I learn that the BBC Trust has bowed to pressure from the UK's "educational software industry, and 'suspended' the Jam digital learning service. Lewis Bronze; CEO, Espresso Education, is quoted in the Register;
"The opportunity provided by broadband technology should allow a torrent of educational content to flow - instead, the BBC's current proposals will give us a desert. The BBC's current proposals for their free to air digital curriculum will massively curtail the choice available for schools. Using £170 million of the public's licence fees destroys a competitive market, deprives children and teachers of choice
and diversity, and kills off the UK educational software industry."
My view has always been that Jam is/was a good attempt to make personalised, learning centered resources, freely available for independent use at home and school. Ian Usher E-Learning Co-ordinator, Buckinghamshire County Council gets straight to the point;
"I'd say that BESA has inadvertently kicked the learner in the teeth here. It would have been great to put things in the hands of learners (as part of our ePortfolio developments) which let them control their learning,"
Perhaps we should ask Mr Bronze, if he is at all concerned about the implications for pupils and teachers, of the statement posted on the the Jam site, (below). I wonder how he feels about people who 'delete/lose my work'?
The argument put forward by Lewis Bronze and BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) is of course, choice. Choice, as we all know from the school places debacle, can mean many things to many people.
Perhaps, as a result of this, schools will begin to realise they have other (and possibly better) choices available. These include; the choice to use free online, creative, social and collaborative tools, the choice to use open source software including learning platforms. Schools also have the choice to access the wealth of digital assets available under a Creative Commons license. I suspect you won't find much CC licensed 'content' in the offerings from BESA members.
In contrast the UK " education software industry" is happy to accept revenue from the public purse in the guise of eLCs (eLearning Credits), for software apparently not always wanted or needed by schools. Thanks to Ian Delaney for this link.
It is probably far to early to predict how all this will turn out, but with a bit of luck those who brought about the suspension of Jam may have shot themselves in the foot.