Hugh John checks out a BETT newbie, online service provider Global Grid for Learning
It’s getting crowded in there. With RM’s long established Living Library, Autology, Espresso’s award winning education service and online encyclopaedias such as Encyclopaedia Britannica in the mix, it’s a brave and confident publisher who ventures into the provision of online education reference services.
Global Grid for Learning (GGfL) has done just that. A wholly owned subsidiary of Cambridge University Press, GGfL has positioned itself as a ‘trusted broker’, in essence, sourcing educational multimedia content – more than one million resources – for all stages in education and providing a variety of content offerings to schools and other educational institutions around the world.The one million-plus learning resources form the GGfL Library and are contributed by more than 40 content providers including, naturally enough, Cambridge University Press, as well as the Science Photo Library, Intel, Classical Comics, Corbis, EduPuzzles, and TimeMaps. Described by marketing manager Jason Skelton as a “safe and reliable way for teachers and students to search, stream and download high-quality and copyright-cleared digital learning resources from trusted sources ”, GGfL’s content service is intended to support and reinforce classroom learning.
Content in the GGfL service can be searched in several ways. The simplest method is to enter your query into the single "keyword" search box near the top of the screen. Users looking for a more subtle, forensic approach, however, will make use of the five configurable search categories: Age Range, Subject (Topic and Sub-topic), Resource Format and Type (including interactive learning modules, video clips, audio files, images and documents), Timeline or Content Providers.
The service will ultimately bring together both open content, freely available to any teacher or student worldwide, and content from commercial providers. In addition it will aggregate existing authoring and software tools designed to maximise the use and value of the digital content.
'Single sources of best of breed, relevant, affordable, and copyright-cleared content'
Julian Mobbs, managing director of GGfL maintains that, “Our mission is to become the leading digital content brokerage and supply network for education markets worldwide. We are committed to connecting teachers and students to single sources of best of breed, relevant, affordable, and copyright-cleared content.”
Robin Ball, content manager at GGfL takes up the theme. "I have spent many years championing the effective use of technology to support learning and teaching across the schools sector,” says Robin, who prior to joining GGfL spent six years at Becta, the UK government agency for ICT in education. “Over that time the research has shown time and again that where young people have access to high quality digital resources, which are integrated into everyday learning, they do better. Working with GGfL to develop content partnerships will ensure that our learners are presented with the highest calibre tools and creative content to enable them to reach their true potential for success in the 21st century workplace.”
Jason Skelton emphasises that GGfL is a constantly evolving service with developers interacting with teachers and advisers in the addition and refinement of content.”To this end,” says Jason, “we’ve been working closely with the teaching community to help identify what their needs are, and to help us improve the quality of our tagging of our resources to maximise its relevance and usage.”
GGfL will be premiering its new primary service – designed to integrate with classroom technologies such as interactive whiteboards, learning platforms and other educational software – at BETT 2011.
GGfL’s content offerings can also be accessed directly via the web through the standalone web service, GGfL On Demand. The all-in charge per primary school, regardless of pupil size is £395 and for secondary £995. This annual licence allows students and teachers unlimited access from school or home.
The GGfL content service is available via a growing base of partners and resellers in the UK, including Frog, R-E-M and Webanywhere. GGfL is building a network of distribution partners in markets worldwide and will be announcing various new partnerships at BETT.
BETT 2011, January 12-15
Global Grid for Learning: stand G30