Thursday, 29 October 2009

Odd things at Generator

"I really want to see Further Education students enjoying the opportunities and benefits technology offers. There are already excellent examples of learning technologies right across the sector. But I want to see more and better. I want to see our colleges and training providers recognised nationally and internationally for the innovative and creative way they use technology. One practical source of support is Becta’s new online assessment tool, Generator, to help leaders in FE review and improve how technology is applied in their organisations. We need commitment from top management if the strategic importance of technology for learning is to be recognised."

Apart from the sentence about Generator, that's exactly what I said at a conference back in 2005. But it's SiƓn Simon MP that gets the credit on Becta's Generator site. Well, it would be if you could actually see the text (and picture and Government department logo).

I had forgotten all about this since filling in yet another e-maturity tool there back in April. then I received a couple of weird blank e-mails which I would normally have ignored but they appeared to be from (don't you just love how agencies spend our money and come up with so many urls) so I decided to have a look at the site again. In Firefox it looks dreadful and not a great deal better in IE so I thought I'd have a look at the code (the underlying script that a browser reads so it knows how to display the web page). That's where I found the quote above. Initially I did actually think it was a response I had made on the site, perhaps when registering or something, as I often copy and paste stuff from other articles, but then I saw the code for the MP's photo and the bit about Generator which I wouldn't have included.

I didn't spend time checking the code as to why the quote doesn't show but there's probably a missing tag or something. Looking at the standard of display of the rest of the site I would not be surprised if there were an error like that.

Losing count now of how many attempts have been made to create these e-maturity tools. I believe that there are even training sessions being run to show people how to complete this one! Presumably, the trainers will first format delegates' memory of previous tools. Whilst it doesn't look as though much of our money has been spent on Generator, I wouldn't mind betting something in the region of £½ million has gone this way to date. The only obvious immediate beneficiary would seem to be the Department of Whatever Education Is Called Now who can publish nice glossy statistics showing changes in e-maturity.

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