07 October 2009

Becta Says: Teach Us a Lesson...

...which is surely a offer we can't refuse.

For many years, Becta was one of the main obstacles to getting open source used within UK schools: it simply refused to budge from an almost pathological dependence on Microsoft and its products. Today, the situation is slowing improving, but it will take years to undo the harm caused by Becta's insistence on propagating the Microsoft monoculture in education.

At least Teach Us a Lesson seems to be starting off on the right foot:

Becta’s Teach us a Lesson competition launches today, Wednesday 7 October, following the speech that Kevin Brennan, the Minister for Further Education, made at the Learning Revolution Expo yesterday.

The competition seeks to find the brightest and best ideas for developing online resources for people to find informal learning opportunities that interest them. This will happen by having entries submitted to the competition website, where they will be commented on and rated by other site users.

This, then, is about opening up in terms of drawing on ideas outside Becta. More specifically:

There are some things we are trying to avoid:

* Using proprietary products which will not permit open sharing or which run counter to Government policy on open standards

At long last, Becta seems to have learned its lesson...

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guy said...

From Becta's site:

"(people) wanted information to be pulled together online so that it’s much easier to find out about learning opportunities, events, activities and low cost spaces that can be booked for self organised activities like reading groups."

Sounds like the educational equivalent of sourceforge and freshmeat --- I wonder if it could work. Software has the advantage that geography is irrelevant and easy access allows communities to grow up quickly around good ideas. And there's lots of it, which by necessity cuts out a lot of fluff --- a pretty web page is nice and all that, but projects listed on freshmeat need a simple message that's quick and to the point (screenshot!) or their 10 second window on your attention is missed.

Glyn Moody said...

@guy: yes, potentially interesting idea...we shall see if they finally get it