Technology for Efficiency (brought to you by LSIS)

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LSIS had arranged a Technology for Efficiency day to allow for interested organisations to meet and share their experience in finding new operational and financial efficiencies through technology. This is something I’ve done before with LSIS, and previously Becta, and also in other networks. It’s great to come to a forum like this to hear from new colleagues. What is also particularly interesting is to reconnect with others who are longer term participants and finding out how their own journey is progressing.

I met a couple of friendly people from a company named TDM. A interesting meeting, and particularly interesting presentation from them about open source and how they as a service provider pivot their business around this particular aspect of technology.

Pretty fortunate the two of them shared their message first, since it made a good platform for me to talk about our Drupal activities later in the day (my slides are here if you are interested). The presentation of the open source model, methods for adoption and how a service provider my be able to support any organisation in their use was something I haven’t experienced before, and for this reason was interesting.

As an open source service provider, the primary business function isn’t to sell a product. Nor is it simply to provide support (although this may come into it later). The role (as i interpreted it) is to coach, advise and educate organisatios who are pursuiung open source in the use of their chosen tool set.

Let’s use one of their key offerings as an example. I’m a really enthusiastic supporter of Mahara as an effective tool for reflection and developing higher level skill in our learners. It’s a really intuitive product that in my experience is really easy for staff and students alike to get on with. TDM don’t produce Mahara; Mahara is a funded community product, and is developed and supported by a global community. What TDM will do is provide training and consultancy on several different levels. In a consultancy phase, this might help you identify a need, and eventually a product. Later, you can take formal training to enable further ddevelopoment of your strategy – how you will embed such a tool in your organisation. In order to implement such a tool, you may finally choose to develop the skills of a number of key staff in using the techology. All of this provided as a paid service to support ‘free’ software. I look forward to the possibility of meeting TDM again in future.

I’m really excited about the brief conversation I shared with Geoff Rebbeck around the results of a recent LSIS staff capability survey; more about this, how it has the potential to influence staff development and continuous professional development in a future post. It’s so exciting in fact, that it could also influence organisational infrastructure policies in relation to techology, and produce some toolkits that could help organisatiobs implement an improved digital literacies and abilites programme for staff.

Funny enough I didn’t take any pictures at this event, so you’ll have to make do with this one of park crescent I took on my way.

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