On Wed, 2004-06-30 at 23:05, Paul Taylor wrote:
I take everyone's points on board and I was
rather devil's advocating (English
is such a wonderful language that you can invent words to suit..). I am
pushing Ingots at my SMT Ian but the same argument remains from Tony and
Thomas that it is tried and tested things that managemant want.
Depends on whether they want innovation. Some schools want to be leaders
rather than followers and with anything new there is an element of risk.
Fortunately there are enough innovators and risk takers out there
otherwise there would never be any change, and I'm enough of a maverick
to believe that not all change should initiate from the DfES and QCA ;-)
So I think for individuals it canbe very frustrating because in their
environment they feel surrounded by philistines. At this point in time
getting the SMT to adopt something like theINGOTs.org
impossible but if they know about it, hopefully there will come a point
when there are other schools around them springing up as INGOT Academies
and they'll say hey that's the thing you were telling me about maybe we
need to look into it. That's why we also deall with individual assessors
and in fact all the materials are freely downloadable for use from the
web site. It only costs anything if you want "official" certificates.
IMHO what FLOSS needs is a vaible business model that generates
development income in a way that is not dependent on licensing software.
I now have concrete evidence that schools will pay to be INGOT academies
and it will be possible to finance this with ELCs. In the longer term
this is scalable internationally. Now I have a source of income I can
put it into further marketing - we will have an INGOTs stand at the
Specialist Schools conference, we will sponsor the next FLOSSIE
conference - might even do BETT if we get sufficient finance to pay for
it. If people think this is a good idea, for FLOSS in education, they
don't have to immediately get their school to become an INGOT Academy
though obviously that would help, but branding is important ad the more
familiar people are with the brand and concept the more confidence
builds and we know that the current system is effectively a con!
The thing about theINGOTs.org
is that its fundamentally good education,
very little extra work for teachers and it inherently promotes
understanding of FLOSS and cutting edge ICT development worldwide which
none of the traditional exams do. We are not requiring schools to change
systems or do things they don't feel ready to do. We are preparing the
ground work that will enable not just the tech innovators but joe
average to get over to FLOSS.
All exam boards offer Programming as a portfolio unit
but I doubt there are more than 1% of schools in the country that have staff
that could teach it properly (or networking, CGI, Computer Accounts et al for
that fact). I am no complete philanthropist and if I could write good C++ I
doubt I would be fighting teenage rebellions in my classroom day in day
out :) I bet there are more than 1% of staff in schools in the UK who have
dabbled in Linux. Every school I have so far taught at in the SW has had
some ICT teacher who has set up a Linux server for the school's web.
I suppose, again to answer Thomas's comments, I would create a unit to
supplement the other units offered by the boards. As Joe points out, it is
easy to do database and networking units using Linux but only if you know a
bit about it. Why not have a general Linux unit to support the other ones.
Every student could use Knoppix or similar (SuSE 9.1 live if this is still a
SuSE site post-Roger) and not make a mess of the school's network and as Joe
did (and in conjunction with Ian) everyone could write it up on OOo with
their knowledge acquired from Ingot training.
I'm hoping to have 100s of INGOT Academies so the income from them could
pay for producing this type of support. We could also use it to lobby
QCA etc from a position of grass roots strength if we are certificating
many thousands of children and not just in this country. I'm working on
getting industry backers using the sponsors of specialist schools which
will add more weight. Deliberately avoiding exam boards at this point as
it will be too time consuming wading through their bureaucracy and I
don't want anything to cobble my educational ideals with excessive and
unnecessary end testing etc. All this takes time and time costs me money
as that's how I pay the mortgage. Now I have started to get some income
I should be able to accelerate the process though so any help in getting
the message across is really appreciated.
Anyway, thanks for listening.
Ian Lynch <ian.lynch(a)zmsl.com>