The afterglow, and could GLEW relight the fire
Posted February 14, 2013on:
A great piece appeared in the latest edition of Holyrood magazine earlier this week about where we go next with the national intranet following the publication of the ICTEx final report. The comments following the on line version of the article are very interesting. Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking that these anonymous contributions emanated directly from the RM nerve centres at Bellshill or Abbingdon, so critical and dismissive as they were of Glew. I had to laugh at the characterisation of Glew as a ‘bedroom project’ and Charlie Love’s retort that Facebook, amongst other on line platforms was also developed from a bedroom! Other suggestions that GLEW had somehow ripped off the latest RM product, Unify, were also laughable, as Glew had been developed before Unify. Charlie has kept the world informed about the continual development of Glew on his blog, which is a must-read for anyone interested or involved with technology in education. Of course the main difference between RM Unify and Glew is that one costs the Scottish Government £500K per month, and the other costs nothing, (and probably has more returning users to boot). Also, one is fully functional, whilst the other has some pretty big flaws.
Now this is not Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell’s fault. He was backed into a corner by the ineptitude of the previous GLOW programme board, leaving him no choice but to go cap in hand to both RM and Microsoft, neither of which was the first choice of the education community narked off by several years of a clunky RM-managed Microsoft Sharepoint based Glow. Neither is it the fault of of Education Scotland who now have the thankless task of having to manage a substandard version of GLOW which won’t work properly on most of the mobile devices used in schools and by teachers, although I know they are working very hard to fix this as soon as possible. And believe me, I want Glow to work. I’ve invested a considerable part of my professional career into Glow and I believe in both the vision and the deployment of a national learning platform. My involvement with the project will continue for the foreseeable future too, so whilst I’ve been critical, I’ve been described as a ‘critical friend’ to Glow by others. With my current involvement, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and working to help us get it right rather than just carping from the sidelines.
And think on this for a little while…If the Glow programme board had followed the recommendation from Andrew Brown’s team at Education Scotland back in February 2012, and the legal advice they received, we might now be rolling out Glew across the country as the successor to Glow. And Glew works really well on all mobile devices and wouldn’t have cost the taxpayer £500K a month
A sobering thought, isn’t it…particularly for all the reported 83% of MSP’s who regularly read Holyrood magazine…