Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jo Moore's last minute Christmas list

Who? Well, apparently, she never uttered (or emailed) the phrase "a good day to bury bad news", but what were you doing on the Friday before Christmas? I think I was shopping, I don't really remember, that bit of the year is a bit fuzzy, you know how it is, it's a little I can't remember what I've got to do...

  • buy stuffing ingredients
  • hand deliver those last few cards
  • arrange exactly what I'm doing on Christmas Eve
  • release list of approved Learning Platform Services Providers
  • check there's enough beer in
  • buy more gift wrap
Hang on... there's something odd about that list. Of course... no-one buys stuffing nowadays, why bother making your own when there are lots of people who know far better than you what stuffing should look like, taste like and consist of.
As is the way with significant announcements fit to cause an epidemic of narcolepsy, 22nd December (was it in the afternoon after everyone had gone home? I'm not sure...) was the appointed time for Becta to release the list of approved providers for LP services.
The longer the Becta LP process went on, the clearer it became that for many people its announcement would be accompanied by the sound of a stable door slamming shut, or at least slamming and then remaining slightly ajar. Before the process had come close to finishing there were rumours about that DigitalBrian hadn't made the final round - and if that was the case what would all of the schools in London be left with? Also, Capita's own Learning Platform wasn't going forward, whether due to it failing or Capita realising they should invest their time and effort in opening SIMS up to work with as many other systems as possible. Of course here in Buckinghamshire we're with Atomwide, who provide our Moodles, will provide an ePortfolio and the associated infrastructure and other services based on our single-sign on. Atomwide made the last 14 (from about 119 applicants) and passed all of the technical compliance things - i.e. the Moodle / Elgg solution - but ultimately didn't make the final list. Forgive the Catherine Tates - but I don't think anyone's that bovvered. The DfES & Becta have been following where schools and local authorities have already been, and many learners are already using systems which have been in place long before anything went out to consultation or any other procurement process.With Lord Adonis quoted as saying "Institutions are not mandated to purchase from within [the procurement] frameworks" it's business as usual as far as we're concerned.
Oh, and if you're interested Atomwide are still on the framework as a subcontractor to RM to supply Moodle through any of their framework agreements - and if you're wondering about Kaleidos, have a look at my views of this and Moodle. Will RM ever allow anyone to choose Moodle over Kaleidos? Which reminds me, must go and get my copy of theGuardian today.
1pm edit:
I'm pleasantly surprised by the Guardian Learning Platforms supplement, but more disappointed by the fact that it's not available online... no, really! There's a useful page on how to support schools in using LPs, an interesting article on Alastair Wells at Netherhall School on their use of Uniservity, Moodle and Yacapaca and quite a few references to Moodle throughout the supplement. What is interesting to my mind is that the list of Becta approved LP providers mentioned above isn't to the fore - rather the supplement reflects the real world, that there is a lot of existing practice, developing pedagogies, issues for assessment, etc - and government attempts to corral all of this into a few neat boxes defined and supplied by a few chosen companies is so much herding of cats. Rather there are several mentions by contributors of the Becta self-review framework, a much more mature way than the reactive process of trying to categorise educational practice into "functional requirements and technical specifications".
If you're coming to BETT, please come and say hello, it's always good to see friendly faces!


  1. Hi - I'm confused by part of your post: [quote]There's a useful page on how to support schools in using LPs, an interesting article on Alastair Wells at Neale Wade Community College on their use of Uniservity, Moodle and Yacapaca and quite a few references to Moodle throughout the supplement. [/quote]

    Not sure who Alistair Wells is - but could there be a bit of confusion here? I'm Andrew Field, the Head of ICT at Neale-Wade Community College. We use Moodle and Yacapaca, but don't use Uniservity. Alistair Wells isn't at Neale-Wade though, at least I haven't even met him!

  2. Found him now - Alastair Wells, Information and Communication Technology Director, The Netherhall School in Cambridge.

    Guess there must be some crossed wires somewhere - surely not at the Guardian?! ;)

    Keep up the blog - all interesting stuff. Thanks.

  3. Apologies all round to anyone confused / slandered / annoyed... I just got some wires crossed and have edited the post.
    For the record it's Alistair Wells using Moodle, Yacapaca and Uniservity at Netherhall School in Cambridgeshire and Adnrew Field who uses Moodle and Yacapaca at Neale-Wade College.
    Our fact-checking department must have slept in that morning (again)...