Bonum Certa Men Certa

Could IMS Be Partly Affected by Microsoft? (and How This Relates to BECTA)

"Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up."

--Internal Microsoft document



OUR PREVIOUS POST took a preliminary look at what BECTA and Microsoft had done. It also summarised prior coverage such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Glyn finally gets around to saying that "UK Outsources Education IT to Microsoft - Again."

A little more research netted the press release at the bottom (from November). Jean-Philippe Courtois is there and it's important to remember that he's also part of the EDGI anti-GNU/Linux correspondence [1, 2], as well as cronyism in Europe. Microsoft's David Driftmier is one of the key people responsible for EDGI, as noted in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some digging on Driftmier turns up the IMS connection because a quick Google on David Driftmier turned up some relevant factoids about Microsoft's involvement in an education consortium, IMS. The technical Microsoft man is Chris Moffatt and some documents worth looking into are included/embedded in this post.

Here's Driftmier (for e-learning) praising a new interop (yes, how ironic) standard [PDF] in July 2005.

“Even government-level decisions on education are impacted by Microsoft staff that has chairs inside government.”Microsoft hosted this 2007 meeting [PDF] in Redmond.

At this May 2008 meeting [PDF], the Microsoft statement is listed before all the others. Why?

We have already commented extensively on Microsoft controlling key positions in the education sector, sometimes through double-hatted or former staff [1, 2]. Even government-level decisions on education are impacted by Microsoft staff that has chairs inside government.

Is it not pleasant to find big vendors like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle sharing IMS membership with niche software vendors and smaller education systems providers, and universities too; no Free software organisations in there nonetheless.

It's bad enough that Microsoft pressure groups like ACT are in there, as though you can't escape Jonathan Zuck and other people who are sponsored by Microsoft to shoot down threats from a seemingly-independent direction [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

It would probably be too far-reaching and exaggerated to suggest that IMS is a Microsoft front (that's probably why IBM & Oracle are in there), but still. If their mission really is the creation of "standards for the development and adoption of technologies that enable high-quality, accessible, and affordable learning experiences," then why can't a prudent observer find anything about GNU/Linux? Bizarrely, the "open and free" specifications require registration (the HTML versions "may not be printed").

BECTA is a member of IMS, and BECTA's logo is on the members page, as is Microsoft's.




Microsoft and DCSF Sign MOU to Deliver a Better Connected Education for Students and Teachers in England



LONDON, October 30/PRNewswire/ --

- The First Public Private Partnership Signed by the Department of Children, Schools and Families

- With Photo

Microsoft today signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), to better connect parents with their children's education, use technology to re-engage disengaged students and improve teaching standards and career development through innovative teachers and coaching programmes. This is the first Public Private Partnership signed by the DCSF.

The MOU is part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme (PiL), which in the United Kingdom aims to help the government achieve the objectives of the Children's Plan and improve the education of primary and secondary students across England. In the United Kingdom, Microsoft has worked with governments and government's agencies in England Scotland and Wales on Partners in Learning programmes that have reached over 150,000 teachers and over two million students in the past three years.

Today's agreement means that Microsoft will work with the DCSF and an advisory council, which will include representatives from all schools-focused government agencies and other partners, to direct the work of the Partners in Learning programme (PiL).

Ed Balls, MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families commented:

"Digital technology is changing how we live our lives and is now a vital part of every child getting the most out of their studies and preparing for the world of work.

"By 2011, the Government will have invested GBP6billion in ICT meaning we have the highest levels of embedded technology in classrooms in the European Union, one computer for every three pupils, and over 97% of schools have got a broadband connection.

"But there is more to do. Today's agreement will help us towards our plans to close the digital divide forever, and ensure that every school is making the most out of the best technology available and every teacher and student can get the most out of it."

Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft International, said:

"Microsoft's vision for Partners in Learning in the United Kingdom is to enable learners to become confident, successful contributors to a 21st century society, and we are delighted to be formalising this commitment today with the DCSF."

A picture accompanying this release is available through the PA Photowire. It can be downloaded from http://www.pa-mediapoint.press.net or viewed at http://www.mediapoint.press.net or http://www.prnewswire.co.uk.

Source: Microsoft Emma Turner +44(0)20-3047-2202, emma.turner@edelman.com

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