Search this site

Get in touch

Contact Terry Freedman

Thought for the day

Each day a randomly-selected "law", observation or suggestion will appear here.

Last 100 articles
Free subscriptions

Free guide to using interactive whiteboards

IWB Guide Cover26+ suggestions and tips. Free to subscribers of Digital Education (please see the link below)

 Subscribe to our free newsletter, Digital Education!

 It's free. Signing up entitles you to various freebies. We use a double opt-in system, and we won't spam you.

Click the image above for a free sample edition.

Sign-up page.

The DfE Assessment Innovations series collated. This booklet is free to subscribers of Digital Education.

Be notified by email if you prefer:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

The Amazing Computer Education Project Book

Remember this?

Amazing Web 2.0 Projects

It’s been downloaded over 35,000 times. I’m hoping to create a similar Computer Education Projects book, which will also be free. Find out how you can help by reading this article:

The Amazing Computer Education Projects Book

Digital Education

News, views and reviews. In-depth articles. Guest contributors. Competitions. Discount codes.

(Not necessarily all in the same issue, but each issue is full of good stuff nonetheless!)

Sign up for our free newsletter now!

Oh No!!If you can't find what you're looking for...

Assuming you’ve tried variations of your search term and checked the spelling without any luck, you may find the article Finding stuff on the ICT in Education website helpful.

Alternatively, if it’s not an article you’re looking for, try looking through the menus at the top of the screen.

E-Books for Sale

Want to make your ICT lessons more interesting?

Then Go on, bore ‘em: How to make your ICT lessons excruciatingly dull is just right for you.

Clustr Map
Terry Freedman's Social Profile
Powered by Squarespace

« The Naace ICT Impact Awards | Main | An Interview with Charles Clarke »

S is for … Superhero costumes

When I was young I used to love reading Superman, Batman and Spider-Man comics. Oh, ok, I admit it: I still do! Anyway, I always thought their costumes looked really good: colourful, good for showing everyone your biceps and, well, different.

The trouble is, of course, is that in reality these costumes would be awful. Just on a practical level, where are the pockets? And from an aesthetic point of view, you only have to look at some of the people who wear such costumes for fancy-dress parties or protests to see how they show not only your biceps, but the lack of them, and your bulging stomach if you've not kept yourself in trim. I’m not being unkind here: most people would fall into that category because most of us don’t look like the airbrushed pictures we see all around us.

In other words, appearance in an ideal situation is one thing, but the reality in normal everyday life may be, and often is, something quite different.

We all know this, of course, yet continue to be mesmerised by new kit on display at technology shows or in the pages of glossy magazines. You cannot base really serious buying decisions simply on the basis of seeing a product in ideal conditions.

In my opinion, before you make any investment in new hardware or software you need to:

  • Ask the simple but crucial question: will this enhance teaching or learning?
  • Ask whether this will work with other products you have. The key thing to bear in mind is that a product may be brilliant in itself, but less so when used in conjunction with something else: you need to see the big picture (see next point)
  • Ask yourself if this purchase is in keeping with an overall strategy; I’ve come across schools which have several different online locations for storing documents, because over the years different products or services have been purchased with no regard to what was already in place
  • See it action away from the technology show or conference exhibition at which you first saw it
  • See it at work in a school which is  similar to your own …
  • … And which has not had an investment of free training, expert visitors and tons of cash by the company concerned
  • See how well it performs in doing what you want it to do
  • Seek the opinions of other schools which have been using it for some time
  • Check to see if there are (independent) online forums about it
  • Try doing a search for <product name> sucks, as this can sometimes yield interesting results
  • Ask your Twitter community what they think of it
  • Find out if another product does the same or better job more easily or more cheaply
  • Explore support and warranty options
  • If it’s a significant amount of money, invite several companies to tender for the work, even if because of the amounts involved it turns out that you are not legally obliged to.

If it sounds like a lot of hassle, that’s because it is – but it’s better than disappointing everyone by buying stuff which looks great but which, in the cold light of day, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of practicalities.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>