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  • Blog Post: The future of Microsoft licensing for schools

    We're in the final throws of organising BETT (the lorry is loaded, and the final can of orange paint is in!), but I thought I'd take a couple of minutes out of my day to correct a little bit of confusion that's appeared in the press today - just in case you're worried by it. ZDNet ran a story today about...
  • Blog Post: The best way to save schools money?

    Identifying ways that you can contribute to budget savings in your school is important to me. Which is why I've written 35 separate ICT Money Saving articles on this blog. The definitive article, Top ICT Money Saving Tips , identifies a series of strategies to save a secondary school up to £350...
  • Blog Post: Home Access with Assistive Technology–grants still available

    Although the main Becta Home Access programme has now closed to new applications, there are still plenty of grants for free computers available for learners who qualify for the Assistive Technology scheme. These grants are for a child that has severe disabilities or a statement of Special Educational...
  • Blog Post: Parental Engagement–bringing parents on to the Learning Gateway

    Last week I wrote about schools using Learning Gateway to connect with parents and followed that with looking at the practical issue of making sure your data is up-to-date . The targets for schools to provide online parental reporting are DCSF & Becta guidelines, not legislation – and as such there...
  • Blog Post: One third of head teachers don’t know how much they spend on ICT

    Continuing my “Things I Learned This Week” series – this week, Part Eight This week I’ve been continuing my reading of the Harnessing Technology survey from Becta . Buried deep in the data tables, and summarised on the analytical report, is some interesting information about...
  • Blog Post: Four out of five schools outsource their ICT –Things I Learned Last Week #7

    This week, I’ve been reading the Becta Harnessing Technology Survey in a lot more detail, and especially some of the spreadsheets of questions which didn’t make it into the final report. And the following things I learned are courtesy of the survey. 1. Four out of five schools are already outsourcing...
  • Blog Post: The TES writes a scary Information Security headline

    People are definitely getting concerned about the need to secure data in schools. On Tuesday, in the "When too much security means less security" post I mentioned that there are new stricter penalties faced by organisations for losing/disclosing personal data, with fines up to £500,000. And...
  • Blog Post: When too much security means less security

    In December, my local BBC News station showed an interview with a head teacher, who’d had to crawl across a sloping playground, covered in black ice, to send out a text to let parents know the school was closed. Which surprised me because he was using one of the systems that allows you to send out the...
  • Blog Post: Home Access Suppliers 2010 – recommended Home Access suppliers

    When the Home Access Programme was first announced by Becta, in January 2010, there were six suppliers on the scheme, where parents could spend their grant cards. And Becta have recently announced an additional four suppliers. Which means that your parents have ten different suppliers they can turn to...
  • Blog Post: Becta Home Access Scheme – free computers going fast

    I’ve mentioned a few times that the Becta Home Access scheme has started rapidly, and that you need to encourage your qualifying students to take up their grants quickly, before they all go (the simple qualifying criteria is Year 3-9 pupils who have Free School Meals. But read all the small print here...
  • Blog Post: Top 10 ICT Money Saving Tips – 6 – Stop buying every laptop

    Part six of the series of Top 10 ICT Money Saving Tips for schools , based on my BETT 2010 presentation. Okay, the first five tips have concentrated on the idea of you making a ‘switch’ in the way that you do things. Tip 1, on virtualisation, is saving Wootton Bassett School over £80,000 over...
  • Blog Post: Top 10 ICT Money Saving Tips – 5 – Switch the way you do remote access

    Part five of the series of Top 10 ICT Money Saving Tips for schools , based on my BETT 2010 presentation. Every time we release a new version of our software, and you upgrade to it, it is well worth doing a review of what extra features it includes that may be able to save you money. Typically I find...
  • Blog Post: Are teachers really losing confidence with ICT?

    Earlier in the year, BESA reported that teachers confidence with using ICT had fallen by 10%. Which sounds dramatic, and was described by some writers as ‘alarming’. But is it? Well, here’s the data for the last 11 years – from research done by the old DfES until 2004, and data from BESA from 2002...
  • Blog Post: Integrating Moodle with Microsoft Live services

    Who’d have thought it, not only would I be looking for the Moodle logo for the blog, but other strange things have been happening this week: We’ve released two projects under the open source GPL v2 licence for the first time ever Following on from the experimental OfficeLabs project, we’ve launched Education...
  • Blog Post: Information Security in Education and Two-Factor Authentication

    This is just a quick one for Monday morning. Last week, when I talked about Information Security, and Becta’s guidance, at the Learning Gateway Conference, there was quite a bit of interest in the two-factor authentication that would be required for all teacher access to sensitive data from outside the...
  • Blog Post: Information Security presentation from the Learning Gateway Conference

    At today’s Learning Gateway Conference, I talked about the Becta Information Security guidelines. My perspective was “here’s the Becta official advice, and here’s my take on an action plan for you”. Even though the subject was Information Security, and it was after lunch, the hour seemed to whizz by...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft licensing for schools – a new option appears from the crowd

    A year ago we started conversations with OGC and Becta to refresh our licensing schemes, with a goal of adding in some more flexibility for individual customers, and responding to changes in the way that all public sector organisations use ICT. With OGC (now known as Buying Solutions ) we looked at the...
  • Blog Post: Good Blogging Guide - Part One – Write for the Audience

    This week, instead of enjoying a trip to Seattle, I’m sitting in the UK with some free time in my diary (although not as much as I hoped, as people have moved quickly to fill it!) . The result is that I can get around to some of those “ I really want to do it but don’t have the time ” blogging jobs....
  • Blog Post: Information Security – the detailed guidelines

    If you’ve been following the story so far , you’ll know that Becta have published new guidelines for Information Security in schools. It has happened in a few stages, with the detailed information finally being published in the autumn. This included information on the various protection levels that applied...
  • Blog Post: Next Generation Learning for 30p a year

    Every now and again I come across a bit of information that I’m not sure about. Like this from a written answer in Parliament : The Next Generation Learning campaign sponsored by Becta is designed to raise the awareness of parents or carers, employers and learners of the benefits of the use of technology...
  • Blog Post: Taking a road trip

    Yesterday we were out and about on a West Midlands road trip with a gaggle of colleagues from the global education team. The aim of the trip was to see some of the things that are happening in UK schools, to inform our future directions and policies. It was a little bit like a school trip, as I checked...
  • Blog Post: The first day of BETT

    Phew, what a day. 6 months of planning, 90 people to co-ordinate with, and suddenly, it arrived. The first day of BETT. As I mentioned earlier in the week, we had a number of exciting things at the show, including a demonstration of the Surface, and a netbook Wall of Cool. I’ll have a few pictures to...
  • Blog Post: Home Access Programme – the basics

    I was just starting a blog post to update everybody on the Home Access Programme, and the latest news. But then I stopped. I wondered “Well, do people know what the Home Access Programme is?” – and a couple of quick phone calls to schools and I realised that there’s a big gap between what most people...
  • Blog Post: Home Access Programme Approved Suppliers

    This post refers to the pilot of the Home Access Programme, for 2009, which has now finished. There's now an updated blog post all about the Home Access Programme Suppliers for 2010 , which is much more useful to you! A little earlier I got my “Dummy’s Guide to the Home Access Programme” done,...
  • Blog Post: Improving Information - and controlling it - Capita’s One Conference

    Yesterday, Jason Burton and I went along to the Capita One conference in Leicestershire to talk about “Business Intelligence” and “Information Rights Management”. In real English, that means "how do we turn this mass of data into real information” and “how do we keep some control over how people...
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