Monday, August 6, 2007

Content is King in the IWB game.

In fact it's the focus of SMART's latest ed-compass newsletter boasting a partnership with Cambridge University. SMART will soon be offering a new form of educational content by selling a subscription based search engine called SMART Learning Marketplace aka Global Grid for Learning (GGfL), a learning object repository that will allow teachers to search for content such as images, video, and text to build lessons. It's powered by a tech company called Atomic Assets and funded by Cambridge University. The content is coming from a collection of publishers linked with Cambridge University Press, and SMART is the sole US Distributor.

I took the SMART Learning Marketplace for a test drive, and saw some stuff from UK Learn Online, Bridgeman Education, and Cambridge-Hitachi, a joint company bewtween Hitachi and Cambridge that makes IWB software.

Ninja's Feedback on the SMART Learning Marketplace/GGfL:

So far the SMART Learning Marketplace looks a little lack luster, more of gimmick to "ooh and ahhh" district administrators. To be straight up, it looks like you're paying for a filtered and weaker version of google, just so you can quickly find that graphic of the Louisiana Purchase you so desperately need (if they even have it: see below).

SMART's Marketplace vs. Google Images

keyword "human heart"

SMART's Marketplace
Results = 72 results
Quality (a lot of the content I was NOT looking for)
Cost - Paid Subscription (estimating $100+/ month)
Terms & Conditions. No copyright infringement aka you won't get sued.

Google Images
Results = 3,770,000 results
Quality = (Excellent all sorts of images and diagrams)
Cost = Free
Terms & Conditions. Are you seriously worried about being busted for using an image in your lesson? don't let big brother scare you.

I think we can safely say google took that round. Save your money for professional development folks...

UK Pricing (SMART's pricing might be cheaper, but can be higher since they have to earn a profit)


This is the official GGfL site
This is SMART's Marketplace /GGFL site (same thing, just embedded)


Anonymous said...

From what I've learned about the Marketplace - it is still beta, still not complete with all of the content, the search isnt 100% optimized, etc. I believe it will be a great resource when all is said and done. I do agree with you that there are many free search tools that will give you excellent results as well. It is all a matter of preference... plus, in the US, there are monies dedicated specifically to 'software' that cannot be 'modded' over to professional development, so if you have to 'use it or lose it', this will be better than buying 30 copies of Where in the world is Carmen San Diego on 5.25 floppy :-)

whiteboarder said...

Very true Keith, it is still in the beta phase. SMART says in a few years it will be an amazing resource with countless content, which I do not doubt. However, in a few years there will probably be more open resource sites where these items are free.

I think we should have less dependence on manufacturers for content and show our teachers how they can easily create & share their own content, or ask students to create and deliver content.

Anonymous said...

I like using, you can search for copyright free images too.

Himanshu said...

have u heard of IE Pro digital whiteboards