Bett 2010 Day 3

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Phew, what a day, even busier than yesterday so all of our brains are fried. Once again a day to make one think hard about what is going on in the UK.

From our commercial perspective it was a 'hot' day for Open Source software but a quick look back at the record shows that an equal number of good prospects were non-UK based as were home-grown.

Big potential sellers were, for the record, Moodle and full server-side migrations from MS to Linux.

No problems there, we love Europe, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East but heck, what has happened to good old blighty? Why is everyone else mad for Linux and we are still dipping our toes in the water?

It turned out that my concerns about our UK ICT, as expressed in the 'Linux at Bett 2010' blog before the show started, seem to have been writ large today.

For instance, when I got in early before the crowds I counted (before getting bored) 45 black-t-shirted sales folk ready for action on the £100,000 Microsoft stand. 45! Their salaries alone would be over a million pounds a year…thank you UK taxpayer I'm sure it's all worth the money you give MS.

But it did not end there.

Surreally, we had on the stand, unsolicited “conversations” during the day which amounted to confessionals from “high-ups” in well known quangos and BSF staff.

Not to put too fine a point on it was the message that they were sickened by what has being going on in the corporate stitch ups of schools.

Moral qualms it seems are not dead quite yet, but so many in the school ICT industry seem trapped in what they know to be wrong.

I know what they mean; really, am I expected to take Atkins' 'Learning Spaces' stand seriously? Atkins' cavity walls and drainage maybe but really construction companies as pedagogical thought leaders? ...or how about Balfour Beatty school ICT services or Northgate ICT outsourcing..no I am not joking.

It's all gone too far and it's all about to fall apart big time.

Sadly I met a half a dozen talented teachers (over the last three days) whose successful and popular ICT contributions, amounting to many, many hours given freely, were discarded when a new un-asked for outsource deal killed them off.

The result? The usual result, they gave up and withdrew. Corporatism may well have won, but what human price has been paid too?

Oh well, take comfort, at least we can track absenteeism accurately on our databases but personally I don't blame the kids... I wouldn't have turned up either.

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