for you to have a read through the article here, http://www.edugeek.net/index.php?nam...article&sid=68 and see what you think of the comments made.
Secondly, the work done by Becta on IT Infrastructure (both the functional and technical specifications) need to be considered. Whoever the potential supplers are should be aware of these draft documents and whether they either meet what has already been put down, or that they are on the working party helping to write the documents. If you do not have copies of these documents (which can be a tad tedious) I can get them over to you ... but there is also information here, http://www.edugeek.net/index.php?nam...ewtopic&t=2840 .
Thirdly ... the standard network build. By all means have a minimum standard, but allow for schools to innovate and try new things. Perhaps there needs to be better communication between the LA, the EMBC and the service provider about what can be done and what needs discussion. Just saying "NO!" to someone who wants to be a little different is not the answer. With considerable effort it is possible to get EMBC to be adaptable, but there are unclear lines of communication and a feeling of 'them and us' between school (and not just techies) and the provider.
So ... a summary.
A break down of what you get and who controls it is needed. Only pay for what you need (connectivity, services, content). A minimum standard does not mean the only standard, but schools need to know how far they can push the boundaries too ... no point having a school asking for the stars if all you can reach is the moon. SLAs need to be between the end client (the school) and EMBC. The service provider needs to be accountable to both EMBC and the school. On some areas there is not a strong community feeling about EMBC, but is that the fault of the service provider or EMBC themselves?
Technological advances need to be shown to have an impact on education. Some things that need improving on service ... speed of access to emails, pre-caching, reliability of connection to both WAN and 'Net (no point having a 10 Meg line ... if you are running at 1 Meg to GCSE Bitesize due to poor caching). Adaptable structures in services provided, including more work on SSO within case studies.
Please give feedback on this.