Friday, November 10, 2006

Back to the Stone Age in Argyll

I've just learned from a comment on Edublogs (again) that blogging is no longer allowed in Argyll and Bute educational establishments. Who actually makes these decisions? Why are the children in Argyll schools not to be allowed to use a tool that is being welcomed by innovative educators all over the world? If this is the case - and it wouldn't surprise me, I'm sorry to say - then it's small wonder that the English department of my former place of employment is currently desperate for someone to come in to teach a Higher class and an Advanced Higher class, to name but one example. If I were currently working for a more enlightened authority, wild horses wouldn't drag me into the blogless boondocks.

And of course if I were still working for Argyll and Bute Council, I'd not be blogging this, because I'd still be catching up on the paper correction work that I always refused to bring home with me. Now, if it were blogged ...

I would love to know who makes the decisions, though. And why.


  1. I'm guessing that it is all high and mighty administrators who are paid an extreme amount of money to sit at a desk with an exceptionally large leather chair and come up with decisions that they know are sure to get everybody's backs up. I think we call them 'Quality Improvement Officers,' ironically!

    What about Morag and the 'talking teddies'? Is this no longe allowed? The whole council are a sham and I'm glad I am out of there! What's next? Taking away the school paper?

  2. Anonymous3:16 PM


    Do you mean that they have blocked access to blogging sites? I'm afraid that it's the same in our school and - I am assuming- in the rest of our authority -Dumfries and Galloway.

    I must admit I have been wondering how I would use class blogs etc -since I can't even look at my own blog online at school.

    What exactly is their objection?


  3. Liz - if you read my pal Don's blog you'll get it from the source - apparently "they" object to the interactive nature of blogging. At least, I-Gear just comes up with its page and gives you a one-word reason for doing so. It was frustrating enough before this; now it's merely ridiculous.

  4. Chris, having now only come back from annual leave with no internet access I'm disappointed by the attention this issue has received. I'm going to blog about this myself today when I get a moment, but for the record as an 'offical' (minus my exceptionally large leather chair), Argyll & Bute does not block access to Blogger. I'm surprised with all the attention this got that no-one asked the technical staff for the answer to an isolated incident before blogging about it. As an employee, I know A&B are not without their faults, and I like many am quick to criticise my employer, but it is vital in this connected world that facts are sought before reporting.

  5. In fairness, Andrew, the original comment was left on my blog and I did blog it in a post later to give more weight to it. Mea culpa.

    In a flattened world like this, though, technical staff do need to be onto problems quickly and they DO need to inform anyone with a possible connection to the issue immediately. If it's going to take a week, a month a term to fix - that's fine. But tell all those relevant parties as soon as you can.

    Now, who are those relevant parties? In the flat world it's all of us. All of us can pick up on something instantly and blog it, for better or for worse. Maybe we should find out from technical support - if they had a blog then that would be made easy. But there's no use in coming to us individually after the event to say "but we knew". We need to be able to know things to prevent the post, or know things to back us up through a good old hyperlink.

    In fact, why not have a 'status' blog for technical support? If there had been one then I would have been able to blog about how important it is to keep in touch with a technical support system that was on a par communications-wise with me. As it is, they're too slow, not connected enough and not paying attention to their potential critics and customers.

    I'm being harsh on purpose to prove a point. Had A&B been a commercial company they would have just lost a lot of customers who would have come to another provider to find a more communicative service, despite the fact that A&B is better run, more innovate and more open to this technology than others. The customer's new service might or might not be more reliable, but at least they would have a place they could go to keep informed.

    NTL scenarios start to ring bells...

  6. It is interesting that we are expected to immediately ask for technical assistance when we find a site blocked.

    There are several issues here and I shall perhaps also Blog them on my site for a wider comment.

    If accessing Blogger had come up with an error message of some sort then we would have suspected a technical problem. However to be faced with "Access Denied - found on Denied List. Reason Interactive/Mail" one does not immediately assume a technical error. Surely one assumes it has been placed on the denied list by someone?

    The same happened months ago with Flickr - access one day, denied the next! I did not post comments then and Flickr is still barred!

    If we are given no information about what is barred, why and how, then do we bother the technicians every time we come across a denied site? It,according to my colleagues, is becoming an increasing problem and one affecting their delivery of the curriculum.

    Technical error or not the fact was that to us, the end users, Blogger had been placed on the denied list. That was the fact reported - not speculation!

  7. Just an additional comment following on from Ewan's. When I did talk to ICT I was told that there was no problem with access to Blogger through IGear. It required an email from me with copied IGear responses to my access attempts to put the 'repair' process into operation.

  8. Anonymous12:58 PM

    " Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always
    interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there
    are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that
    is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are
    also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know "