Becta & beyond

With the recent snuffing of BECTA, must also come the warning signals for similar organisations in many other western countries including Australia.  While an outpouring of comments might suggest messages are mixed on the success of BECTA, inevitably a structure like  BECTA will have detractors, especially within its own homeland. But over the years whenever I sought a reliable research paper – BECTA was  first up. This was so when colleague Sue Beveridge and I were looking at background work to the IWB experience in the UK many years ago. And in respect to the evolution of LMS/VLE/ePortfolios etc again BECTA was always my key reference.  As Gerry White stated BECTA “has been one of the leading global lighthouses in the use of digital technologies in education and the envy of educators worldwide seeking to improve education through the use of digital technologies”.  What other organisations will fill the gap is hard to say will NAACE pull together to try and plug the gap of research, advice, support of the education community? The tide seems to be turning everywhere for ICT in education. FutureLab  was buried, and what are the implications for JISC?  In Australia we’ve seen the DER roll out, now with little surety of funding with either government? In NSW large scale programs such as Connected Classrooms, will complete their roll out within the next year, and cutbacks look inevitable to additional IT funding. Both State and National curriculum bodies are favouring core knowledge rather than knowledge skills and information literacy.  Has the cycle of investment in ICT now peaked and we are seeing a return to the trough of conservative initiatives in education- just at a time when its critical to support what for most  jurisdictions has been the true beginnings of a digital revolution. To quote Graham Attwell “there is no doubt that the closure signals the end of an era in technology development and implementation in UK education. Educational technologists in many European countries have long looked at the UK in envy. Reliant on either centralised government led initiatives, or local support and projects, there has been far less opportunities for developing and implementing effective programmes and strategies for technology in learning”.

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About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
This entry was posted in eLearning, Leadership, schooling, standards. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Becta & beyond

  1. Ben Jones says:

    Tim
    Interesting reflection, I write this comment from my Grandma’s living room in Hatch End (London). The BECTA fold is part of a greater fiscal tightening in the UK.

    Last week I spent a day with schools in the London Grid for Learning. The Principals mirrored your views with considerable more concern for their schools.

    What is worse but poorly understood is that a block of funding that was a bit between CCP & DER in nature and would have provided standardised infrastructure to all schools in the UK has also been cut with significant futurelabs funding too.

    You would be excited to know that they have provided a MLE to their schools that has scarily uncanny similarities to eBackpack. It has been very sucess in uptake. Although it does lack the infrastructure & DERNSW integration support that eBackpack will have.

    Ben 🙂

  2. Bob Harrison says:

    I like the dies of a “global lighthouse” and I agree with many of your sentiments regarding Becta. naace,Alt,JISC(not as easy to scrap as Becta)BESA,And Futurelab (very much alive last time I looked at my blog? http://flux.futurelab.org.uk/2010/05/25/back-to-the-future/ all have a part to paly and will be meeting in London on 4th June to explore synergires and future opportunities.

    Some more interesting takes here http://www.agent4change.net/policy/ict-provision/624-becta-partners-express-their-regrets-and-concerns.html

  3. thand says:

    thanks Bob for the note on Futurelab- thinking about the Aussie version here. Interesting the investment in mobile learning.

  4. fred6368 says:

    Hi Tim,
    useful aggregation of UK blog posts and comments about Becta at Electric Chalk;
    http://www.electricchalk.com/2010/05/26/becta-closure/

  5. Bob Harrison says:

    Well I never knew there wasan “aussie” version 🙂

    The real worry is the silence from the new DfE about the role of digital technology in learning exposed here in MJO piece

    http://www.agent4change.net/policy/ict-provision/599-the-long-wait-the-tories-on-ict-and-learning.html

  6. fred6368 says:

    Priceless link Bob, I’ve been wanting to use that! Didn’t the Tories get back to Merlin John at one point after he had asked them what their ICT Policy was, only for them to ask him what he thought it should be? (Read “we dont have one”)
    Anyway with Niall Ferguson in charge of the History National Curriculum we should soon find out why Babbage abandoned his Analytic Engine and went back to Difference Engine Number 2. A critical 19th Century issue and we really are entitled to know the answer.

  7. sue beveridge says:

    What troubles me most is that in the information society there appears to be the belief that strong robust research is not needed that individuals publishing and communities of practice will replace such institutions who develop knowledge much more slowly. But for mine organisations like BECTA, JISC, Futurelab create new knowledge rigorously and independently of IT providers and therefore stimulate the dialogue for all our networked communities of educators.
    We need the mix to truly create the evidential platforms for change.

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