Sunday, November 26, 2006

The I&I conference

Last Wednesday and Thursday I was at the annual I&I conference in Lunteren. This conference brings together many of the ICT (information & computer technology) coordinators of Dutch and also some Flemish schools. I have had the privilege to be for the second time. This year we had beautiful new Wikipedia folders, Marc Bergsma demonstrated a OLPC motherboard; it got a lot of interest particular when it was learned that a full system can be available for Dutch schools for the school year 2008/2009.

One great project I learned about is called TEEM. TEEM is a project where teachers evaluate educational websites and CD/DVD based resources for their use in classrooms. The way it is organised is such that I can understand why British teachers trust it as a resource. The way that it is funded however is one that creates a sad systemic bias. Reviews are paid for by publishers the consequence is that open content course ware will not be evaluated. This funding model also keeps out those publishers that do not pay for a review. This governmental political choice was to encourage innovation and competition. It is not unreasonable to suggest that it effectively costs the British schools more money as they do not learn about what is available for free.

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