[Gllug] BETT at Olympia

Martin N Stevens budgester at budgester.com
Mon Jan 19 17:26:27 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 09:20:45AM +0000, Chris Bell wrote:
> Hello,
>    I spent a short time at the BETT show, Olympia on Wednesday 14th January.

I was there., and got very drunk afterwards.

>    I spoke to a few people there, explaining that some UK and other
> universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, and Kent provide public
> mirror sites with a huge amount of resources for download.

Ypu've got to remember that most of the people at these stands are sales droids and 
anyone slightly technical is kept in the basement back at the office.

>    Most people did not know about these resources, and I had to carefully
> explain that the Knoppix DVD I offered was not an illegal copy. I asked
> around the government based stands how the teaching profession were expected
> to find resources on the internet, and was met by stunned silence.

That doesn't surprise me at all, most of the government based stands don't understand
how schools work let alone computers.

Along with the fact that most of the government based stands don't expect anyone to talk to them.

> Some said
> it was up to the Universities themselves to contact teachers, (how many
> teachers are there?), some said that they could not provide information
> about resources that might contain illegal content or which might be biased.

I would personally start at the LEA ICT strategy manager level.

>    It was explained to me that there was now no bias towards or against any
> particular resources, and teachers have a free choice.

This is generally true, but it does depend on what exam boards require to pass exams
and if all the example material is based on Word and Excel, then thats what the students
get taught to pass the exams.

>    I was passed around between the exhibitors until I was introduced to the
> one person who knew something about FOSS.

You missed the moodle stand as well then, which is used a lot in not only secondary schools but also universities.

There is a lot of work gone on recently with VLE's and the next big battleground is likely to be ePortfolio's 
where mahara stands a fighting chance, especially with it's tight integration with moodle.

One thing you have to take into account with secondary schools is that most people are more worried about BSF than 
FOSS at the moment.

> I suggested that information
> should be made available to teachers, and mentioned that I have collected
> some information on my website.

It's a shame you missed the edugeek stand as there were a bunch of clued up people there.

In fact one of the online hangouts of the School/Education IT Support staff is the www.edugeek.net


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