Today I dashed up the M40 to the NEC for The Education Show. It's always the proverbial curate's egg - to me it's TK Maxx compared to BETT's PC World - random booths offering random things. Where else could you see the the suits of Specialist Schools' Trust next to the perma-smiling blonde Innocent Smoothies people?
I went for a number of reasons, but ended up having far more useful conversations with people I hadn't anticipated meeting. For those used to the mothership-sized stands at BETT it's odd to see companies like RM squeezed on to a small-ish booth.
People I spoke to:
- 2Simple - I got a few of their primary titles at the Naace Conference and have been working out what schools who purchase their titles could use on their Moodles. At the moment there's not much SCORM material, but lots of the titles are made from the usual suspects of Flash, Flash Video, MPEG and other common file formats, which could be uploaded into Moodle. Like a stuck record, I kept on about the idea that teachers need to use software & content in a way that suits them, which isn't always the way the companies selling the stuff imagine. One idea for someone like 2Simple would be allowing schools to pay a fixed figure (say a couple of hundred pounds) and be allowed to choose "any five from fifteen" items / sections / themes of the 2Simple products. This would mean:
- Schools could get exactly what they wanted rather than the vendor's chosen set of tools to teach (say) KS1 literacy. They wouldn't have significant bits of purchased software unused. Schools could also purchase exactly what they needed to support the nature of their ethnic / gender / ability mix.
- Learners would get much more appropriate resources (assuming the people doing the purchasing have done proper evaluations) and wouldn't be using irrelevant (for them) bits of content just because they'd come bundled with the relevant stuff.
- Vendors would get a much clearer idea of which bits of their content where good / bad / ugly / just not used - as individual sections would be more or less popular - surely that's useful information for any software vendor to have?
I was asking about RSS feeds as well and was shown that, since the site's been restructured, there are individual feeds for each area, right down to specifics (for example Subjects > MFL > Language Skills has its own feed of videos).
be SCORM compliant "by BETT next year" but in the meantime I'm interested in teachers being able to take this content and use it how they want to. The response was that since they have commissioned content creators to create the material then schools changing it would infringe the creators' copyright. I think that somewhere there's the need for the recognition that good teachers will enhance material like this by placing it in interesting and diverse contexts - obviously it's important to respect copyright, but there are other ways of licensing content, I don't think I've seen many commercial educational content companies using Creative Commons... anyone know of any? Anyway, the C4 people said they'd recently agreed some sort of deal with Espresso (Mr Bronze was around the stand) - does this mean that it'll be easier to disaggregate content or more difficult? Bizarrely the History MPEG example of Clipbank content isn't available from the Channel 4 web site due to copyright reasons. Eh?