Mimanifesto – Jaye’s weblog

The afterglow, and could GLEW relight the fire

Posted on: February 14, 2013

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 many 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…

5 Responses to "The afterglow, and could GLEW relight the fire"

@TonyRafferty2 love seeing the truth in print.

Thanks Tony – I think its a shame for the Cabinet Secretary, as well as for Education Scotland who will probably take the pelters from most of the education community when they have to start using the 365 product they didn’t want and which will take time to get to grips with. The blame, as I’ve said before, in my view, lies entirely with the previous GLOW programme board headed by civil servant, deputy director Trudi Sharp. I’m not sure if she was line managed by Sarah Smith. I’ll doubtless find out, however, the cost of the resulting fiasco has been enormous and might well be considered by some to be worthy of an audit commission ( or whoever investigates waste of public money) investigation. My fear is that the new board has only one teacher on it (Ian) and is headed by another deputy director with no education experience. The other members, whilst notable in their own areas of interest, don’t stand out to me as passionate advocates of a national schools learning platform which will provide access and increased opportunity for all…There is even a member from the previous board, which failed so dismally, despite having the benefit of an Education Scotland team headed by Andrew brown, and including Ollie Bray and Charlie Love.

Glew on the other hand has been developed much along the lines we proposed in our report. It might well be an excellent solution. But whatever follows (and the ICTEx group will have an official watching brief on this) must be implemented along the same lines as we’ve proposed if its to have any chance of success. Education Scotland’s current workflow plans will need to converge on this work. Hopefully by then they will have built up the capacity to handle this. I have to say I detect some green shoots of growth at Education Scotland and with them, perhaps a different philosophy. Time will tell.

[…] Jaye Richards-Hill – The afterglow, and could GLEW relight the fire […]

Reblogged this on Mimanifesto – Jaye’s weblog and commented:

I was reminded of this blog post written about RM, Glow and Glew today, whilst looking at the ever closer partnership that appears to be growing between RM and Microsoft. Of course, the rather poor version of RM Unify which Scotland is paying for, some say through the nose at the moment does them no favours, as its been called a ‘Dinosaur’ due to its perceived lack of much addition to twenty first century learning concepts of remixing creating and sharing.
But will it get any better. Here’s hoping. One thing is for sure though, Unify is nothing like the vision for the portal scoped out by the ICT Excellence group. Not in its current Scottish version, anyway…

My kids STILL hate GLOW and won’t use it unless pushed. Some LAs are forcing staff/students into using it by only allowing documents or stuff from SQA etc to be available via GLOW. The ePortfolios are still basic and all too samey. GIRFEC means each child should be able to have their OWN space, personalised etc NOT a choice of a few twee themes.

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