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General Chat Thread, Is BECTA Facing The Axe? in General; EDUgeek the new opensource BECTA....
  1. #76

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    EDUgeek the new opensource BECTA.

  2. Thanks to Jiser from:

    stevenlong1985 (24th May 2010)

  3. #77
    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    RE: BSF comments

    Based on the comment given for the removal of BECTA and letting schools deal with it themselves, this could be a sign of good things? The other flipside of this is Cons do like a bit of privatisation...

    When will the second wave of cuts be?

    Also, the above post... truth!
    Last edited by dwhyte85; 24th May 2010 at 07:58 PM.

  4. #78


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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Then again, if they do raise prices then it could force more people over to OSS offerings.

    The OpenSource Schools project was funded by Becta

    This is what Miles Berry had to say

    By mberry - Posted on May 24th, 2010
    [Declaration of interest: the Open Source Schools project, for which I have the honour to act as community manager, is funded by Becta, although I've written the following in a purely personal capacity]

    The Treasury announced this morning that Becta is to close as part of a package of some 670M education savings.

    I, for one, would like to record my gratitude for all Becta have done to lead the adoption of technology in education over the last few years. Their interest in, and support for, open source software pre-dates my own: I have fond memories of attending an excellent 'expert technology seminar' chaired by Dr Malcolm Herbert, then one of the Becta team, now at RedHat, back in 2000 when I was head of maths and IT at a school in Oxford, just starting to experiment with Linux and setting up a Samba server. Despite others' comments on Twitter and in response to Rory Cellan-Jones' article, Becta have done much to encourage schools to explore open source, albeit in a way which maintained the level playing field that was part of Cabinet Office guidance, and subsequently the Conservative manifesto and the Coalition's Programme for Government.

    Their balanced perspective provided a degree of authority to the important findings of their 2005 study of Total Cost of Ownership on the huge savings that schools could make through the use of open source software. Whilst the procurement model chosen for the learning platform services made it hard for Moodle service providers to make it onto the approved list, I have it on good authority that a Moodle/Elgg solution passed all the technical tests, and Moodle has been adopted by large scale deployments in Buckinghamshire, West Sussex, Cumbria and Lancashire and elsewhere; there's more about this in Ian Usher's excellent and perceptive post. Becta's support for open standards, most notably SIF, but in other areas too, such as interactive whiteboards, was necessary to enable open source to interoperate with closed, proprietary systems, even if the FLOSS community haven't always made the most of these chances. Open source was available through one of the other procurement schemes, when open source specialist Sirius made it onto the software framework agreement list. Becta's support, both financial and moral, for this community has been important, representing their willingness to grow a grass roots community of independently minded teachers and techies, as well as a way of sharing information and case studies about Open Source.

    Becta have also documented open source successes, such as myself and three other Moodlers recognised in the ICT in Practice awards back in 2006, Buckinghamshire schools featured on the learning platform DVD and a number of schools using open source have received ICT Marks, including Paul Haigh's Notre Dame, which went on to win an ICT Excellence Award.

    Looking ahead, Coalition support for open source appears clear, although the proof of the pudding will be in the tasting. The Programme for Government states:

    "We will create a level playing field for opensource software and will enable large ICT projects to be split into smaller components."
    The chancellor, George Osborne, when in opposition certainly seemed to 'get' open source, as he discussed at the RSA back in 2007 and in a Times article last year, seeing it as a way of making significant savings across government IT procurement. I suspect that as cuts begin to bite across the public sector, we'll see more and more schools turning to open source as a way of both saving money and delivering robust, innovative solutions. More significantly, open source fits in very closely with the ideal of the Big Society, as Osborne's 'open source politics' notion makes clear, with organic, flexible communities gathering together around a shared project which makes things better for themselves and for others:


    Whilst I will miss Becta and wish my friends there success and happiness in their new ventures, the evolutionary changes in technology and society make it far easier for schools and teachers to support and challenge one another than was the case in 1998 when Becta came into being. Perhaps, though, we wouldn't now be ready for these changes if it wasn't for the difference that Becta had made.
    On Becta's Closure | Open Source Schools

  5. #79

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    Will this effect city learning centre ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    I, like many other people working in LAs and providing guidance and advice to schools, get this sort of information from Becta. I've always tried to be open about where I get information from ... or where I get verification from. It will be an interesting few months whilst D for E get themselves sorted and we discover where some of this sort of information will now come from.
    I think you under-sell yourself. I didn't get anything like that clarity of information from my local authority, nor from the BECTA website.

    I feel I get more information from my peers (both in the virtual sense on here, and in real-life) than I've ever got from BECTA. It always seemed abstract, and distant from my day to day working life. (Maybe it was just its failure to communicate - but that should have been part of its brief... and if it was part of its brief, then it failed in my eyes.)

  7. Thanks to duncane from:

    GrumbleDook (24th May 2010)

  8. #81

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    @duncane: most of the materials on the Becta website are targeted to specific audiences and there can be mixed messages ... Also some of those messages are locked into a larger picture that sometimes needs teasing out. I've been on the other end of this too, like you, so you will find some of spend that extra bit of time to get the message into the right language.

    There is also a lot which is open for interpretation and different LAs will interpret it differently. You will find quite a few of us at different LAs who work hard to get answers in the right format for our schools. The other problem is that a lot of the information will come into senior manglement in schools ... which is black hole in a lot of places.

    It is not that I under-sell myself ... just that I now know my job has gotten harder to get the right messages to the right people.

    However, there are lots of people out there (and in here) trying to make sure the good bits of Becta are still kept going.

  9. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Absolutely, in fact if the useful documentation from Becta could be put into a format where you could actually find anything then that would be superb.
    It is if you use a BECTA memory stick with all the stuff on it, set the MS Search tool to index it and voilla a decent searchable BECTA

  10. #83

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    The OpenSource Schools project was funded by Becta
    Yep ... as much as people said Becta was in the pocket of MS or Capita or Serco or RM over the years ... the individual and collective support for Open Source within Becta has been very good. The balance they have had to strike at time, however, is that they also need to do the best for those *not* using OSS ... and yes, that means sorting out deals with MS.

  11. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by smalls001 View Post
    Will this effect city learning centre ?
    Honestly don't know ... it will probably not, but Face-Man might have a better idea.

  12. #85


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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    It is if you use a BECTA memory stick with all the stuff on it, set the MS Search tool to index it and voilla a decent searchable BECTA
    that'll be an encrypted memory stick

  13. #86


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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Yep ... as much as people said Becta was in the pocket of MS or Capita or Serco or RM over the years ... the individual and collective support for Open Source within Becta has been very good. The balance they have had to strike at time, however, is that they also need to do the best for those *not* using OSS ... and yes, that means sorting out deals with MS.
    ZDnet said that Some of Becta's (ICT) policy and procurement functions will now transfer to the DfE. But it is interesting with all George Osborne's pre-election speak about the potential 600M cost savings with using OpenSource, the first thing they do is scrap the only government agency that (only just) promotes OSS. perhaps they'll mandate OSS now.lol.
    Last edited by CyberNerd; 24th May 2010 at 10:27 PM. Reason: irrelevant link

  14. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    that'll be an encrypted memory stick
    LOL it wasn't actually, perhaps I should TruCrypt it tomorrow, the lady from BECTA gave me it at BETT as there silly machine didn't like my wedge of free ones so she went into the cupboard and found me a genuine BECTA one

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