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Glow - Future Tools

Page history last edited by olliebray@... 9 years, 11 months ago

This page has been locked and the contents passed to the Scottish Government for analysis. Thank you for all your contributions.

 

Glow has been a major part of our nation's development in technologies for learning.  Some great work has been carried out with Glow and many resources have been created with it.  It has given many teachers and pupils a safe and closed environment to explore tools that the on-line world can provide. It allows secure sharing and collaboration across the whole of Scotland.

 

The announcement asked us to consider the best free services and tools which we could use to extend Glow.

 

Current Services and Future Replacements

 

Current Service  Possible Replacement 1  Possible Replacement 2  Possible Replacement 3  Possible Replacement 4  Possible Replacement 5    
Glow Groups  Google Sites  Google Groups  Wiggio A Wiki Farm, most of glow groups functions can be replicated on a wiki. Office 365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online  
Discussion Forums (phpBB) self hosted phpBB forums Facebook    Live@edu /Wordpress Office365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online  
Blogs self hosted Wordpress MS Blogger Wordpress.com Live@edu / Wordpress Office365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online  
GlowMail GMail Hosted mail solution  Live @ Edu  Live@edu Exchange Online Office 365 Edu Exchange Online  
GlowMeet continue with Adobe Connect Solution (but open up the mobile app too) Google+/Google Talk(?)  JaNet Desktop VC  Live@edu Live Messenger or Adobe Connect Office 365 Edu Lync Online  
Kelidos (VLE) self hosted Moodle self hosted Sakai   Live@edu Moodle Integration Office 365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online  
Shibboleth (authentication service) Agreement with OpenID Google+ Twitter 
Windows LiveID /Shib/SAML lots of options ADFS/SAML/OpenID lots of options  
Wikis (MindTouch)  MindTouch (few problems with mindtouch at the moment, swf files. Video...) MediaWiki Google Sites  Wikispaces     
GlowLight iGoogle       SHarePoint 2010 WebParts  
ePortfolio (currently using WP Blogs) Mahara (possible integration with Moodle) also keeping current WP blogs My Showcase  (has a Moodle plugin) wordpress without glow complications Live@edu SkyDrive Office 365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online  

 

New Services 

New Service  Possible Provider 1 Possible Provider 2  Possible Provider 3  Possible  4  Possible 5 
Video (including transcoding of uploads)  YouTube (Edu?)  Vimeo.com  Teachertube    Office 365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online
Document Editing/Online Office Tools  Google Docs  Office 365  Acrobat.com
Live@edu Office WebApps Office365 Edu Office Web Apps
Activity Stream  Google+ Buddypress   Facebook  Live@edu Windows Live Office365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online
Achievements/Rewards System Mozilla OpenBadges Buddypress Achievements      
Learning Object Content Repository  ??      Live@edu SkyDrive Office365 Edu SharePoint 2010 Online
 Mobile
      Live@edu Push/Pull e-mail on Mobile ActiveSync or Apps Office365 Mobile/Push/Pull on mobile, ActiveSync or Apps

 

Services

Many of the services above would fall under the Google Apps for Edu service. Offered free to education these tools could become the new "core" of Glow and make use of our single sign-on. Another alternative could be the Microsoft Live @ Edu offering.

 

Other thoughts 

How do we take forward the best of the services of the web together with our single sign on? Which of these features should we retain? What other online services could we use as replacements.  Is there scope for partnership with providers to have Glow landing pages and sign-on at other services sites?   single sign on? 

How for instance to we maintain links between current service and National Assessment Resource ( NAR ) and also build links to on-line assessment like SOLAR. There will too be some content that may be hosted remotely but will require authentication.- ideally authentication that can differentiate between teacher and learner.

How do we make best use of pupil and staff data recorded in MIS (Management and Information Systems)? The current Glow pulls through teaching group structures, attendance stats, tracking and monitoring information- should this remain? Is there an opportunity, with 28 Local Authorities using the same MIS, to look at nationalising it?

Could we include a method of formal reporting to parents?

Do we need to develop/obtain a Glow API so that third-parties can develop applications that use Glow content? Could a third-party API (such as that used with Google Docs) do the job for us?

Is there an opportunity to provide facilities that support staff development- tie in CPD Find, booking CPD, the PRD (Professional Review and Development) process, Teacher Induction Scheme, GTC notifications of change?

How do we avoid the support overheads of plugins and software updates for some of the "free tools" that have been suggested? Should we set a minimum requirement that all services must be hosted to reduce support and updates required on individual devices?

How do we encourage the use of mobile devices when some plugins aren't available for browsers like Chrome, Opera, Safari and HMTL 5 not supported until IE9 (which cannot be installed on WinXP)?

 

 

Other points of reference

Lots of great content and examples of great use has happened inside Glow. But what about outside? Where is the great practise which we should consider when looking to the future?

 

 

Comments (Show all 108)

JohnM said

at 11:03 pm on Sep 29, 2011

Now for something really contentious. Personally, I would go the whole hog and replace all software, including operating systems, on publicly owned computers with free open source alternatives, in these economically restricted times that would make prudent financial sense. Sign up to Google Apps for Education as the new Glow 2, add Moodle as the VLE and then invest the savings made in improving the infrastructure and, if possible, supplying notebooks (open source of course) to as many students as need them.

Douglas Chappelle said

at 8:34 pm on Oct 3, 2011

While I'm sympathetic to this idea I'd love to see some hard figures to support my suspicion that salaries will be the biggest budget line in all of this so replacing Windows with Linux won't save a huge amount. Also bear in mind that the majority of schools are still running XP which would have been bought on perpetual licenses many years ago. Support staff would need a lot of training as would teachers if you took away Windows. The upside would be a longer life for hardware that could be used essentially as thin clients in a cloud environment. As has been said elsewhere in this discussion the balance between capital and revenue budgets has to be managed carefully.

Can anyone here shed some light on the split between licencing, data centre and staff costs for Glow?

Douglas Chappelle said

at 8:50 pm on Oct 3, 2011

One of the advantages of having a Google, Twitter or Facebook account is that I can use these credentials to log in to loads of other services. I suppose it is a type of single sign on. Would this still work with a Google Apps for Education account? If so it could lower the bar for entry for lots of third party apps - if users can authenticate using their Google apps credentials then as long as we can sort out firewall and filtering policies it should open up a huge variety of tools for schools.

Charlie Love said

at 10:53 pm on Oct 3, 2011

Douglas,

Google Apps will provide a unique ID and single sign-on using OpenID for any of the domains currently used for Glow. OAuth can be used to verify applications and there is an existing framework which would allow developers to create tools for Glow. Many existing tools can be supported with this signon - plug-ins already exist for Wordpress and Moodle. Also the platform is already mobile device ready and in the cloud (therefore reducing our existing dependence on desktop office applications and the inherent costs of software licenses, data back-up, server infrastructure and so on in schools).

Microsoft have a similar Live@Edu offering (which is being changed to Office 365 for Education). This service is cost free to learners but is charged per teacher/other user and therefore perhaps less attractive.

Also, there isn't an overarching set of APIs which easily allow developers to produce solutions for the platform. There's an API for the Exchange part of Office 365. Lync also has an API. You can also manage Sharepoint sites via the Client Object Model, web services or WebDAV APIs for uploading and downloading files but I don't think there is anything for manipulating documents. It may come (I noticed this link recently http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=17069) but it all feels a bit disjointed to me currently.

We really need a single system across Scottish Education/Local Authorities rather than the existing variety of firewalls, filters, email solutions, VLEs etc. Yes, if LAs want additional paid services to meet local needs then sure, use your Glow ID to access these, but we should agree that the core sign-on, email, document, sites, VLE, groups, blogs and wiki tools should be provided nationally. And I'd add video services, either via YouTube, or via a hosted solution to the list too.

The key is to move the data and tools online and to invest in and open up the networking infrastructure to do this.

Douglas Chappelle said

at 8:37 am on Oct 4, 2011

Thanks for that Charlie. As I've said elsewhere I am a big fan of the Google ecosystem so I for one would feel comfortable using it in education. The fact that Google has an engineering team called the Data Liberation Front (http://www.dataliberation.org/) makes me smile :)

I am in total agreement that there needs to be a level of national provision to level the playing field. There still needs to be built in flexibility to allow schools some autonomy but we need to get away from the situation where one school can access a resource but one a couple of miles away (and often in the same LA) can't.

Steven Grier said

at 2:58 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Correct URL for link above http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=17069

There are extensive APIs available for Exchange/SharePoint & Lync and looking at odata access to WebApps also

Claire Griffiths said

at 9:31 pm on Oct 8, 2011

One of the useful aspects of Glow is a concept is the single log on (even though that seems a struggle of people to learn at times). Resetting passwords, unlocking accounts and reminding people of their user names were were a major feature of my existence as a glow officer. I like the idea of single access if that could managed over a range of providers. Not sure it is feasible though. The biggest problem I have had for access to sites/ services has been old equipment not supporting the latest versions of flash/ shockwave or running outdated browsers like IE6.

David McKee said

at 10:43 am on Oct 4, 2011

Good post Charlie. How though do we get round the argument that is often presented against Google in terms of data security? ie where the data is stored (not in the EU) and can we rely on it being held safely? Last I heard, Google was a non-starter because of where the data is geographically stored.

Peter Dickman said

at 11:19 am on Oct 4, 2011

Hi, I'm an Engineering Manager at Google in Zurich, and work closely with ENISA (the EU Network and Information Safety Agency). I'm interested in where you heard that "Google was a non-starter because of where the data is geographically stored" as that's completely incorrect.

The UK ICO has repeatedly confirmed, including to schools that have asked about using Google Apps for Education, that there are no data location issues or concerns in using our product suite. Google stores the data in European data centers or, sometimes, transfers copies to the USA under the Safe Harbor agreement, which is a treaty between the EU and USA specifically designed for such purposes. (See http://export.gov/safeharbor/ for more background).

The UK ICO website says, for example:

"Although the United States of America (US) is not included in the European Commission list, the Commission considers that personal data sent to the US under the “Safe Harbor” scheme is adequately protected. When a US company signs up to the Safe Harbor arrangement, they agree to:
- follow seven principles of information handling; and
- be held responsible for keeping to those principles by the Federal Trade Commission or other oversight schemes."

You might also be interested in reading the ENISA report (http://www.enisa.europa.eu/act/rm/files/deliverables/cloud-computing-risk-assessment) which has been publicly praised by the Irish DPA for presenting a balanced view of the issues. Specifically the report makes it clear that major cloud providers can provide stronger security guarantees than most organisations could hope to achieve themselves, and this can be done at far lower cost due to amortisation effects.

You might also wish to discuss the data location question with one or more of the schools in Scotland that are already happily and legally using Google Apps for Education.

Peter Dickman said

at 11:19 am on Oct 4, 2011

You can view a list of the companies signed up to the Safe Harbor arrangement on the US Department of Commerce website at https://safeharbor.export.gov/list.aspx
The list includes many major names, including Google, Microsoft, IBM (as International Business Machines) and Apple.

Peter Dickman said

at 11:33 am on Oct 4, 2011

Oops, fixing a typo: ENISA is the European Network and Information Security Agency, not "Safety Agency". Apologies for the typo.

Iain Hallahan said

at 11:26 am on Oct 4, 2011

I agree with a lot of what Charlie says above, and have been doing for some time now! Whilst I am happy to see the debate open on how we can use existing tools to improve Glow and the ICT experience in schools generally, I must confess that I have serious reservations about privacy, data ownership and all the similar concerns that surround the use of services provided under license, be it from Microsoft or Google or whoever. I don't think I know enough details to have an informed opinion as yet, but let's just say I would be nervous about signing up all our pupils, students and staff to such a service. I would be delighted to hear more from people with more knowledge of these things like Peter and even more especially David, who has already been involved in rolling these services out.

Peter Dickman said

at 12:01 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Iain, what's the best way to provide relevant information that would be useful for you and others? I can volunteer to give a talk at the October 17th seminar for example, but that's bound to be quite short, or I can provide links to relevant material here. What else would be helpful?

One good starting point for people who worry about data security is the video in this blog post we produced a while back
http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/04/security-first-security-and-data.html

That video is specifically about Google, but I expect other major cloud providers use similar approaches to keeping data secure. It only gives a small insight into the defences we use as we don't want to make life too easy for the attackers, but our systems are audited externally as described here:
http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/09/google-apps-data-protections-verified.html

And major users of our Apps suite, including numerous public sector clients, tens of thousands of schools around the world and companies like Jaguar, Virgin America, Land Rover, National Geographic and Genentech as well as more than four million other businesses seem to believe it's OK to entrust their business data to us. In all of these instances, it's important to note they remain in control of their users' data and there is no advertising served to users (unless they decide to enable ads on their domain).

You can find out more about Google Apps for Education here: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/
including a partial customer list: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/customer_list.html
and specific material on privacy: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/privacy.html

To be fair, I'm sure that there is similar material available from other providers of education suites in the cloud, such as Microsoft's Live@edu. But I can only speak for Google so have to limit my examples to our own product suite.

Peter Dickman said

at 12:02 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Perhaps the most important point w.r.t data ownership is this: customers own the data they put into Google Apps. The Google Apps Terms of Service contractually ensures that your institution (or students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data.

David Gilmour said

at 10:56 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Iain,

It is good to see these topics being raised because there are bound to be others with similar concerns.

We have, interestingly, had someone raise what proved to be false concerns in this area not long after learning of our adoption of Google Apps for Education. That may well have been part of a "fear, uncertainty and doubt" strategy to discourage adoption. I confirmed with our legal department that there were no legal obstacles to its adoption.

Our use of Google Apps for Education was agreed by our IT Dept on condition that it was used as a teaching and learning tool, as with Glow, and not for the management or administration of the schools. This probably arose because the management systems contain data subject to special arrangements they have put in place and have confidence in (e.g. for confidentiality, backups, FOI, centralised email archiving). This isn't anything specific to cloud service providers; Glow would probably be no different.

Regarding data ownership, it may be of interest that Google Apps now makes it particularly easy for users to take their data out at any time. Some or all Documents, for example, can be extracted easily, in whatever format is required (Word, pdf etc) to a zip file.

There are inevitably risks in relying on external providers for services, whether for banking, electricity or telecommunications. Over the time we have been using Google Apps I have not come across any situation which has given me any reason to be concerned, neither have any staff raised such concerns with me.

We seem to be embarking on a period where IT is becoming just such a service, and it seems to me sensible that our students should have the opportunity to learn to use such services effectively.




Steven Grier said

at 3:14 pm on Oct 5, 2011

Ha - I suspect David - that might have been me that raised "false" concern.

Please allow me to explain, there was at that time a great deal of Public Sector concern about data located outside the EU - At that time most cloud providers (us included for some services along with Google ) hosted data outside the European Union and for the majority of LAs that is an issue - and remains an issue. There arestill only 3 authorities that I am aware of in Scotland using cloud services across all education in the authority (including yourselves) and where those exist - there is a massive amount of legal work that is required to get the right agreement in place. Some authorities STILL do not even entertain data held outside the UK, while some have nowehere near the same concerns, so there is a great deal of inconsistency across each LA Legal Department. 75% of all Scottish Further Education students are hosted in the cloud - over 400000 students and around half the Universities host their students on our cloud platforms - so the concerns are not as apparent in FE and HE in Scotland - though obviously the age of the students is much older. Both Google, as Peter mentions, and ourselves find massive focus still placed on data locations and concerns over privacy, though there does seem to be more flexibility recently as cost has come into the equation. Despite Peter and I's massive amounts of referenceability and certifications for our DCs - some LA legal departments still have concerns. I spent 2 days at our Gen 3 Data Centre in Dublin last week - an amazing place for an IT Geek and fortress like physical and virtual security. Any LA would struggle to come close to the security offered in Data Centres like those, certainly made me feel a lot better. You are also right that across all of the FE/HE and LAs that have adopted our cloud, I can count on one hand the number of concerning issues that have arisen over privacy and none of those were unique to cloud situations.

Steven Grier said

at 3:15 pm on Oct 5, 2011

So in summary! If it was me - then I would say "false concern" is a wee bit strong - there are still 28 Local Authorities who look for at the very least EU Data locations for e-mail and some who, it seems, will never entertain US or uncertain data locations as the perception is the CIA and FBI will steal your data!! You can see some of the questions answered here for Microsoft's Office 365 Platform - same applies for Live@edu: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26647

David McKee said

at 4:57 pm on Oct 5, 2011

Thanks Peter/Steven. All interesting and useful stuff. My understanding is that the concern here was coming form our Information Security people. What would be really useful I think would be for the Scottish Government to take a lead here and make some judgements on issues such as this (and indeed a variety of online tools that seem to be up for debate in terms of info security) and save us all the trouble of fighting 32 different individual battles.

Steven Grier said

at 1:29 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Amen to that David! To be fair I think the question has been asked by Education Scotland & Govt. for clear guidelines on this, as I mentioned earlier there are currently 32 different versions of what is and isn't acceptable and some LAs enlightened and some less so. There is also a huge gap between Schools and FE/HE who have really embraced cloud productivity schools in Scotland. There is a gap again in the UK wide approach with England & Wales seeming to be less concerned e.g. there are over 5 million pupils & students on our EDU Cloud solutions in UK of over 20million worldwide.

Steven Grier said

at 1:34 pm on Oct 7, 2011

That would be "really embraced cloud productivity tools in Scotland" - <sigh>, it's Friday...

Iain Hallahan said

at 5:24 pm on Oct 5, 2011

David, Steven & Peter -

Thanks for responding, and so quickly and in good detail. The links provided will be very useful too. As for the best way to contribute, just by being here and answering questions you have started to do that - as a teacher, my chances to get questions straight to someone at Microsoft or Google who knows the answers (and will answer me!) are limited, to say the least. I'm sure I'm not the only one with concerns in this area, or with questions to ask. Perhaps we could try and get a wee question & answer/discussion session going after the summit if any of you were about?

Peter Dickman said

at 6:13 pm on Oct 5, 2011

I hope to be there. If I'm one of the lucky invitees I'll be able to stay for a short while afterwards.

Peter Dickman said

at 11:26 pm on Oct 7, 2011

I will be there.

olliebray@... said

at 5:34 pm on Oct 5, 2011

Peter / Stephen - I echo the words from David and Iain. Thank you both for your contributions so far. OB

shirley campbell-morgan said

at 10:15 pm on Oct 5, 2011

Unless financial commitment is made to regularly upgrade our hardware we won't be able to use Glow 1, 2, Google Apps or anything else!!!

Stephen Bullock said

at 12:00 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Is the issue surrounding any 'free' service holding our data simply this - that if they do lose our 'stuff' we have no recompense or recourse? Whereas if we hold data ourselves or pay for it we can at least hold someone to account.

For example if my company's Facebook page is wiped by Facebook... well, that's that. But if the site I pay a web hosting fee for is wiped I can expect them to work to resolve the issue and compensate me.

Is this an issue we face in exchange for the cost savings and greater usability?

Steven Grier said

at 1:16 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Hi Stephen - great question.

I can speak for Microsoft Platforms only here - Peter will fill you in on Google position, though I suspect that both MS & Google in this case will feel and be very much accountable for your data held within our cloud environments without question.

The answer is "sometimes". So components of Education cloud solutions e.g. Exchange on Live@edu or Exchange on Office 365 have provision for restore of data (customer self restores through admin consoles) up to certain timescales, typically 15 - 60 days. After these dates go by then best endeavours kicks in and the support teams (online, telephone, severity based calls, 365x24x7) will work with you to retrieve what it is physically possible to retrieve.In Office 365 SharePoint Online where content collaboration stores and Office WebApps sit, the same self-restore features will apply. When you look at more consumer led tools e.g. SkyDrive within Live@Edu which is 25Gb of storage with Office WebApps - this is on best endeavours and has no guarantee of restore after a pupil/student deletes a file.

When it comes to the very seldom occurrence where something happens in our data centres that "deletes" anything - we have several powerful solutions e.g. heavily replicated, virtualised environments - e.g. we keep up to 4 copies of data stored on our cloud e-mail solutions for full redundancy in event of disaster or issue with any one data system.In that situation we are fully accountable for your data and we take action based on that accountability.There are also many ways to archive/keep copies of data stored either on-premise or in the cloud. It is easier/chaper for us to be resilient at scale in the cloud than it is for individual on-premise IT solutions - though with the technologies I have mentioned you still have the choice of being on-premise if you wished with integration to whatever cloud components you wished to use and that made sense.

Steven Grier said

at 1:16 pm on Oct 7, 2011


There is certainly no concept of Microsoft ate my homework!! as in your Facebook example above.Legal agreements on data handling etc. also help to reassure in these cases as well as a hefty dose of common sense on both customer and cloud provider - creating a sensible balance and having a clear plan for where data is and who is accountable for it is key.

Peter Dickman said

at 3:36 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Steven's covered the main points. Specifically I think the free vs paid argument is still confused - it isn't "you get what you pay for" it's "what are you getting?" in your services.

For example, Google Apps for Education is free because there is a 100% discount on the price we'd charge for non-trivial scale Google Apps for Business users (it's also free for very small companies). That doesn't affect the way the data is managed. We don't have a cheaper sub-standard section of a data center specifically for schools :-), we have one infrastructure that we use for our services.

Specifically, all data in the Apps cloud is handled the same way, whether it's our own corporate data, a paying business user, a very small non-paying business user, or a free education user. If there's a problem, we just get the system working again and get the data back. The question to ask is "how reliable is the service", not "how much am I having to pay".

See http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/cloud.html for more details, but this is the key quote:

"For Google Apps customers, our recovery point objective (RPO) design target is zero, and our recovery time objective (RTO) design target is instant failover. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Groups, Google Docs and Google Sites have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and our actual reliability has been significantly higher than this commitment. Attempting to replicate this level of reliability with on-premises or hosted technology is tremendously costly and complex. Even very large enterprises with state-of-the-art disaster recovery systems typically target a recovery time of one hour and accept the loss of one hour's worth of data."

Note that we don't distinguish between categories of customer in the above. I can't speak for other major cloud providers (there are other options too, not just Google and Microsoft), but I'd hope & expect that they have similar targets and approaches.

Claire Griffiths said

at 9:16 pm on Oct 8, 2011

I agree with the comments of others who say that you should expect your uploaded data to backup whether you are paying for it or not. That said I feel it is important that teachers are trained to back up their own data especially as they are the ones who will suffer if a site goes offline for a few hours/ overnight and they need the data now! Of course that brings in the issue of what teachers can use to backup i.e. own flash drives/ portable hard drives etc... This obsession with network/cloud security (justified though it is) seems to forget the thousands of pen drives etc ... travelling in and out of school everyday in someone's pocket. I would be happier if schools really worked hard at making sure that such issues as the use of portable backups appeared clearly outlined in ICT policies.

Stephen Arnott said

at 5:25 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Hi All

All the technical comments above are most enlightening - but isn't the key issue going to be of management, using all these free resources will be great. Scottish Education will get the best value from these platforms - because they are free. But how are they going to be managed - one of the true benefits of Glow (real or otherwise) was that everything was in one place and it was managed centrally.

Surely in order for everyone in Scottish Education to get benefit from this delivery - it should be a single homogeneous delivery with everything in one place and everyone connected together. If schools (teachers) and local authorities are left to stitch together their own solutions - many never will - and we will create a technology divide across Scotland with those with access and those without.

Key to any technology delivery will be a single centralised management platform that removes the need for any local administration or technology infrastructure.

View / comments / flames welcome as always

Peter Dickman said

at 11:32 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Stephen, I think that all of us potential technology providers (I assume SI is a potential provider?) need to be a little careful about assuming there's only one way to do this, or a single best way to do it.

To use your example, "a single centralised management platform that removes the need for any local administration or technology infrastructure" might sound great, but might also be misunderstood as implying that to create an SSO account for a new child in a school, there has to be an interaction with an office in Edinburgh (or wherever) that is the "single centralised" issuer of identities with no local mechanism to create and manage accounts. Similarly if a child needs to have access to particular facilities temporarily withdrawn for some reason, could the school just do that straightforwardly themselves in a "single centralsied model"?

Patrick Kirk said

at 5:44 pm on Oct 8, 2011

We (Synetrix) provide a access to services for over 2 million users in schools. The bedrock of the service we provide is a centrally hosted Identity Management and SSO environment. Importantly, control is delegated to staff within the end user organisation - in most cases schools. We provide a service desk for when users need help. The vast majority of tasks from creating accounts, to password changes, to allowing (or denying) access to services is performed at a school level. Schools buy the service from us and they are and should be in control.

Patrick Kirk said

at 5:53 pm on Oct 8, 2011

Getting the glue right - joining the 'free' and the 'paid for' services together is going to be one of the key factors in the success of Glow Futures. Posters here and in the Objective 5 strand have mentioned that many of the free services (for example Google and Microsoft) provide APIs. This is great for companies like the one I work for as it allows us (as System Integrators) to provide an joined up experience for users. But an API isn't something that an ordinary end user can exploit on their own - Glow will need input from programmers and developers.

waltatek@gmail.com said

at 12:22 pm on Oct 9, 2011

Stephen - well said. We cannot and must not return to the days where ICT use is in the hands of enthusiasts and hobbyists in individual schools - with no system controls, backup or security. I know that where we have got to is thanks to the sterling efforts of these explorers and innovators, but to have ICT exploited in every classroom by every teacher means that reliability, security and management of systems has to remain a key component of whatever we do going forward.

waltatek@gmail.com said

at 12:25 pm on Oct 9, 2011

Not sure why so many 'paid for' service providers are popping up on a thread devoted to the use of free tools?

Susan lister said

at 4:50 pm on Oct 9, 2011

I agree with Stephen. We need to focus on what is good about glow such as central management, sharing between schools etc. Not every teacher is enthusiastic enough about IT to spend hours getting to know a new software / environment and setting up another set of class workspaces and pupil logins every time a new platform comes into fashion. Steven Jobs got it exactly right ! "One of the things I've always found is that you've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology"

Claire Griffiths said

at 5:51 pm on Oct 9, 2011

I loved listening to the children saying what they thought. It was much better than trawling through a list. I have found the same reaction. My own daughter has her own blog, which I can see and comment on.

JimWard said

at 5:40 pm on Oct 10, 2011

The single sign-on concept is great. Moving from a Glow controlled space to one controlled by Twitter, Google or Facebook, would, in my opinion, be retrograde. Already, many VLEs can work seamlessly with Glow, allowing an enhancement to the current offering. Schools are not aware of what can be done Nationally to allow Glow to move onwards. Content is King and whether free, paid for, licenced or created within the community, all are relevant but need to be at the forefront of the whole experience.

Phillip John said

at 9:24 pm on Oct 10, 2011

SCHOLAR has worked with all the Authorities to implement a Shibboleth solution to a single sign-on with Glow (but retaining a parallel route for secondary schools, Colleges and the independent sector). For those who do not know about SCHOLAR, the programme, run from Heriot-Watt University, provides over 30 web based highly interactive Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher SQA courses to over 400 Scottish schools and colleges and has been running for over 11 years. Happy to provide a report commissioned in 2011 by the Gates Foundation in the US, the only one from outside the US, on the large scale implementation of SCHOLAR e-learning courseware....to advise on the US $2Bn 'Race for the Top' inititiative.

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