General Chat Thread, Want Your Views: in General; Originally Posted by russdev
So what about choice to teach in a style that is right for the teacher at ...
5th March 2010, 10:16 AM #16
So if I went into a lesson and started teaching Maths by flinging various quantities of my own faeces at the students, then tried to claim that it was my choice to teach that way because that was how I communicated best, would that make it right for that choice to be an option? No, it wouldn't, and give me another banana.
Originally Posted by russdev
Disallowing choice entirely is, as I've hinted at, the wrong move (imho, of course). The important move is restricting choice in a logical and sensible way. I don't know a damn thing about teaching methods; as such, if I had to take a class, I'd take advice from a teacher I knew and trusted about the best ways to do it, and make my own choice on what I wanted to do from the sensible options they presented. I'd expect the same to be true if they wanted technology; I need to make myself trustworthy and approachable so that teachers want to ask for my help on making these choices.
Originally Posted by russdev
To answer the more specific questions there, if supporting OpenOffice was unfeasible from a technical standpoint, then you have to draw the line and say it is not economically viable in terms of technician time to provide that option, as other areas would suffer as a result. Granted that it is actually straightforward and therefore I do support it, but there could be plenty of other scenarios where it wasn't reasonable - a student coming in and asking to work on a Mac because that's what they have at home, for example. How much time and money would have to be invested to meet that choice? An unreasonable amount given the size of the problem. Perhaps if 25% of your student body start demanding it, it would need to be considered - but then you have issues with timetabling students for different rooms etc.
Agreed, it's very risky - and if someone was pushing a ridiculous option to the point where I just want to slam the metaphorical & literal door in their face, then it's time to go to their superior and say how unreasonable they are being. After all, if they're so set on one option to the point where you can't trust them with a valid choice, then they're not giving you a choice either, are they?
Originally Posted by russdev
5th March 2010, 10:44 AM #17
I would have to agree, people take a very long time to forget.
PC pro this month (or last I forget) ran a review of the new Norton Security suite. They mentioned the horrors that the company had committed in the past and the dire effect that it would have on the performance of a PC. They also said that the company had made huge changes in the way their new suite had been created and that this process had started 3 years ago. The suite as it stands today apparently does not suck monkeys dangly bits.
Persuading consumers that Skodas are really cheap BMW's has to be an order of magnitude or two easier than getting a techie to install Norton on a PC of someone they like.
Thanks to ICT_GUY from:
mac_shinobi (5th March 2010)
5th March 2010, 10:48 AM #18
The above 3 comments made me chuckle, esp the last bit / one.
Originally Posted by ICT_GUY
5th March 2010, 11:06 AM #19
Why are we debating BSF as part of this choices?
As far as I can see there is no choices in BSF it is "do it our way or your for the highway" in any case we are stuffed but then you would probably argue the case that the schools are being given a choice of new build and the teachers given the choice of open teaching spaces plus all the new classrooms and the IT equipment to go with it all.
But then again I know of cases in particular where all this choice has ended in heartache for the new schools as the soaring costs of replacing the equipment has cut deep into their already dwindling budgets and therefore the equipment has not been replaced.
Case in question: Somewhere in the North East brand new academy has had quite a few of the Macbooks and Iplayers lost stolen or both to the tune of around 12k and it is still going on.
Bad decisions made by consultants who think that they know what schools need is driving the schools under as far as equipment is concerned.
Choice is a good thing but when it is managed properly.
5th March 2010, 11:47 AM #20
That is my point people made point there is too much choice and should be no choice and at same time want standards. Then at that point could be argued that BSF brings that
As said this is me being slightly devil advocate here...
5th March 2010, 11:56 AM #21
The free choice/established standards debate is like usability/security. It's a balancing act. You need freedom to choose a solution that is appropriate and standardisation to implement it efficiently.
I think an important point though is that you should avoid making a choice today which drastically limits the options or choices available to you tomorrow. This is why on a technical level open standards are a good idea. You can choose one system/file format etc. and if you change your mind further down the line, you aren't locked into it. In the same way BSF involves being locked into a long term contract which is likely to limit future choices.
Last edited by _Bob_; 5th March 2010 at 11:56 AM.
Reason: Dyslexic keyboard
5th March 2010, 12:05 PM #22
I've always worked the choice issue the same way I did with the children when they were small:
eg: your child needs a hairwash. There isn't a choice as to whether the hair is washed or not, but they can choose yellow or red shampoo.
Sounds a bit simplistic, I know, but as others have said, too much choice leads to problems, but people work better if they feel that they have some small grasp on their own destiny.
So, give them a small amount of choice (eg choice of browser) but make sure that both choices will have the same result...
3 Thanks to witch:
browolf (5th March 2010), GrumbleDook (5th March 2010), sparkeh (5th March 2010)
5th March 2010, 12:08 PM #23
Whose choice are we talking about? End user choice or our choice? As I said before I'm not convinced the end user needs or wants choice, they want communication and results.
When we talk about BSF taking away choice what we really mean is it taking away the ability for an ICT services department to be flexible and creative in tayloring solutions to fit the schools needs.
This is different from given end user choice. The end user coudln't give a carp which model IWB be they use, just that they are informed when they are getting one and given some training rather than having it thrust upon them.
From our point of view though it is useful to be able to go to market and say -'that IWB best fits that classroom as a solution in this instant' and for us to have the flexibility and choice to taylor our solutions for the end customer.
The perseption of BSF is that it takes away that choice from us and says 'this is the model of IWB we install and support - get on with it'.
5th March 2010, 02:04 PM #24
If we go to an educational level on this first, you are talking about imposing tools on people who we should be teaching to be able to make choices (with some given direction) or rather, to be completely correcting, helping them learn how to make choices, understand the consequences of those choices and make better choices in the future. You hear me talk about transferable skills and by providing a choice in the tools you are helping staff and students achieve the above.
Then we get to the fact that not all teachers work in the same way. They don't teach in the same way so why would they all need to use the same tools? Better to give them some flexibility and choice, but around a framework of needs.
Then we get to the technical level. We should be producing and delivering solutions based on the requirements of the users ... students, staff and leadership. Whilst we can guide them to particular solutions it has to fit their needs.
This is where I agree with Bossman that this gets missed from BSF. I've only heard of it happening a few times and takes a heck of a lot of hard work to make sure it stays in their.
You cannot have innovation without choice. You cannot have change without choice unless you turn it into a dictatorship ... the one size fits all of most of BSF can be this ...
Back to Russ' point of too much choice ... do we have too much choice for TV? Do we have too much choice of music? I go back to the above point of helping people learn how to make choices ... for me, that is an important point ... don't limit choice because by doing so you are saving yourself some work ... help people choose so that that they can keep making their own choices.
5th March 2010, 02:32 PM #25
As soon as you mention BSF you change the dynamic because the then the motivation becomes a bit more suspect as profit vies with pragmatics. Actually in all of this you have to question the motivations of the person choosing.
Originally Posted by russdev
Is the teacher wanting a laptop really after one because they move around a lot or is it because they want to be able to use it to surf the web and chat with their friends via Skype at home?
And we're not completely white and pure on this either... We don't want too much choice as it creates a wider range of problems, sidesteps our experience and knowledge when the teacher buys an Acer so we're left dealing with cr*p support or some software package from hell...
So , yeah choice is good to a point but you need to provide limits to that range of choices otherwise it's like saying "we're rewriting the laws of the land, do what you want"... Anarchy results.
5th March 2010, 02:45 PM #26
thats like the chaos version of choice, choice within no choice. disorder within order.
Originally Posted by witch
5th March 2010, 03:06 PM #27
Look at the way choice is laid our for you on Sky Movies for example. You don't simply get a long list of the movies on that evening, in order to guide your choice Sky has placed the movies in categories in order to help you make a choice. Similarly when a teacher asks us to source a product or service the choice we give them is constrained by price, and they choose the optimum within that range.
Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
On the other hand, the internet being the egalitarian world it is offers so much choice that after a while you tend to self-censor your choices otherwise you'd suffocate under the weight of choice. We limit choice for our pupils by having white lists and black lists. In our school the techies inform choice by advising those teachers who approach you with a new piece of software that they might consider buying the network version rather than asking us to install it on 500 machines. All choice is constrained by the circumstance of our situation.
What we are beginning to offer pupils now via the Learning to Learn programme is the ability to make their own informed choices, to play a greater role in their own learning by teaching them the skills to analyse and assimilate useful information whilst discarding that which is worthless.
The choice with BSF is not to take it or leave it, as I believe that battle, if it ever was one, has been lost, but to make sure that within the constraints of BSF we work towards broadening the choices available to the school body.
Choice has always been available for those who can afford it.
6th March 2010, 01:42 PM #28
I don't think this is true in a well run business every 'choice' will have it's advantages and disadvantages weighed, and a senior staff member will make the choice for everyone based on whats best for the business.
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