Ah .. I thought it was a fairly good dig at Becta having budgets cut but still donating money to charities.
It wasn't a dig at you (or your dig) but just trying to explain to folk how these incentives sometimes work.
software in schools: a case study report). In true BECTA style they managed to confuse open source with free (as in beer) software. The BECTA definition of Open Source included Star Office, ProDesktop, Crocodile Clips and IrfanView! In order to maintain their reputation for high quality research, they used a massive sample size of 9 schools on which to base their study.
According to the email I had back when I complained to BECTA, the study cost £18,000 to produce. Bear in mind that the vast majority of its contents were factually incorrect. I was also told:
Ha! Is that the most weasel-worded capitulation ever?...there has been much discussion about the distinction between low cost and freeware and true open source software. I can assure you that we have had these conversations internally and with our partners in the open source community and will take this issue forward for any future Becta outputs.
Genius. This is a prime example of why I feel BECTA should have been shut down years ago. They have very little clue, they have zero rigour in their approach and yet they remain arrogant enough to tell schools they are right to spread misinformation. Shutting down BECTA may well be the only good thing the next government does.I know you have concerns about informing our audience but we feel that the report has gathered real information about real schools. We are sharing it with a wider audience so that schools can make informed choices.
According to the email I had back when I complained to BECTA, the study cost £18,000 to produce
if that's typical of the cost of these 'studies' or reports, call them what you will, then they must have produced a few fair few of these if they managed to buzzsaw through a 55mil quid annual budget.
That part of the budget that wasn't spent on the salaries of 250 staff that is.
i can see why there were an easy target for budgets cuts.
Yep, Becta have gotten a number of things wrong and you will often find that lessons have been learnt.
To make sure the information about open source is correct you now have Open Source Schools as a funded project.
Personally I don't agree with the evangelism that you find in some sectors of the open source community as they fail to recognise that 'free' to a school will generally mean that they have to pay nothing to 'body' or company to install it. Free as a description of code and use of code means that it is too open to misuse when the terms are applied to software in general.
I love the description that Miles Berry gave at the recent EMBC spring event ... that we also have free as in Free Kittens. You can take them away, even breed them, but you have to feed them, take them to the vet, etc ... For some schools this view could help them understand TCO of 'free' software. It helps when you are explaining the Moodle is Open Source and 'free' as in no purchase / licence cost, but there are costs in time, hardware, training, creating courses, etc ... and possibly even costs in development time and expertise, no to mention branding, marketing, etc ... and not to mention the time and cost to the school to change who they deliver the curriculum to the kids.
But now we have gone the other extreme ... and Becta are being driven to be anti-Microsoft. Perhaps there are some good reasons for this (eg monopoly and free trade) but there are stupid reasons too.
The reports ... the costs is a portion of the staff salaries, but also the costs of expenses when they have been out to schools or have paid for people to meet. When you have 18 people round the table from 7 companies, 3 Govt departments, 2 LAs and 4 schools these add up. At least Becta can quantify it ... I know many LAs who wouldn't and darn few schools that would be able to (admittedly .. the schools who I have asked for some similar info just can't be bothered to stick the figures together as why should they have to show value for money like this?)
I found that at least 65% of the questions were targeted at upholding the BSF one shoe fits all model and were to me unreliable at gaining the required information needed for a true picture of IT in education.
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