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In praise of NCET, CET and Becta

by Kevin Donovan published Sep 14, 2010 03:35 AM, last modified Apr 05, 2011 10:05 PM
The value of the government agencies for the development of educational technology

I have worked for over four decades in education (and a smaller number in other things). For most of this time I was a teacher, staff trainer, and head of department in further education (FE) colleges. I had been a day-release and full-time student in FE and still consider it the heart of 'real' education, unknown, ignored and abused by politicians and policy makers.

Crucially, and starting in 1979, for various small chunks of time I was seconded to the then Council for Educational Technology (the predecessor to Becta). It changed my life! As well as access over the years to the latest in gadgetry, the latest in initiatives (and thus starting an historic collection of acronyms) and the latest in thinking, I discovered the wisdom of Geoffrey Hubbard's (then CET's CEO) definition of educational technology as relating to a systematic approach to teaching and learning. Not just toys.

This exposure transformed my own teaching (and learning) each time I returned to the classroom but also informed the ed tech work I did over later years at FEU, FEDA and LSDA - on learning centres, student tracking, staff development etcera (extensively so!). I retired from from FE when I reached 60 and continued part-time consultancy in the sector.

Now in 2010, coincidentally, when I'm 64 and as this awful government vandalises the nation, Becta is being sacrificed on the altar of the bankers' bonuses. Time for me to go, to mourn what is being lost, but also to celebrate the influence on people like me and on the whole education system of NCET/CET/Becta.