Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Moodle-on-Sea Part 1

Am in Torquay for the NAACE annual conference... there's no delegate list in the pack so I've no idea how many people are here. It's four seasons in one day sort of weather - snow, hail, rain, bright sunshine... sometimes all at once.

Anyway, today's opening presentations were:

  • a video presentation from Lord (Andrew) Adonis - apparently there's some piece of education legislation that he has to attend to, so it wasn't live.
  • the 'usual' update from Doug Brown (DfES), John Anderson (NI) and Laurie O'Donnell (LTS Scotland, via videoconference). We were told that aggregation is A Good Thing, that CPD is important... so I thought I'd ask their advice about what a fictional L(E)A (like Buckinghamshire, for example) should do given the choice between spending money on software licenses or, using the same funding to train and support teachers to use new technology to teach. Unfortunately it was the last question of the session... so I didn't get an answer.
  • I did manage to collar Niel McLean and ask whether the newly announced Learning Platforms framework would specifically exclude something like Moodle (though I just said "open source") from being used by schools. "Hang on" he said, and dashed off to see someone else from Becta who deals with frameworks. "That shouldn't be the case" was his answer, but I have to email him about it (Note To Self: email Niel McLean) and apparently Becta are doing a seminar on Open Source in late April / early May...
  • The keynote in the evening was John Clare - education correspondent from The Daily Telegraph. His aim was (depending on your point of view) either to goad a sleepy Naace membership or tell the truth about the waste of mone yon ICT in schools. He was right about some things - the lack of training to use the software that's flooded schools, the fact that the market is driven by the software vendors, some aspects of the mis-use of IWBs and the dangers of a prepared digital curriculum. He was wrong on the malevolent impact of ICT on kids and seemed to concentrate on examples of poor implementation of ICT rather than real-world examples, and was irrelevant and reactionary on the use of games in education, Stephen Heppel and seemed to assume that teachers would never more than 'scratch the surface' of the appropriate use technology in education.

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