stevenlong1985 (24th May 2010)
EDUgeek the new opensource BECTA.
stevenlong1985 (24th May 2010)
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.
The OpenSource Schools project was funded by Becta
This is what Miles Berry had to say
On Becta's Closure | Open Source SchoolsBy 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.
Will this effect city learning centre ?
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.)
GrumbleDook (24th May 2010)
@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.
Last edited by CyberNerd; 24th May 2010 at 10:27 PM. Reason: irrelevant link
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