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General Chat Thread, £20,000 to spend on tech for SEN? in General; ...
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    reggiep's Avatar
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    £20,000 to spend on tech for SEN?

    I just had an email from one of our SEN dept teachers with this interesting line...

    I've been given a lot of money to spend on the catch-up pupils I teach - about £20,000!
    and asking for tech ideas, such as ipads, laptops or even a smart table.

    This always scares me when someone gets the money before having the idea on what to spend it on. I'd much rather have a need for IT and then raise the money for that idea.
    But seeing as I have been asked, what would you look at buying for that?

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Try to find out what sort of things they need [based on typical problems they encounter with the subjects they teach]


    Just buying something because you have the money will just end up with more problems.

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    reggiep (8th October 2013)

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    Miscbrah's Avatar
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    20,000 USB mug warmers.

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    reggiep (8th October 2013)

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    Galway's Avatar
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    This is one of my gripes with schools.

    Things like this should be a SLT issue, and fed top down not from the bottom up. We should be involved in the consultation stage to see if ideas are viable and can be implemented, speaking as a tecky.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggiep View Post
    even a smart table
    Actually not a bad idea - I saw some at BETT this year for around £2,500. Not SMART, but actually designed for primary / SEN classrooms - basically solid, robust chunks of aluminium with a touch screen embedded in the top. Nothing fancy but looked well-made and likly to stand up to a bit of knocking around, probably more so than half a dozen iPads at the same price and would probably accomodate the same number of pupils stood round.

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    reggiep (8th October 2013)

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galway View Post
    Things like this should be a SLT issue, and fed top down not from the bottom up. We should be involved in the consultation stage to see if ideas are viable and can be implemented, speaking as a tecky.
    There are some who do like to get involved in the world of (in this case) educational technology and how it's used. They can then add value by talking in detail about what's out there and what other schools/teachers are doing with the tech. A broad background in that can come in handy during a round-table discussion as it opens up the options. A technologist should have broad experience of "what is out there"; teaching staff and teaching leaders should have broad experience of how they personally might want to use it to meet their own/departmental/strategic goals. When managed well it can turn into a collaborative partnership.

    The suggestions for electronic registration, interactive voting devices, Securus, side-wide wireless, pupil e-mail moving to Exchange, an e-safety group, a strategic ICT group and departmental discussions around the use of technology with the IT Department have all come from me at this place. That's in addition to the strategic development of the system in terms of the move to virtualisation, developing backup and DR facilities etc. It's actually quite fun when you get into it, plus you are adding value not just maintaining the status quo. These are definitely SLT-level discussions but educators aren't the only ones who can (or should) talk about educational technology. You need the technologists involved as well. If I wanted a job that literally consisted of being told what to do and doing it I'd look for another career.

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    reggiep (8th October 2013)

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    It's always a problem when someone says 'Here's the money, spend it', rather than 'How much would it cost to do 'x'' as there is now the danger that chunks of it will be wasted with little thought going into what is really needed.
    I suppose a starting point would be to ask what are the actual and pressing needs of the pupils and staff in that department rather than them pressuring you into buying a whole raft of kit because it's shiny.

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    reggiep (8th October 2013)

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Identify the need - then find the device/budget to match.

    Have you got a local SILC you can speak to once you have identified the needs of the users?

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    £20K? £20K! Take then on a team building / bonding course in Africa or somewhere where they can stroke hyenas or something?

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    dany2010 (8th October 2013), Sunnyknight (8th October 2013)

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    Sunnyknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    £20K? £20K! Take then on a team building / bonding course in Africa or somewhere where they can stroke hyenas or something?
    Seconding this.

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with those who think the need should be identified first. True, the staff member who has just been handed the budget may not be fully aware of what all these things can do, so of course it should be a team effort (you and them) in going over the options, but for me it has to begin with the 'need' rather than the 'desire'. It's the same when people talk about i-Pads and then say what can we do with them, rather than saying here's what we want to do, should we go for a station/laptop/pad.

    As for the smart table, my wife works at a Primary where they bought one back in June, since when it has been used a handful of times playing games?!?! Not saying they all end up that way, but the need surely has to be established when anyone spends 20 grand.

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    I think you need to read the statements for the individual SEN students before you can make any suggestions.
    Some of our statements of educational need relate to specific "named" technology, so you'll need to make sure whatever you buy will fit in with the statement because the statement is a legal document.

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    All very true, but sometimes we might opt to plumb the depths of a very broad set of technologies rather than being very very specific from the outset. We might, for example, say that there are thousands of educational apps available on $ecoSystem's App Store, and we want to tap into that. We won't be investigating down to each specific app at this stage (though a few solid examples would go a long way), but we know that in a very broad sense this is "the kind of" tech available. We might then buy a couple of iPads or Android tablets to see a bigger picture of what "all these apps" can do, maybe handing it off to HoDs and SENCOs to investigate for their own more targeted purposes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ephelyon View Post
    All very true, but sometimes we might opt to plumb the depths of a very broad set of technologies rather than being very very specific from the outset. We might, for example, say that there are thousands of educational apps available on $ecoSystem's App Store, and we want to tap into that. We won't be investigating down to each specific app at this stage (though a few solid examples would go a long way), but we know that in a very broad sense this is "the kind of" tech available. We might then buy a couple of iPads or Android tablets to see a bigger picture of what "all these apps" can do, maybe handing it off to HoDs and SENCOs to investigate for their own more targeted purposes.

    Yes I agree, but the reality is that if a statement says "Jimmie should use X ipad app" then the school could be breaking the law if they don't provide the app on an ipad.
    The sucky thing is that the local authority experts who write the statements are not necessarily technology experts.

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    reggiep's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback so far, still lots to think about here.



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