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Glow Lives On!

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by champagnecharlie, May 22, 2012.

  1. Personally I am not going to waste any time on glow. It's sounds very much like the death knell is clanging and I don't intend to spend hours that I don't have working on something that will be scrapped in 18 months!
     
  2. I totally agree with you. The sooner LA's bin this ridiculous waste the better, move towards google apps independently and show what Scottish education can really achieve when allowed freedom and a set of evolving tools which will never be out of date and can provide access to all on any platform.
     
  3. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    No-one is going to invest time and effort in a legacy product (current Glow) for 18 months not knowing what is going to happen to all their resources at the end of it. A 15 month extension (at a cost of £6m apparently) seems a rather strange period of time. Clearly there is no replacement in mind otherwise a 3 or 6 month extension would have been sought. I guess what happened was that some LAs had already decided to go with Google Apps, others had been waiting for a national lead. SG has now effectively opened the door for all of them to find their own solution and initiate a de facto full scale authority wide trial which will be reviewed after a year. During that period in some LAs where both Glow and Google Apps will run concurrently staff will be encouraged to manually transfer their resources on to the new platform. Of course Mike Russell will deny this, issuing a statement to the effect that the procurement process did not produce a preferred solution meeting all the criteria of the ITT (Invitation to Tender) thus an extended period of evaluation was required to consider afresh all the options. Meanwhile staff are left in limbo, especially those from LAs that will continue to run with Glow on its own until 2014.
     
  4. I'm beginning to think that the Milky Bar Kid works for Google......
    I have no argument with regards to the SG making a real mess of this, but to insist that Glow be handed over to a single corporate entity with no competition via tender is unrealistic and grossly unfair. It was only right that others were allowed to tender, and the world of ICT contains more than just MS and Google remember......
    Further to this, some breathing space is badly required to look at the myriad of real issues that exist with handing this much power & influence over Education ICT within Scotland to just one organisation.
    In reality, both Google and MS do not offer a free lunch and both have out and out profit maximisation as a core aim, and will achieve this via whatever method they see fit. I've noticed that it's fairly common place in Education circles to gloss over this and make blase comments stating that what they offer is both a silver bullt and the be all and end all for ICT.
    The tender would no doubt (and quite rightly) want any offering to be scrutinised on a number of different areas, and I suspect Google were far from happy about not being able to do pretty much whatever they wanted with the data held in the system after we had signed up on a national basis. To cut a long story short, Google wanted to the entire national intranet to be handed over to them almost exclusively and (mostly) on their terms and conditions.
    I'd also take issue with the fact that Office365 doesn't fit the BYOD guidelines. As a starter for ten the entire product can be accessed via a browser, but I've also seen many apps for Android, iOS and even Blackberry that work very well with Office 365. However, the same issues exist with the MS offering in terms of should we be offering up the keys to the entire national intranet to one provider who will want SG/LEA/School influence and involvement to be kept at a minimum.
    I personally think that the SG / LT Scotland should host a Moodle driven virtual learning environment that is independant from any corporate organisation. This VLE would then effectively become the spine of the intranet which hosted the real content that needs to be shared. At this point, LEA's and School's would be free to push forward with the technology of their choice (although they would still be required to ensure that any issues related to security and control/ownership over their data were resolved).
    Part of old Glow's issue was that it tried to be everything to everybody. New Glow should focus on being very good at one thing (or one range of things) - deliver the content that is required in a straight forward and non-complex manner, and leave the job of selecting and managing the tools to create the content to school's and LEA's.
     
  5. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    True, Google and Microsoft are commercial organisations seeking to maximise profit, however both Google Apps for Education and Office365 for Education are offered completely free (including ad-free) to both staff and students. The business model lies in free exposure to their products in school in the hope that users will continue using them outside of school where they will make their money, this seems like a good deal to me.

    Regarding privacy of data, both Google Apps and Office 365 have been rolled out throughout the globe to millions of users in both educational establishments and businesses with far more sensitive data than ourselves. Personally I don?t trust the SG anymore than Google or Microsoft with my data.

    What annoys me is that money which was promised to improve the infrastructure (by not renewing the contract with RM) will now be used to extend the contract with them leaving some schools struggling on with poor connectivity. What the SG needs to do is get every school hooked up to fast access and then let them develop the tools and services that will best serve the needs of their students. The idea of a national intranet may have been commendable 10 years ago but it?s proved to be unpopular (especially amongst students), unweilding and expensive. It?s time to move on.
     
  6. Hi MilkyBarKid, I agree with you 100% on the original Glow extension deal and it really annoys me that more funding is being thrown at a dead end. As you point out £6 million would go a long way to helping improve connectivity, particularly at Primary Schools in our area.
    I'm less convinced about the "good" intentions of MS and Google however. As you point out, they are using a well trodden path of training up the next generation of customer. However, as for only exploiting the data tied to the 'free' accounts for use outside of school - not likely I'm afraid.
    The T's and C's that both use for their "free" Education service leave a lot to be desired and can be twisted any way they desire to suit current circumstances. Nothing in the commercial world is "completely free" unfortunately, and trust me investors and shareholders don't like "free".
    As I've already said, the world of Education seems to have a very blase and at times naive attitude towards this, and seem to ignore the cold hard reality that Wall Street drives the direction of MS and Google, and not LEA's, schools, teachers or kids.
    However, in general terms I'm all for these services under the right circumstances (I'm a fairly heavy duty SkyDrive, Dropbox and Picasa user myself and can see how they easily fit into the mix). What we need to do is concentrate on exploiting what they can offer without allowing our kids to be overly exposed to an endless (and at times brutal) marketing strategy and general lack of privacy. We also need to ensure that we also don't lose the ability to steer the ICT ship in the desired direction, even when that direction might not match up with MS or Google's marketing strategy.
    I'd also say that we have a mountain to climb in terms of proving that these services will have a real impact on the learning and teaching process. I've yet to see a direct link that provides tangible evidence that an under performing kid will make a massive leap forward because we've signed up to a particular ICT service. I'm wondering how many kids can say they positively benefited from the £100 million ploughed into Glow v1.......
    Further to this, my own son starts school in a couple of years time and I'm slightly dismayed & worried that Mike Russell is falling over himself to get Moshi Monsters into the classroom ahead of the basics that our kids should be learning. Don't get me wrong, I've been using apps on my Blackberry Playbook to help my son learn and I can see tangible evidence in certain areas that the process works. I'm just not convinced that the massive cost of "iPad's to every class" has the full proof of concept behind it with real evidence.
    First hand experience has also shown me that we have few staff that are ready (or have the training) to take on jobs like "education social network" moderator onto their already busy schedule. The amount of CPD that will need to be undertaken to reach a stage whereby we have a fully functional digital curriculum is substantial to say the least - any ideas who will fund this? It's all very well having a few keen and capable individuals in a school to push ICT forward, but the reality is that everyone needs to be onboard and proficient in this method of teaching.
    As I've said before, I think we will still end up (rightly or wrongly) with a national intranet of sorts. However, I'm hopeful that this will be delivered on a skimmed down basis with new found freedoms for LEA's and School's to explore ICT development outside of the shackles of our first "national leviathan".
     
  7. I'm just astounded to hear that the SG has a BYOD policy. Can you point me in the direction of it? The rest of the debacle doesn't surprise me at all.
     
  8. Or the whole shooting match could have been stopped because of allegations of undue influence by Microsoft, who have a desk and a bloke in the offices of ISIS, whose head helpfully (!) offered to review all the work on secure authentication linking into Google apps ( the preferred choice of user testing participants and the recommendation to the GLOW program board, btw) just when it was looking pretty certain that Google was going to be the national preferred solution. Hey presto....Education Scotland team, out. ridiculous ITT rigged to exclude Google, in. Microsoft, only bidder, check.

    Except the civil servants got caught out being 'at it'. Try to cover their tracks. Refuse to answer FOI requests, and so MikeRussell has no option but to call in RM at a cost of 6.6 million pounds to save the day. Result...legacy kit which doesn't work anymore and which will wither on the vine as the months go by...

    You couldn't make it up....
     

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