About me

I taught History and Philosophy in the UK from 1990-2006, with an interest in education technology and data interoperability standards.

In 1996 I became involved in the British Education Suppliers Association standard for Open Integrated Learning System specification (OILS). In 2002-3 I sat on the UK DfE’s Technical Standards Working Group (TSWG) and Learning Platform Stakeholders Group (LPSG) for the Curriculum Online initiative, helping to develop an interoperability framework for learning management systems (LMSs) that referenced the US-based SCORM standard.

In 2007 I founded the Suppliers Association for Learning Technology & Interoperability in Schools (SALTIS) as a working group of BESA, referring the government agency for computers in schools (BECTA) to the European Commission for a breach of public procurement rules in its Learning Platform framework of that year. In 2008, I was hired by BECTA (probably with the encouragement of the Commission as a way of resolving the complaint) to help address the underlying problem with the data interoperability of LMSs. But BECTA was not interested in addressing the real problem of encouraging the development of interactive content, preferring to commit the UK to following an unsatisfactory off-the-shelf solution for expositive content called Common Cartridge, produced by the US-based IMS consortium. This battle was never resolved because BECTA was abolished by the incoming government in early 2010 (a move that I supported) and SALTIS also closed, having been formed as a means of representing the views of the UK edtech industry to BECTA.

I became Chair of IST/043, the British Standards Institute’s committee for IT standards in learning, education and training, representing UK interests at ISO/IEC and CEN, the EU’s standardisation body. But the new Conservative government was not interested in edtech so it was not possible to make any genuine progress with data interoperability in education.

While writing this blog to develop and articulate the theoretical basis for a new approach to edtech, I came out of education for my day-job to run oXya UK, the UK-subsidiary of oXya France, a Hitachi Group company providing technical administration services for medium-to-large companies running SAP landscapes.

I still look for opportunities to persuade government of the potential for a radical new policy for edtech but am no longer actively writing this blog.

7 thoughts on “About me

  1. Many thanks Ray – that is very kind. You need to make a documentary about the potential of education technology – and why it hasn’t been realized! I can’t think of a more important and overlooked topic from the point of view of the common benefit of the nation.

    • Yes, just deciding what approach to make such a documentary compelling and engaging for a broad audience who might otherwise overlook “just another TV programme on eduction.” Authoritative contributors would be a good starting point..

      • An interesting, important & difficult challenge! I will be very interested to see how you get on – and very happy to meet & discuss if that might be useful. I have ruled myself out as a mass communicator a long time ago, but it occurs to me that a major problem is that the important things about technology are non-visual. While most of the standard imagery of education is done-to-death and mind-numbingly dull. I think I would start by hiring a good producer of animated diagrams – but I guess that is expensive.

        Incidentally, my next post will consist of reflections on Stephen Hawking. One of the most interesting comments I heard on Today yesterday was that, because communication was so slow for him, he became very good at simplifying the message, largely by abstraction – and this was very helpful from the point of view of the substantive science he was doing, not just as a way of improving his communication of his science.

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