• http://www.setuk.co.uk Bob Harrison

    Good summary Dai and fair points about Becta…there will be a massive void without them if they get chopped.

    I enjoyed Bectax but am not sure that it was £150K well spent?

    When all the noise and froth dies down what will be impact/legacy?

    What does Becta know now it did not know before Bectax?

  • http://www.twitter.com/fauzg Fauz

    I have a solution, though potentially time consuming.

    If you’re looking to customise a browser and firefox is acceptable:

    1. Buy lots of low-cost, low memory* USB sticks. (Bulk purchase 😀 )
    2.x (I’ve DM’d you this on twitter as it deals with audit of sticks ).
    2.1 Label these and have a sign in/sign out system.
    3. Firefox portable :)

    * memory should be sufficient to hold firefox + plugins + temporary data if required.

    Students check their browser USB stick in/out at the start/end of each session. They customise their browser!

  • http://kristianstill.co.uk Kristianstill

    In support Dai – there were aspects of the day I applauded yet others aspects that I felt wondered and were somewhat disconnected.

    I continue to respect our mutual and multiply online/offline connections, but like you feel that the privileges I now gain from my PLN have been hard earned.

    To your 3 conclusion, having now taught in a school for 2 years, I feel the frustrations and restrictions of our students online experience but take seriously my duty of care both in person and online.

    I have a hugely supportive Headteacher. He is aware of our teaching / student online access but he has minimal necessary to focus and act to improve upon it. Change must be actioned at policy level, I concur.

    I did feel let down on two fronts @ BectaX; a) BectaX unconsciously reverted to looking at the NOW senario rather than at the what could be.

    b) did we hear loud and clear from the learners? I respect the efforts made. But did were really hear them, more importantly did we listen? Review the tweets – I felt many teachers in the audience we urging for a more effective way to engage with the learners.

    Today returning to College, I am unclear which direction to go next.

    ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ Yogi Berra

  • http://www.ictineducation.org Terry Freedman

    Very interesting evaluation, Dai. I always have my doubts about events that generate such apparent euphoria. Bob’s question about the noise and froth is a good one to ask, in my opinion. I said a similar thing myself recently, unrelated to BectaX:
    http://www.ictineducation.org/home-page/2010/4/1/lets-hear-it-for-the-digital-pioneers.html
    Just out of interest, what does your gut feeling tell you about the usefulness of the day?

  • http://edu.blogs.com Ewan McIntosh

    It’s good feedback, and the point about concentrating on the now is interesting. I think there’s definitely a concentration on the now, because that’s the thing that’s not working for the mass of teachers. They don’t want to know about what could happen in five years time – leave that to the futurists. There are real, tangible barriers to teachers doing what they want to do, and we raised those barriers in the morning so that the afternoon sessions could suggest tangible solutions to those.

    I was taken aback by the debate, and that is where the answers will be, I think, rather than the workshops’ ‘solutions’, which ended up being almost one and the same thing.

    However their solutions are highly do-able, and something that, if we adopted a ‘pass it on’ approach quite vigourously, we could manage.

    I do wonder what Terry and you want from an event: dowdy? boring? a string of anecdotes of “what worked in out school”? Other events do each of these three things very well.

    They key, though, is realising and making sure others realise that the ‘day’ is not the useful part of the process. This one day event was a kick-off for progress, not a summary of some work or a one-off consultation exercise. On a basic level, we’ve raised the stakes on how government bodies do their consultation exercises.

    For people to get that, and to move their backsides to act on some of the points that came up in their own little ways, is the most significant worry I have. I have no concerns that the event fulfilled its purpose – to highlight what the key barriers to progress are and present some actionable points to get us started, with a longer line of contacts and connections for Becta to tap in their ongoing policy building throughout this summer and autumn. For Becta, the event was useful, invaluable.

    I do worry, though, that folk seem to think the onus is on Becta (or worse still, on that one day event) to sort out the present or even the issues of five year’s time.

    It seemed pretty clear to me by the end that the onus was on every one of us in that room, and for our extended family of connections, to pull together on one or two simple “next step” actions.

  • http://daibarnes.info daibarnes

    Thanks for all comments (especially Fauz who is an old student of mine from way back). Reading your responses makes me think I didn’t write clearly. BectaX was a good thing. More than just talk, there was an undertone of shake up to it all which is necessary. It attempted to bring media, industry and teachers together. You can see how keen the media are. Industry not so. But to have them talking with educators is a great idea. Networks will have been expanded with new relationships which might somewhere somehow make a difference.

    I think my points in the post above very much focus on the now. In fact they are necessarily now. Did you hear Nicola McNee’s excellent presentation? I have exactly the same issues at my school and I need some back-up. My conversations on twitter and EdTechRoundUp reinforce this. The onus is on Becta here IMO.

    Ewan, I do not seek dowdy or boring and do not wish for a ‘what worked in our school’ approach. You have no need to defend BectaX. Your first line is important – now. We need stuff to support the now. My picture of it all has most schools with one or two teachers switched on to ed tech. They need support to help others.

    The day for me was a positive affair. I think it is absolutely necessary to splash some cash if you want to make some motion. I agree it is the conversation that counts. But there are things that need to be done that are not being done and would have impact in many schools.

  • http://edu.blogs.com Ewan McIntosh

    It would be interesting to know what “now” steps we DIDN’T see suggested or thought about (David Muir was there with an ITE hat on, and I don’t know what we do to encourage trainee and student teachers to ‘show up’ at technology and education courses – at the moment, they don’t generally, feeling they know all this stuff already).

    Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope more splurge out in the extra bandwidth Easter should bring to our minds.

    See you the other side – have a great holiday.

  • http://www.simfin.wordpress.com simon finch

    Ewan is right to ask, ‘well what did you want from such an event?’ (or words to that effect) – and Terry is also right to be suspicious of waves of mutual enthusiasm and.. smugness?.. and it’s always worth remembering the £££ cost – and cost in terms of time too..

    On the bright side (and we must always seek to be optimistic) – a great opportunity to meet with some thoughtful thinkers and have a day to reflect upon achievements so far and consider ways forward.

    .. and Ewan is right to stress that this is only one small day in a huge consultative, collaboration process. These blogs and reflections are of equal importance to the words spoken on the day.

    On a less bright side; fantastic to have students available all day – desperately sad for the poor souls in schools who were essentially forgotten for almost the day. We need to find a more effective way to engage with students and today’s news isn’t helpful in this challenge (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8599485.stm)

    – and I felt our pm discussion was frustrating

    I’ll probably write a reflective blog on this sometime but at this stage my thoughts are:

    we know there are some great ideas for more effective teaching and learning
    we know there are some great people capable of putting these into practice
    There needs to be greater recognition of these people’s work
    Becta has a role in this (see the learning platform area as a good example http://www.nextgenerationlearning.org.uk/extendinglearning)
    The National Education Network has a role in this
    The PLNs have a role in this.

    Ewan’s right. This is a process and if we don’t take a first step, we wont move at all.

  • http://www.antheald.com/blog Ant Heald

    Your comments about open access & not having software/browser lockdown resonate strongly with me.

    I come at this from a position that I think is relatively little heard: the enthusiastic class teacher with no direct input into leadership / policy. The amount of time I waste trying to get round problems cause by tools I want to use being blocked without warning after being previously available, or kids logging onto machines some of which haven’t got an up-to date enough version of flash or whatever installed. And now, I’m increasingly nervous about trying new things in case it might be seen as contravening our safeguarding policy. We’re not supposed to interact with students using social networking sites, but that isn’t defined.

    I want to be more active than I am in promoting learning technologies, but I just know the nightmare that less tech-confident staff will have if they try in my school some of the stuff that is routine among ‘activists’ in the blogosphere.

    I want to follow Ewan’s advice “for our extended family of connections, to pull together on one or two simple “next step” actions”, but I’m not entirely sure what they should be.

    I’m cogitating on all this and hope to put together a blog post of my own to clarify my thoughts – but in the meantime, I’ve got a football match to go to!

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  • http://kristianstill.co.uk Kristianstill

    Re-reading my original comment, I feel a little embarrassed. I know I was rushed… but there are still far too many mistakes – at least I think its ‘readable.’ Ironically my race to comment highlights one of the key points raised – Time.
    Time is a hugely valuable resource. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the event but a 6:30am start, home for 8:30pm, that represents a considerably school / personal investment. As yet I am unsure whether BectaX delivered on value / time invested. Those who experienced the event remotely seem to have experienced a similar BectaX to those attending in person, (I recognise that this is a backhanded compliment as well as a personal observation).
    The speed meeting activity and small workshops, the opportunities to reinforce existing online professional connections and identifying new contacts was valuable. If just two of the four new connections bear fruit, then there was added value to BectaX. I will have to wait and see….
    As to Ewan’s point of responsibility. Steering the best use of education technology is an unwieldy task – however does Becta not shoulder a large slice of responsibility here? In my short experience in schools I have come to perceive Becta as the piano maker rather than the piano tuner?

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