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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Buyer Beware

Procurement is a funny old business! However much one warns people to be careful it seems that buyers can so easily be short-changed. I know of an accountant who, against my advice, bought sets of swivel chairs for school use. Yes, you've guessed it, being an accountant she ordered the cheapest that she could find in the catalogues, sight-unseen. Within weeks knobs and wheels were falling off and the sponge padding started coming out of the upholstery - the chairs did not last a year. Slightly more expensive ones would have lasted years longer.

I mention this (true) story because I was reminded of it after recently reading of the frustrations of one teacher and his experiences in acquiring a VLE. Not that I'm surprised. There is a saying 'All salesmen are crooks.' But in the case of VLEs, as an unknown quantity, I can understand buyers not knowing what to ask for. My research some two years ago identified this exact same list of complaints, 'not listening', 'not delivering on time', 'lack of telephone support', etc, etc.

And that is why I am so adamant that educationists in general and certainly ALL teachers should go into the subject of e-Portfolios, knowing what they want and how it will support the sort of curriculum that they want to deliver. Over the last few months I have tried to raise some of the main issues concerning e-Portfolios. If you have any other questions, please contact my support office at

Jamin Lietze in New Zealand has been doing the sort of research that every teacher should be doing, asking questions, pushing the boundaries of his understanding so that he will eventually get what his students deserve. I take my hat off to him. It just seems such a pity that there are so few of us willing to push the boundaries of our thinking beyond what the establishment tells us is good for us!

As for me and eFolio, I am just so proud as to be partnered with an organisation that takes the trouble to listen to what teachers are thinking and can deliver solutions that meet not only curriculum objectives but also I am able to provide students with a tool that they can keep for life.

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