Here we go again

January 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm 1 comment

So another BETT passes us by. As ever the show was huge (although minuscule by say Frankfurt Book Fair standards).  For me this year was characterised by ‘very little to report’, a sense that we were seeing more of the same, no sense of any real visibility of things to come.

This is hardly surprising in times when so much is in doubt, not least the detail of how the application of digital technology for education will actually shake down. Eavesdropping on conversations between teachers at the crowded café areas seemed to indicate that the spectre of the implementation of Learning Management Systems was looming large.

Many schools continue to struggle with their own networks and adding the additional LMS layer can only serve to add further complication. It is not the capabilities of schools network administrators that is in doubt but the fact that teachers are not given the time, opportunity, training to really understand the implications of digital technology on what they do.

Goodness knows what it must be like for a teacher to make sense of the myriad digital offerings on display at BETT. I find it incredibly confusing, and I’ve been ‘in the business’ for over 20 years.

All of this is exacerbated by the fact that in all likelihood the VLE’s and LMS’s being rather painfully introduced into schools will quite quickly become redundant as the concepts of cloud computing, physical IT needs being met from out there in the ether, hits the world of education.

Seeing the gimmicky introduction by Smart (the interactive whiteboard people) of the ‘Smart table’ suggests to me that too much effort  is being made to introduce the next iteration of stuff (Gillette like) – technology rather than application led. I am old enough for these interactive tables to remind me of the old ‘Space Invader’ tables that enjoyed a brief sojourn in pubs across the land but died a rather fast death condemned to far corners under spilt drinks and distant memories.

The Smart tables use double touch technology and I imagine are quite fun….for a few minutes. Outside of that I simply ask the question, “Why?”.

The other big question on peoples minds is ‘what? That sense of not knowing where things will shake down does leave the purveyors of digital offerings in a bit of a vacuum.

As a colleague remarked at the show perhaps everything should just stop for a year or two, until there is some more clarity over where things are going.


Entry filed under: BEEF, Digital media, Digital teknology, Education, Future, LMS, VLE.

Kids voice Head in the cloud

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Donald Clark  |  January 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Nicely observed, The ‘table-top’ stuff is laughable. While the whole world moves towards technology which is smaller, smarter, portable, cheap and easy to use – we get presented with a table! I have rarely seen a piece of technology that is so at odds with actual needs.

    CES was far more illuminating with dirt cheap wireless netbooks and laptops, brilliant mobile devices, e-book s and so on. Of course it’s all down to lobbying by Microsoft. Far too many government officials have been on Microsoft freebies.


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Mick Landmann on education, digital technology, and the 21st century

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