A director responding to Reading, Writing and Rip-Offs

Panorama released an episode leaving a possibly sour taste in the mouth of teachers about technology company directors (That’s what I did) [And now I’m a shareholder]. Here are my thoughts on the program and hopefully a little bit of a balanced view.

TLDR; Not all technology companies are trying to make a quick buck from schools. Primary Technology certainly didn’t when I was fulfilling my role as managing director and wont while I’m fulfilling my role as a shareholder.

All of the schools I have worked with have had increased levels of access to technology through my involvement.

I would never inflate prices or try bully schools into signing contracts they don’t want. I think pricing should be transparent and that’s why I’m a huge fan of schools getting 3 quotes when making a purchase over a certain value (the value is usually decided by the LA).

Most of the schools I have worked with have been absolutely fantastic and responsible when it has come to purchasing decisions. I was once stung by one of these companies when it payed to fail for labor we completed, schools are not the only victims here.. Technology companies are…

The technology companies accused in the program are not technology companies, they are sales and leasing companies. Technology companies do the actual installation / configuration / development / design etc. I’d be interested to know if that was included in the price per item.

Michael Gove doesn’t have to take responsibility if free schools go bust. If only! Imagine Michael declaring bankruptcy.. Let’s not remember

On the topic of Michael Gove

From the Members of Parliament disclosure via Wikipedia.

Expenses claims
Main article: Disclosure of expenses of British Members of Parliament
Michael Gove claimed £7,000 for furnishing a London property before reportedly ‘flipping’ his designated second home, a property for which he claimed around £13,000 to cover stamp duty.[44] Gove also claimed for a cot mattress, despite children’s items being banned under the Commons rule. Gove said he would repay the claim for the cot mattress, but maintained that his other claims were “below the acceptable threshold costs for furniture” and that moving house was necessary “to effectively discharge my parliamentary duties”.[44] While he was moving between homes, on one occasion he stayed at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa following a constituency engagement, charging the taxpayer more than £500 per night’s stay.[44]
Gove’s second home was not in his constituency, but in Elstead, in the South West Surrey Constituency. Gove subsequently sold the house and now has no base in or near his constituency.[45]

Let’s take a second to reflect on what’s important..

This program could be really damaging to the relationship between technology and schools possibly putting some schools off investing fairly in the future of their pupils. Making the assumption that all schools dealings with technology companies end poorly would be extremely damaging. Exposing crooks is great and kudos to Panorama, but hopefully the viewers wont put all company directors in one box.

Gove wants schools to move “back to basics” ergo away from tech. Does it seem slightly suspicious this Panorama would be aired now? Just saying…

Pep easing onto PrimaryWall

I just enabled Pep easing on the open source version of PrimaryWall. Easing is basically where the notes decellerate into place, making them have a much smoother move across the screen.

Using pep meant I can remove jquery UI which is a really overweight framework to include so hopefully page load will be faster too :) Over the next few months I will be optimizing page load and including more bug monitoring and hopefully updating the PrimaryWall.com version.

Enjoy :)

ICT teaching and learning framework

Matt Lovegrove and others have done a fantastic job of writing up an ICT teaching and learning framework. I added some minor bits and suggestions and here is an updated version:

Download link

I want to commend Matt Lovegrove, Steve Greenfield, David Sheppard and Claire Waite for their efforts in creating this very clear and useful document. I also want to commend them for releasing the document under a creative commons license. What a great example of teachers willing to share and work in collaboration with other teachers and educators!