Why aren’t you on the Becta Framework and what do you REALLY think about it?

We weren’t on the Becta Framework because we weren’t big enough at the time – we failed to get past the pre-qualification questionairre. Back then this was obviously very worrying for us, however since then it turns out that getting onto that Framework would have been the worst thing that could have happened to Frog.

The problem with the Becta Technical Specification was that it had no clear vision, it was so difficult to understand that almost no-one got engaged by it, it was a demonstration in “instruction” rather than “leadership”, and it smacked of “designed by comittee”.

To use an analogy (which I’m notoriously bad at) the Becta Specification is a like disjointed rail network – only taking you where Becta thought you should go back in 2006. The big companies rallied around to build trains, constructed to preset specifications to run on these train tracks. Becta then forced all the schools to buy a ticket.

Not surprisingly, after a journey or two on these trains, most passengers have wondered why they would want to travel from Narnia to Timbucktoo – and haven’t chosen to use their train tickets again (there are exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between). The main reason for this is that very few understand WHY they would want to travel to this pre-determined destination, most don’t even understand what that destination is.

It’s also worth pointing out that there is no incentive for any of the train companies to upgrade their trains any more, you’ve all bought one now – the commercial rewards for these Framework suppliers is now significantly reduced – and so will their product development plans be…

What people really need is a car. With a car, someone has to just be engaged enough to want to learn to drive it and they can go wherever THEY want, door to door, at the speed THEY want to go, stopping off at places of their OWN choosing.

Technology is ALWAYS about the people, not the bits and bytes. If a badge is needed, I’d go with “Engagement”. The Becta Technical Spec. essentially dis-engaged people, at all levels. The potential benefits are therefore irrelevant; if no-one’s going to use the train, there’s no point running it.

Let me say though that Becta’s latest work on “Next Generation Learning” looks a lot better. It has a clear vision, it’s focussed on engagement, and its easy to understand both where the destination is and what the benefits of going there will be.

Let’s see whether they market the destination and LEAD us there, or whether they just lay some more train track and force us to buy a ticket.

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