Ray BarkerBesa's Ray BarkerLearning platforms are going into English schools, but it does not look as if that will help most of them meet the Government's target, or its aims for online reporting for parents, according to new research by Besa (British Education Suppliers Association). And local authority leadership and staff development appear to be the key stumbling blocks.

“We discovered that the key reasons for schools’ failure to meet the targets are lack of guidance from local authorities, not enough training for teaching and support staff, and concerns over access for pupils without a computer and internet connection at home," says Besa director Ray Barker.

NCSLNCSL's Nottingham baseMoodle, open source netbooks, design software, teaching, management information systems, and “whatever you would like to talk about” are on the agenda for the first “unconference” of Open Source Schools (the Becta-backed web service) which will be held at the National College for School Leadership’s lakeside base next to Nottingham University’s campus on July 20.

Unconference? Like the popular TeachMeets, these are gatherings driven by the participants rather than the organisers, focused on shared interests and free of unnecessary formalities.

By Martyn Coffin

Mike ShortMike Short"It’s about people, not technology," was the key message from keynote speaker Mike Short, vice president of research and development with Telefonica Europe and O2 as he delivered a stunning presentation on "Applications anywhere anytime – en route to Digital Britain" at the recent Let'sTalk About Txt conference at Wolverhampton University's Learning Lab.

He said that there were now more mobile phones than people in the UK and that the public sector, where education was the key, had to become part of Digital Britain. Covering a space of 20 years, he illustrated how far mobile phones and other mobile devices had changed our world in the areas of health, business, education and entertainment. Mobile phones were now an essential tool for productivity, he added, and partnerships would be the key to future developments.

By Bob Harrison
John TraxlerJohn TraxlerThe "out of control" nature of mobile technology threatens to make education institutions like schools and colleges "irrelevant", a top academic warned this week.

Speaking at the first Learnhigher M-Posium event, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University and Liverpool Hope University's Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, John Traxler, from the Learning Lab at the University of Wolverhampton, suggested that there is “a growing dichotomy and a growing problem “ as mobile learning is “out of control”.

Sunday TimesSunday TimesGovernment ICT agency Becta was highlighted as a quango for possible closure in an article on public sector savings in The Sunday Times (April12).

Journalist Richard Woods, in an article headlined "Alistair Darling swings the axe", wrote: "Should the government be spending money, for example, on the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), whose mission is to 'utilise the benefits of technology to create a more exciting, rewarding and successful experience for learners'? If you think schools and colleges, or even students, could do that for themselves, then scrap Becta and save £38m a year."

"Alistair Darling swings the axe"