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I was recently made aware of the School of Everything (great name!) which looks like a very promising opportunity.

School of Everything screenshot

They are a UK start up company in the education space with a focus on facilitating learning that doesn’t happen in school, which I think is a really simple proposition that works.

As far as I can make out they have created a web platform (hub?) that anyone who considers themselves to have a domain expertise e.g. drumming, aromatherapy, felt making, yoga, can self nominate themselves for free as a “tutor” with the aim of attracting students and earning money.

Private tutoring basically. A bit like www.eduslide.net but with people instead of elearning content. It’s all about facilitating the relationship between pupil and teacher.

For example if you are a demon backgammon player you can create a profile and market yourself, with details about who you are, where you are and what services you offer at what price.

Educators are signing up from all over the world which is encouraging, as I suspect that to truly find someone with an expertise in obscure long tail subjects (left handed pool trick shots, octopus wrangling, rice grain painting) you are going to have to look much further afield than your own backyard. Also those tutors could potentially earn good money – rare skills command premium rates.

What I would like to see:

1) The ability to rate my tutor and comment on their work. I would like all tutors to be open to a public and open discussion on their methods, knowledge, ability to teach and on going support. Being an expert does not necessarily make you a good teacher. And anyone can sign up so there is no pre-validation of expertise. In a school or college as a pupil there is an (unspoken) trust agreement that the tutors have been through education and a recruitment process.

2) Software built into the School of Everything platform that meant I could video conference/screenshare with a tutor from around the world.

3) See their calendar, check out testimonials, view more photos and loads of other important stuff. I personally want to know more about the tutor, perhaps a chat function that allows me to get in touch immediately whilst the idea’s in my mind. Some stuff about their teaching methods would be nice too.

I’m sure School of Everything have considered the above points and more, they come across as a great team with some big ideas. I genuinely hope they succeed.

They are in alpha development right now and, like us, there’s loads they will want to do but it all takes time and money. C’est la vie.

I can’t help but feel School of Everything (aswell as sharing a similar attitude and space) and ode could link up in someway, via APIs if nothing else. If any of them get this trackback and are listening then get in touch!

The last time we professed love for a website was a big old gush about moo. We even went mini card crazy at BETT 08 so we are still devoted fans.

ode moo cards at BETT 08

(True story…my hand holding our Moo “golden ticket” card for some reason comes out 2nd and 3rd in a Google image search for “moo card”. Sorry, Moo!)

Today we love… Commoncraft.

For those of you not familiar with Commoncraft they make short instructional videos on a range of (mostly) technology subjects and tools that otherwise confuse, infuriate or alienate most “non-techies”, such as Wikis, Twitter, Blogs and RSS feeds.

If any of those words sound like jargon a) you are missing out on some really useful and interesting technology and b) keep reading to find out why.

In their words: “Our product is explanation. We use video and paper to make complex ideas easy to understand. We present subjects “in plain English” using short, unique and understandable videos in a format we call Paperworks.

You may not recognise the terms in the videos below, or you may have heard them mentioned and been too intimidated to admit you don’t really get them. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone has to start learning somewhere.

Why do we like Commoncraft so much to give it our coveted “Who do we love today” link?

  1. Each video looks (deliberately) amateur and therefore removes that psychological barrier that often exists between trainer and trainee.
  2. Each video doesn’t last long so you can give it your full attention.
  3. They allow you to embed the videos under their creative commons licence.
  4. Recently, in an ode way, they’ve started to sell each “little bit of explanation” as a business tool for those that want higher resolution versions.
  5. They make learning enjoyable without being patronising. Not as easy as it sounds.

I wish I could have shown people these videos when pitching ode. Perhaps then there would have been slightly less blank stares when I mentioned things like “I am going to do a blog”.

Yep, ode would be proud to sell Commoncraft video to schools and colleges.

Wikis in plain english

Blogs in plain english

RSS in plain english

Google Docs in plain english

As a visitor (or stand owner, it wasn’t too clear) at BETT I was emailed a link to a web survey this morning which at the end promised me exclusive access to a NERP report (National Education Research Panel) concerning the “new technology outlook (for schools) in 2008” driven by data gathered from “422 primary and 272 secondary schools cross the UK” in Dec ’07.

Amongst the usual bar charts and stat heavy paragraphs I soon noticed that mobile learning was taking a real hammering and schools were instead focusing heavily on front of class ICT.

In Primary Schools “…mobile devices continue being of little value or not utilised by the majority of Primary schools.

In Secondary Schools “…little or no investment is planned for mobile devices“.

This contrasted massively against the move towards more teacher-centric (or should that be static?) ICT utilities:

“Broadly, it can be determined that primary schools are more likely to value teacher-facing technologies such as IWBs, while secondary schools are more likely to value the core ICT infrastructure.”

“Secondary schools are mostly likely to make large investments in learning platforms (22%), and IWBs (23%).”

Again and again mobile ICT learning came out badly and teacher led ICT learning came out strongly.

Initially this led me to wonder if the fault lies with the mobile device manufacturers for making their products too expensive when compared to the (perceived) benefit it brings to the learning (“Secondary schools are…most likely to identify mobile devices as offering poor value-for-money“) . Or does the emphasis lie with mobile content publishers for not producing assets that capture teachers imaginations?

“Registration systems and mobile devices are more likely to be perceived as offering poor value-for-money.”

You could simply read into all this that teachers think the cost to benefit ratio is too high. But when you see this data alongside the drive to IWBs and VLEs it starts to look more than a cold financial decision: are schools afraid to move from a teacher controlled, front of class model (the interactive whiteboard) to a distributed, more student controlled model (the mobile device)?

Is it fear of letting go some of that control that is pushing mobile learning further and further from their minds? ICT has exploded into classrooms since the late 90’s and I can imagine schools are only now starting to get a true handle on it all. So is m-learning just a technology too far right now?

Or is it the perhaps unspoken idea that somehow the outside world of ipods, mobile/smart phones, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, Palm Pilots and so on are intrusive, chaotic and blur too obviously the boundaries between study (work) and non-study (play)?

Or is it something more practical? The small size of these devices could be an issue – after all a teacher can at least physically monitor a laptop screen or a Whiteboard – who can tell what’s going on on 30 small mobile devices in the classroom?

I don’t know – I’m not a teacher. But it’s obvious something fundamental has to shift and I think it’s a mindset, from LA level to Classroom teacher.

Of course data such as “…more than half of primary schools indicate the best delivery method for curriculum content in 2008 is via websites” and the emphasis on IWBs and VLEs is great for ode in general, it’s still a little disheartening that mobile learning investment is on such a downer.

Perhaps ode could contribute a kick start to m-learning – after all little bits of learning suit little learning devices, right?

The scope for mobile learning is enormous. The Wolverhampton “Learning2go” project has done some incredible work and companies such as m-learning.mobi look really interesting. There’s even a dedicated conference, Handheld Learning, although anyone that promotes a conference by using a quote from a Guardian journalist that says “These are not new technologies, and the speakers weren’t saying anything they hadn’t said several times before” doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence.

I am 100% sure that one day someone will crack it and break down the barrier. It may be a generational thing – a mobile savvy 7 year old in a classroom today could be a captain of m-learning industry tomorrow.

In the words of Jim Anchower, one of my favorite all time Onion columnists, I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but the pedal is to the metal right now, if you know what I mean.

Alongside progressing a host of exciting content and platform partnerships that I’d love to tell you about (but should wait for the ink to dry first or the lawyers will send in the big dogs) we’ve been trying to get ready for our first BETT.

For those of you who don’t know about it or have never been BETT is THE elearning industry trade show in the UK. It’s run over 4 days and held in Kensington Olympia in London. I’ve been many times, occasionally manning a stand (tough, tough work), most times as a visitor and last January as a one man band bugging whoever would listen that ode was coming.

This time we have our own stand: N30 on the upper balcony. It’s 4m x 2m (about the same size as a walk in wardrobe) and will be our first outing in the glare of the public. Up until now other people have always set stands up for me but going through it this year for the first time I have a new found respect for those people who organise these trade show events.

Trust me, it’s a labour of love and frustration. And the whole time you cannot shake the feeling that it’s a lot of money with a questionable return on investment. So you have to know why you are going and how to measure success. These are some of the major questions we have had to ask ourselves…

  1. Why are you going? Strangely enough, the answer to this is usually because everyone else is so you should too. But it’s always a good idea to have a secondary interest and know what you want to get out of it before you go. We want to meet any content/platform companies interested in ode and get them on board. And if any educators want to join in as beta users even better. We will have a little postcard thing to fill out just for that purpose.
  2. Who is going to run your stand? This is important – remember these folks will be meeting your customers and clients face to face, perhaps for the first time. Can they sell your idea? Are they all aware of what to say and how to get value from visitors to your stand? You may also have to have a thick skin as people may knock or not be impressed by your product. You must certainly have a strong bladder. Then you have to rota everyone, organise the hotel, sort out stand food, a place to hang your coats…
  3. How do you want your stand to look? We’ve employed a proper agency to design it for us. Left to our own devices it would have been a cardboard box with a laptop on it.
  4. What do you want people to wear? Suits? T-shirts and jeans? Some sort of all in one star trek type velor jump suit?
  5. Who will come to your stand? It’s worth analysing who is likely to be interested in your product. Obviously we are brand new so no one has heard of us. Ultimately we want to engage with potential content suppliers who are also exhibiting at BETT and hopefully sign up a handful of interested teachers to contribute to how ode works. With all the huge educational suppliers dominating the show it’s unlikely we will register on most visitors radars but some may stumble on us – you are very welcome.
  6. Should you give something away? I cannot believe some of the pointless freebies I have picked up over the years – branded pens, fluffy gonks, lightbulb erasers, highlighters, paper weights, mousemats and the current freebie du jour, the USB memory stick. So, to save some money, we thought we’d look more original by NOT giving any freebies out. There will be minicards though.
  7. What’s your contingency plan? Something will go wrong I promise. Someone could go sick, the internet connection could drop out, the product could crash in front of an important customer or client, meetings could be missed, your logo might be misspelled on your stand banner, your stand could be right next door to Loud-House-Music-And-Shouty-Salesperson-Software-Company, someone could trip on a loose carpet tile and douse one of your monitors in coffee and so on. Have a selection of back up steps to cater for Muphy’s law.

Dealing with all this will cost you a fortune but you can make some brilliant contacts at events like this.

We’re not selling anything except the opportunity to collaborate with us. Even if it all goes wrong and we’re reduced to the cardboardbox/laptop scenario we’d still love to speak to you. So if you are interested in ode in any way please book an appointment with us by emailing support@odeworld.co.uk .

See you there!

Harry Verwayen at “Images for the Future” in Holland has commented in his blog on the ambitions we’ve laid down for ode, which he broadly supports. Well, he believes strongly in the vision, but, like most people, hopes to see it done right as he believes liberating educational content is vital to embrace the modern student’s outlook and behaviors.

“This is an environment where changes have been notoriously slow to take root. Where the current generation of young children that have in fact been ‘born digital’ spend their free time between msn, gameconsoles and their pc but receive their education primarily through old fashioned books and whiteboards. “

This is an evident dichotomy facing education today. A student has to walk between two worlds, you might call them “analogue” (the classroom) and “digital” (everything outside the classroom).

We should take comfort in the fact that the line is blurring (there are loads of fantastic digital torch bearing educators out there, unfortunately they are still the minority) but essentially todays students are still immersed in the same education system you can trace back through generations.

I think what we’re doing is simply the next natural evolution in teaching. In fact I’d say education lends itself more naturally to this disaggregated approach to content than most other industries – teachers have always been extremely passionate about collecting the very best materials to suit their style and their students, no matter where they come from.

The Internet has given educators an unbelievable treasure trove of content and interaction but it’s not designed for that specific use, in fact the Internet is not ‘designed’ at all – you simply find the least painful resource e.g. Google and try your best to wring everything you can out of it.

But even the mighty Google is ham strung by being designed to work for everyone (which is another way of saying it’s designed to work for no one). So as we (the collective group) get “better” at the Internet the more sites like Google will frustrate us as our needs become deeper and more profound, well beyond keyword searching.

ode will be one of a number of new “find engines“, not “search engines”, for education. The difference being a search engine expects you to know exactly how best to search for something e.g. the right combination of keywords, and gives you a single object back (the right one hopefully), a find engine provides a number of facilities to help you locate data and resources around what you want (or indeed influenced by what you already have).

Ask.com has positioned itself as a find engine although I think it misses the point somewhat – it’s still a general search engine – and the term works much better in a specific domain. It’s a need that fits well into a vertical marketplace such as education or music where peer review, editorial recommendation and folksonomy help enormously.

Ultimately ode has a major battle on it’s hands on two fronts: convincing content owners to change the way they sell their content and educators to recognise how wonderful this might be for them and their students. Still, nothing good comes easy, right?

Steiff Bear

“(Our) reason for starting ode (was) to make a difference, to create something awesome, to celebrate what technology can do in the modern classroom for the modern student and, of course, for the modern teacher.”

I spoke to a very happy Mr B the other day and hence I’m not surprised by the heartfelt entry that he posted last week (even though he’s supposed to be on paternity leave). Not being a daddy myself, I guess I don’t really have quite the same perspective on why we’re doing ode but I definitely agree with the quote above from his previous post.

Why the teddy bear picture? Well, I was recently in Munich where I purchased a little Steiff (creators of some of the first teddy bears) teddy for the newly arrived Little Miss B. It occurred to be that when she gets it, this bear will be not just a new little friend to chew on…it will be one of the first teaching aids in her young life.

The swing tag on the teddy says:

“Babies discover the world every day anew and the Steiff baby articles help them to do this….By touching, feeling, probing everything in reach…babies are also learning to “grasp” the world…The toys are made of easily cleaned, robust materials…allowing each growing child to make some of its early discoveries in safety.”

That got me to thinking…Knowing her dad and also the age we’re living in, she’ll have her first Internet connected device before too long. I’ll be interested to see in the years (or weeks!) to come how soon technology starts to influence Izzy’s education.

At the moment, the humble teddy bear provides the type of development that a digital resource cannot provide. Will educational technology ever provide a replacement for the teddy bear? My natural reaction was, “No way” but then I recalled the “Shift Happens” video that was going around a while back and that you can see below…

Here’s the link to the US version

Figures such as, an estimated 40 exabytes (4.0 x 1019) worth of information was produced in 2006, which is more than in the preceding 5000 years combined and that we currently have the technology to transmit “10 trillion bits per second”…That’s 10,000,000,000,000 bites per second or 1,164 gigabytes per second, down a single optical fibre strand, taken at face value are amazing.

Meanwhile back in 2007, whenever I come across anyone who doesn’t “get” ode…and that is less and less frequent these days…I tend not to worry too much. Safe in the knowledge that what we’re doing now is only the tip of the iceberg as far as educational technology is concerned. While we’re not quite up to 10 trillion bits per second bandwidth for each user, it is getting better all the time. Wireless and handheld technologies are becoming more widespread and educationally relevant too.

Hopefully, in a flattened world ode will develop alongside the convergence of fast data transmission, cheap storage and other effects of the commoditisation of IT. Further to the premise of the Shift Happens presentation, the service that we launch in 2008 will be barely recognisable in 2013. Maybe, when Izzy has children of her own, maybe they will have their own digital, teddy replacements…perhaps some type of electronic environment that stimulates their developing senses that she downloads from ode??? Or maybe they’ll use their mother’s handed down Steiff teddy!?

Hey, that’s the end of my first odeworld blog post in quite some time! Did I make sense?

Wesley Fryer from the Infinite Thinking Machine edublog in the US has followed that critical motto of any successful blogger: don’t be afraid to be controversial. In fact, embrace it.

He is calling for the immediate halt to all textbook purchasing in the US.

“The day of the paper-based textbook is over. The era of digital curriculum has dawned, and it is fiscally irresponsible for school district leaders to continue to purchase paper-based curriculum materials in light of the digital curriculum resources now available and continuing to become available via electronic means. Digital, web-based curriculum materials are vastly superior to static, analog/paper based curriculum materials”

Wesley Fryer, Infinite Thinking Machine, Call for textbook purchasing moratorium

An over reliance on, frankly, out dated content delivery methods does the next generation of learners no good. Everything a 21st student does outside the classroom (and more pertinently, later on in the workplace) works in direct contrast to what happens in most classrooms who rely on textbook and pencil/paper learning.

In these revolutionary times can you truly consider yourself a good educator if these are the main tools in your arsenal? Essentially Wesley is saying tough luck if you don’t agree, times have moved on, either make the shift or get out of the way.

What qualities define a good teacher? Empathy? Patience? Expertise? Confidence? Can I suggest that to be considered a good modern teacher you should add “passion for technology“? A good teacher will always be a good teacher if they have the former qualities but what defines a successful teacher now will have to include the latter.

“Free digital curriculum materials are now available which would boggle the mind of anyone living in the 19th or 18th centuries. Those free curriculum sources are not sufficient for learning, however. In my view, there are still valid needs for commercial curriculum tools, but the proliferation of free curriculum materials will continue to challenge commercial providers to further differentiate their “value add” in the marketplace of content and digital assessment tools available online.”

Wesley Fryer, Infinite Thinking Machine, Call for textbook purchasing moratorium

One of the comments said: “I am a Spanish teacher in England, who is genuinely committed to not using textbooks. The look on a pupil’s face when you say to them to open to a certain page destroys any hope of either longterm learning or, that mecca of our current educational systems (especially for languages!) MOTIVATION!!

It’s been a while since I’ve been at school but I well remember that particular heart sinking feeling and that was before widespread technology in classrooms…

“This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.”

Gollum’s final riddle to Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

When we put the ode proposition in front of our (potential) users can you guess what their No. 1 reaction was?

  • Quality content at microprices?
  • Ability to sell their own learning resources?
  • Accurate keyword searches?
  • Social networking?
  • Easy to use design?

Nope. It was: “That will save me time”.

More than perhaps ever before educators have found themselves with less and less time available. There are many reasons for this but any educator will likely say that it’s due in part to a determination to source complimentary teaching materials, a process that often happens outside the day job.

With most of those materials being digital it becomes an issue mainly because of the sheer number of elearning websites (and the quality of those websites) that are out there, let alone finding them in the first place via Google.

So a one stop shop for digital content made their eyes light up. It will take away much of the current need to visit that multitude of home made websites, search engines and resource repositories which can take hours of detailed searching with wildly varying degrees of success.

Does that put ode in the same position of Tesco vs the local corner shops (why visit 10 shops when you can visit one big one)? I don’t believe so as Tesco doesn’t compete against free which is our main competitor. Tesco’s “everything under one roof” ethos wouldn’t last long if everyone else gave their product away.

Most resources Teachers source and use are cheap, cheerful and free. We have to make ode have noticeable value to our users to make it worth their while.

One way we’re doing that is to allow complete personalisation of the platform. Every second we shave off a typical content search without compromising the experience is worth it’s weight in gold to our users. So once you have the hang of the platform you will be able to tweak it in many ways. Actually what you will be able to do is take stuff away, to cleanse it of elements and functionality you don’t need and don’t want.

Through your profile you will make ode follow your orders: “I am a Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 History teacher, specialising in Tudor England and modern World History and I only want to buy video.”

We will allow you to limit ode to those criteria so when you search you will only see returned results that fit those stipulations. You will only see reviews from others who have also nominated themselves as Key Stage 3 and/or 4 History teachers. You will only see sponsored keyword advertising that’s relevant to your profile. You could set your ode home page to just show History. And so on. You will be able turn off this platform wide filtering but it’s there if you desire it.

The rest of ode will be happening around you in a global sense but you won’t see any of it and hopefully it will speed up your content gathering process. Every educator that creates a profile will have their own view of ode, likely completely different from any other.

Because time, my preciousssss, is a commodity worth spending wisely.

I’d like to try to explain why ode has decided to follow a Pay As You Go model rather than the Eat As Much As You Like model. Or micropayments vs subscriptions if you’re feeling posh.

An overarching reason is that we don’t want to pre-suppose what and how much content our users will want to buy. If we forced them to pay a lump sum up front we may “win” their money but the service will likely never be used enough by the majority of individual users to justify their up front annual spend. We just don’t think that’s right.

Our users have told us that they are fed up with buying massive content driven solutions which they barely scratch the surface of day to day in the classroom. We will bring the cost down to each individual asset, offering ownership or rental rights at the smallest possible level. YOU choose whether to spend a lot or a little.

A subscription is a walled garden. We want to encourage deep linking and browsing into ode – to assets, playlists, groups, minishops and so on. If you need to log in to see any auxiliary functionality or even the content itself (“You mean I have to pay an annual fee to preview an asset?!” ) is locking out people who can spread the word about your product or content and seems short sighted at best.

Before you take out a subscription to a content delivery service you are taking a calculated risk well in advance of knowing how much value you’ll get in return.

Is the cost low enough? Do I have to pay a whole year up front? What happens if I want to cancel? There’s no way of predicting how good, reliable, exclusive or usable a subscription will turn out to be 6 months down the line. Or even if it will still be around.

“For music consumers there are pros and cons to the pay-per-download and subscription models. It is more difficult for users to get a sense of the value they are receiving with subscription models as compared to pay-as-you-go, according to Max Blumberg, founder of venture capital consultant The Blumberg Partnership.

“It’s a bit like gym memberships. Gyms make money on the fact that many people take out subscriptions, but do not use their facilities regularly — at least after their initial enthusiasm. Pay-as-you-go is more transparent.”

Max Blumberg, http://www.macnewsworld.com/story/58082.html

What does “unlimited access” mean? How can you process the idea of unlimited access to content? In all honesty unless you’re in the 1% of very heavy users will you ever dent the huge swathes of content these services provide?

Or, more likely, will you dip in, grab some content you like the first few times and then perhaps pop back again a few months later?

If you couldn’t consume unlimited content before, what makes you think you will want to now? What’s so great about having unlimited access to stuff you’ll likely never want?

When you can pick and choose at will from unlimited stock (assuming no download throttling) will you genuinely make constructive choices? When you have to part with a specific cost for a specific item it’s highly likely you will have thought harder about that purchase and will therefore get more use from it. Collecting for the sake of collecting is pointless and a waste of time.

If you cancel that subscription what happens to all the content you had against it? It’s very likely it’s gone. Forever. Virtual goods are difficult enough to place value against but I want to at least feel I own what I’ve paid for up front (even if I might just be renting it or buying a flavour of DRM).

A subscription service may place a download limit on you. But once again that is providing impediments to you as a consumer. Sometimes I only want a track or two, other times I may want to buy 50 albums worth of songs. Don’t get in my way.

When you are allowed to choose exactly what to buy you are also supporting that content provider/creator by deliberately choosing them over someone else.

Maybe you support a particular company’s ethical or environmental stance or you just think they consistently produce high quality content that supports your needs and you are making a statement: I choose to support YOU. How can you show direct pro-active cash up front support otherwise?

Even back in 1998 Jacob Nielson was predicting a future where on demand content paid for in incrementally small amounts was the best way to facilitate internet growth:

” The main problem with subscription fees is that they provide a single choice: between paying nothing (thus getting nothing) and paying a large fee (thus getting everything). Faced with this decision, most users will chose to pay nothing and will go to other sites. It is rare that you will know in advance that you will use a site enough to justify a large fee and the time to register. ”

Jacob Nielson, Useit.com

Any digital asset can be tagged. A tag is simply a keyword that can be attached to an article or object that can be usefully employed as a search or reference term.

All the content served through ode will have a set of tags against it. These may be curriculum based (year 7, Key Stage 3, rock types: weathering processes) or keyword based (snow, cold, rocky, dark, eagles, flying).

But the on demand teaching that ode will enable will also acknowledge the fact that we can take it one step further. This is where deep tagging can be used. It will require a human being doing the tagging but it’s an extremely worthwhile process.

“…I like the idea of deep tagging. It requires human labor but for many publishers it’s worth it. Instead of simply being associated with a file, a deep tag is associated with a clip from the file. Click on the tag and jump right to that part of the clip.”

http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/01/all-the-cool-kids-are-deep-tagging/

Let me give you an example. Mrs Jones is a KS3/4 history teacher. She’s about to welcome a busy classroom of eager students and has a set of objectives around “USA: equality & civil rights after 1900: Martin Luther King” that she would like to get through.

She has pre-bought a video from ode and it’s sat waiting to be played in her content library. It’s a 40 minute documentary about the life of Martin Luther King. Ordinarily this would be too long and would dominate the lesson. Up until now she’s had to fast forward an old VHS tape that’s been in the school for 10 years. She knows her students would enjoy the visual and audio presentation (reading his famous speech cannot compare to hearing it).

But it’s a frustrating way of delivering it – trying to search through a video cassette or spending the evening before painstakingly going through it to find the good stuff.

It is tagged “America, 20th Century History, speech, dream, Martin Luther King, assassination”. This will help her find it in her library (it certainly helped her find it when shopping in ode) but what it doesn’t do, and where deep tagging could really benefit any educational experience, is show where the documentary exactly delivers the learning.

For example it could be deep tagged like this:

  1. Credits 00:00:01
  2. Introduction to the civil rights movement 00:00:38
  3. Footage of Malcolm X reacting to the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in 1963 00:10:23
  4. Interview with Coretta Scott King 00:12:02
  5. The “I have a dream speech” at the Lincoln Memorial 00:15:30
  6. “Let Freedom ring!” to end of speech 00:29:00
  7. News report on his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968 00:31:58
  8. The impact of the civil rights movement on America 00:36:12

By flagging these important sections in the documentary Mrs Jones can click and jump directly to the sections that she feels are the most important parts for her students to see. She can even jump to the rousing end of the speech, the bit that really makes you tingle when you hear it. She can create impact, she can save time, she can instantly work the media to her advantage.

And if she finds another section she feels is worth bookmarking but hasn’t yet been deep tagged by us or by the community she will be able to allocate her own personalised deep tagging.

She is in control of the digital content. Free at last, eh?

“Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Martin Luther King Jr, 1929-1968

What is ODE?

ODE will be a webstore where educators can buy little bits of digital educational content and put them back together any way they like. Simple.

Flickr

080402-044823-msie-6.0-windows-2000-9ccf0a2fd6ce21bb2d2f586eb2715ea7

080402-044653-epiphany-2.22-ubuntu-8.04-lts-4ed547f492536f83840c802b304aa562

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