Monthly Archives: March 2009


As well as stuff from NAACE2009, there have been a few other sessions I have been to looking at BSF. Over the weekend I’ll put up some notes on this and things that I am looking at.

The first thing I need to say is that I feel bad that I am going along to these events and not fighting the good fight on technical grounds but it is obvious at the moment that alternative business case proposals are unlikely to work, for whatever reason, but there are still lots of other ways that schools can ensure that they get what they need and a greater chance of getting what they want (the two are not always the same though!)

At NAACE2009 we had a session with Steve Moss from Partership for Schools. This looked at the changes that will happen from wave 7 onwards, learning from the mistakes and sucesses from precious waves. A few key things to note was the stress on stakeholder engagement. Making sure that schools are asking the right questions about what they will get for ICT; raising awareness of using educational requirements as the arguing points and not just relying on best value or technical excellence; getting schools to recognise that service providers will want to stick to specifications and single systems as this reduces their costs as well as reducing the risk that the company will be penalised if something goes wrong when trying something new. More on this bit later.

The other session at NAACE2009 was about Change Management, and without wanting to single out a provider, it was run by Northgate, and as some may have already heard me say, it was vey much a case of “we will do your change management because we know best!”

There was me thinking that *all* partners in BSF had to understand change management? If we
Don’t then we will only get what is delivered, not what has been asked for.

Personally I wasn’t impressed with the message put across, and will challenge that in any bidders I come across. I was also given the impression that many people do not understand that change management means different things to different people, and also in different stages I’m the program.

The other two events I have been to was the guardian ICT in BSF event, and a local meeting with 4Ps to raise awareness of next stages. More about these sessions later

#naace2009 meets Wordle

I got a DM (Direct Message) on twitter at the end of the week from @advisorymatters (Gareth Davies, the past chair of NAACE to those not submerged in the Twitterverse) with a link to a Wordle generated from all the tweets at that recent Strategic conference. Then it struck me that I just don’t make enough use of tag clouds, word clouds and so on. I have a few documents that I am working on at the moment that bring up interesting word clouds but try it yourself.

Oh well .. here is the wordle in question anyway.

NAACE Conference Tweet Wordle

Oh, and the other thing you can do if you are running office 2000-2003 is to add the bullfighter plug-in … it does some very interesting analysis of words used and language.

Push it!

Off for breakfast at McDonald’s tomorrow with the illustrious Mr Ford (we have good meetings in alternative places) to discuss a few things.

First we have our project at a local primary, and the ideas are starting to come out how we can get the kids fired up to be contributors to the world instead of just suckers for information. Looking at things like the use of mobile devices (PSPs, etc) in providing access to materials but also what they are going to create and what difference it will make to some of the targets the school has put out there. The mains targets are reading with boys and writing. A look at the work of folks like Tim Rylands opens up just some of the ideas we can run with, but fitting them into how others are working with the school will be fun.

Next we have a look at what is an ICT Vision. We have all seen those bland, buzzword full documents, with a heap of rhetoric and few examples … well, we want to try and see what a truly generic document looks like and then almost wikify it for people to fill in the blanks with examples. Sounds easy? In that case thank you for volounteering to add items to the wiki when it is available!

Finally we have the toys. ICTiS need to continue to look at emerging technologies, or new ways to use existing technologies … but we don’t really have much time for ‘play’ or coming up with ideas. Time to change that. As part of the primary school project we are going to get a few bits of kit for people to try out and come up with ideas. We are not saying that we are going to write huge schemes of work for schools, but come up with ways (and examples) about how staff can learn to make use of ‘different’ things. How many people use IWBs to advance a slideshow rather than annotating work or resources .. which can subsequently be saved and uploaded to a VLE for students to look at and comment on … or even add to?

So … yes … a few fun hours will be spent just throwing ideas around.

Naace Annual Strategic Conference 2009

A pretty good conference with a good bunch of folk ( I can’t even say “for consultants and advisors” any more!)

The various sessions generally hit the mark or provoked thought and discussion and rather than do a single post of it all I’ll summarise most of it and the break down a few sessions.

I would recommend you go to and have a look through the blog posts and comments, the available presentations and the videos when they are available.

The opening address was a vid clip from Jim Knight with JK on twitter answering questions. A record of this twitter session is on the above site.

Anne McFarlane challenged a number of preconceptions around the use of mobile devices and we could look where there are opportunities to make a difference with that.

Mick Waters spoke about the curriculum, the problems with it and why the shift looks as if it is happening to a skills led, information accessing model that operates across the curriculum. There were no Q&A at this session but it did seem as if the curriculum is still being done *too* schools. His parting comment about us having come to the conference to find out where to go next showed this a bit. Perhaps an acknowledgement that many at the conference will tell QCA where to go next… on the curriculum that is! This should not take away from a good session with a healthy dose of reality in it.

The masterclass I went to was looking at what Microsoft had been doing over the last year in pushing things forward and I have to praise the innovative teachers network here… some really good and novel uses of kit going on.

This was followed up with the keynote on day 2 by Mr Bean. Martin G Bean, the General manager Education Products Group, Microsoft that is! OK a fair chunk of it was a sales push for how MS software can push the boundaries, and yes… it can. The innovative teachers network is showing this and whilst the Surface may just seem like a gadget it has potential depending on how good the tools are to allow teachers and students to build high quality resources for learning and teaching. Martin was honest and said that they are looking to us for ideas too and that content providers are also working on adapting existing or making new content. I’ll wait a bit before making a conclusion about it really. In the hands of the right teacher it would be brilliant, but them so coils a snooker table I sometimes feel!

The next sessions, promoting ICT in BSF and change management, I will leave for the moment as they need dealing with separately. One session cleared up a few things but the other pricked a nerve!

The afternoon exhibition was handy to just have an explore of ideas with a few suppliers.

The last two sessions I went to were both with John Davitt, a keynote and then I stayed on for his breakout session. A truly fun guy who seems to have more ideas per minute than I do all day. (no comments on that, please!)

Day three will also be a separate post too. Too much to squeeze in!

So, I am nearly home now and will have to have a break tonight to recharge my brain. Thanks to all who kept up with my tweets and I’ll try and link to the naace capture of that soon. Alternatively you can use and search using the hashtag #naace2009

Information overload, communication underload

I have a number of things to blog about at the moment after the NAACE conference 2009, but I am still aware I have a pile of notes from BETT to put up and some more sharepoint stuff too… too many conferences / shows, too much operational work and not enough time to sit down and think about what things mean and how things change because of them.

Oh well… for the moment I will just collect my thoughts from the last few days and see where we go from there. Perhaps a few more hours over the weekend to work a bit more on the generic ICT Vision Statement that Peter and I are putting together. NAACE 2009 definitely sparked off a number of things to put in there… but a number of things need to be taken out!

The future of technology in education

It is that time of the year when a gathering of folk head off to the NAACE conference, so I am ok the train up to Blackpool as I type. I have a few interesting sessions booked including a look at Microsoft’s view of where technology is going, the growth of ICT under BSF and Change Management.

This does not include the keynotes and networking / BoF sessions (normally known as ‘the bar’).

Whilst NAACE is often thought of as full of consultants there are plenty of teachers in it too and getting their good practice out is essential. There are also techies in NAACE as well and there are those out there who have a lot of educational experience and knowledge to be pulled into the pot.

Do I think this conference will answer all things with where technology should go? No, but it is part of the dialogue at least.

Oh … I seem to have given the impression that I am going along to heckle a bit. Perhaps the better phrase would be ‘to ask appropriate and pertinent questions when it is obvious that blagging is taking place!’